Santubong’s RM30 mln archaeological park site to be completed by early 2021

Abdul Karim (second left) with Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee (left) looking at some iron slag found at the Sungai Jaong site.

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SANTUBONG, Sept 1: Santubong’s tourism sector is set to flourish even further once work on its RM30 million archaeological park is complete early next year.

Pointing out that there were several historical artefacts and sites in the Santubong Peninsula; Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said these were important attractions for tourists, historians and even archaeologists.

“Santubong will be an international gateway as an archaeological site in this region. That is why the Sarawak government decided that these sites needed to be conserved and preserved.

“With these sites, we can spread awareness about the rich history of Santubong and the hidden treasures in the area,” Abdul Karim said at a press conference after visiting the archaeological park site which is still under construction this morning.

Among the places visited were archaeological parks at Sungai Jaong (35.34 acres), Bongkissam and Bukit Maras (2.26 acres), and Wallace Centre (6.43 acres) at Santubong Point this morning.

Abdul Karim explained that Santubong Archeological Park at Sungai Jaong was supposed to be completed on Aug 12, while the construction of the Wallace Centre was supposed to be completed on June 7, but were delayed due to the subsequent movement control orders (MCO), the recovery phase of which will be continued until Dec 31.

Karim (centre) with Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee (left) and Pantai Damai assemblyman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi speaking to reporters at the Wallace Centre.

“According to the new plan, it should be completed by the first quarter of 2021. We hope that there will be no further delays, but it all depends on the Covid-19 situation and restrictions. Let’s all hope that there are no drastic increases in cases or new clusters,” he added.

The ministry in collaboration with the Sarawak Museum Department had proposed creating an archaeological park along the Santubong Peninsula in 2017 to provide insight into the area’s early history and what life was like in Santubong as far back as the 7th century.

Abdul Karim elaborated that these sites provided a glimpse into the early history of Santubong as a trading port (between Borneo, India and China), Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in the area.

He also pointed that with an information centre at the site, details of history will be available and displayed.

There will be other facilities in this area with infrastructure such as a wheelchair ramp to ensure that wheelchair accessibility.

Abdul Karim and members of the media were given a brief tour of the archaeological park site at Sungai Jaong where some iron slag have been discovered at the site.

He also visited the rebuilt bungalow where 19th century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace did his research that led to the creation of the Sarawak Law, which is believed to have prompted Charles Darwin to publish his ideas on ‘The Origin of Species’. — DayakDaily

Abdul Karim (third right) with Tourism, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee (fourth right) listens to the Santubong archaeological project details from Museum Department representatives.