Queen visits Songket and Keringkam Gallery in Kuching

The Queen inspects a heritage product while Juma’ani (second right) and Dr Sabariah (right) look on. Photo: JaPen

KUCHING, March 28: Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah who is known for her passion towards traditional heritage fabrics has officiated the Songket and Keringkam Gallery located at Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg here today.

Accompanying the Queen were Tengku Datin Puteri Marina Tengku Ibrahim and Sarawak Premier’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang.

Deputy State Secretary (Performance and Service Delivery Transformation) Datu Dr Sabariah Putit informed Her Majesty that the State’s songket and keringkam heritage innovation project began in 2017, patronised by Juma’ani.

The project, which was led by Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHE), aimed to develop an integrated and sustainable ecosystem, improve the socio-economy of and generate employment opportunities for the locals and at the same time protect, preserve, and conserve valuable heritage products.

She also mentioned that the Queen herself was the one who had led to a collaboration idea of a songket project with the Sarawak Prison Department.

Following that, the State government, through OKSHE, has channelled an allocation of RM50,000 to kickstart the Puncak Borneo Prison Sarapride songket workshop in August 2019.

“For heritage skills development, OKSHE partnered with Sarawak Centre of Technical Excellence (CENTEXS) to train Puncak Borneo Prison trainers,” she said at the event.

Dr Sabariah further informed the Queen that the Sarawak government and the Malaysian Prison Department, through OKSHE-Puncak Borneo Prison Heritage Project, is currently building a Songket Workshop on an area of 2.5 acres which can accommodate 100 songket houses.

“The implementation period of the project implemented by the Sarawak Public Works Department is for 18 months.

“The construction project is expected to begin in June 2022 and be completed in December 2023,” she added.

Sarawak has about 120 songket weavers and 246 keringkam embroiderers in the State.

At the same time, the Songket and Keringkam Gallery serves as a sales platform for songket and keringkam products from various communities throughout Sarawak. It is managed by CENTEX Commercial Services (CCS), a subsidiary of the Sarawak government.

The Gallery has four sections, namely the Sales, Songket Weaving Demonstration and Keringkam Embroidery, Songket and Keringkam Gallery and History, and Pictorial Section. ― DayakDaily