KUCHING, Oct 1: The traditions and heritage in the Kuching Old Bazaar area will be preserved and conserved in order to turn it into one of the city’s tourism spots, says Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
According to Abdul Karim, his ministry plans to make the Kuching Old Bazaar area mirror what had been accomplished in Singapore’s Chinatown, Penang’s George Town and Melaka’s Jonker Walk.
He said the preservation and conservation work will not only include buildings, but also the businesses which have been taking place in the area for many years, such as the tinsmithing and goldsmithing, as well as eateries.
“Being at the centre of the old Kuching district, there are rapid changes in recent years with old traditional trades disappearing and many old residents slowly moving out from the area. Therefore, we see the urgency to preserve and conserve our tradition and heritage.
“There is a need to review and rejuvenate the old Kuching district. We need to bring back life and activities to the area. This initiative will also be an excellent heritage tourism product which will attract visitors to the city centre. We want it to be preserved as a bustling area, but in a different form, where tourists can come over,” he said.
Abdul Karim highlighted this in his speech during the soft launching ceremony for “Kuching Old Bazaar: Cultural Mapping & Tourism Promotion Programme”, held at Carpenter Street Arch, today.
He disclosed his ministry also plans to extend the mapping programme to Padungan and India Street, as both have their own unique heritage which can be preserved as a local attraction.
“Those three portions (Carpenter Street, India Street and Padungan) have a history of their own which will be very interesting to the tourists,” he added.
At the same time, Abdul Karim congratulated the Kuching Old Market Community Association for their efforts in submitting a proposal concerning the conservation of the Kuching Old Bazaar area.
“The Kuching Old Market Community Association was formed in 1996 and its most notable achievement is hosting the Annual Intercultural Mooncake Festival. I am happy to see that the association has moved beyond the annual festival to come up with this brilliant idea and initiative.
“After the soft launching ceremony today, serious work will start and hopefully the outcome will be delivered in five months’ time, where we will officially launch the Kuching Old Bazaar in February 2021,” he said. — DayakDaily