Premier approves RM42 million for Melanau Heritage Gallery extension, Oya town waterfront

A screengrab of Abang Johari addressing the launching of the Melanau Heritage Gallery via Ukas' live broadcast.

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By Karen Bong

OYA, May 28: Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has approved two projects for Oya town, namely a second gallery for the newly launched Melanau Heritage Gallery and a waterfront with the total cost estimated at RM42 million.

Abang Johari approved the projects considering the long-term benefit they will bring to Oya and the whole of Mukah Division in the tourism sector and the spin-offs on the local economy, including the service sector.

“This new Melanau museum is a testament to promises delivered (by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak government), not just an empty promise.

“I am proud and impressed with the Melanau Heritage Gallery, especially the collections and artefacts on display that showcase the richness of culture and heritage in Sarawak, particularly of the Melanau community,” he said when launching the Melanau Heritage Gallery at Oya Square, which was streamed live via the Sarawak Public Communication Unit (Ukas) Facebook page today.

Earlier in her speech, Dalat assemblywoman Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah requested one more building as an extension for the new gallery to keep and showcase Melanau cultural heritage for medicine, shamanism, traditional musical instruments and games, handicrafts, food, Kaul river and sea culture, as well as a place to hold workshops.

As for the waterfront project, which Fatimah said would cost about RM23.8 million, Abang Johari recognised that improving the town’s landscape will enhance Oya’s tourism potential considering several ongoing infrastructure developments to link up the areas of Sibu.

“I was at the verandah that overlooks the beautiful Oya River where people demonstrated their skills in jet skiing earlier, and the scenery is beautiful.

“We will be developing a road at Sungai Kut that will link to the coastal road, and the Igan Bridge is under construction, while another road from Igan to Sibu near Bawang Assan will be built. The roads will link Kut to Oya town, and this will draw visitors and tourists here further to explore Sarawak, especially our richness in indigenous culture,” he said.

Thus, Abang Johari pledged to continue looking for ways to increase Sarawak’s revenue to pursue more development that could improve the State and the people’s living standards, especially in the rural areas.

Earlier, Abang Johari took some time to tour the new Melanau Heritage Gallery and the exhibition featuring the development of the Dalat constituency and the Melanau community’s way of life through traditional food, medicine, musical instruments, and games.

Deputy Minister of Women and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus, chief political secretary to Premier Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman, Daro assemblyman Shafiee Ahmad, and Balingian assemblyman Abdul Yakub Arbi were among those present. — DayakDaily