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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 8: Sarawakian songket and keringkam weavers as well as handicraftsmen have churned out RM1.3 million in sales revenue with their products marketed through Centex Commercial within a period of just three years.
Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the revenue was redistributed to the community weavers, embroiderers as well as Centexs students who produced the beautiful and exquisite products.
“On average, the monthly income they earned through this business is between RM3,000 to RM7,000.
“Given that the crafts industry has found a place in the hearts of Sarawakians, Centexs Commercial which was established in 2019 as the marketing arm has been proactive in commercialising the use of songket- and keringkam-based fabrics to a higher level, ” he said.
Abang Johari, who was represented by Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, highlighted this at the official launching of the Juma’ani Pavilion located at Vista Tunku Petra Jaya in Jalan Gersik, Petra Jaya here last night (Dec 7).
Through the various initiatives by Centexs (Centre of Technology Excellence Sarawak) which provides the education, certification and training, and Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHe) in the preservation of songket and keringkam Sarawak, Abang Johari noted that a total of 434 participants have been nurtured, comprising of 276 keringkam weavers and 158 songket weavers in whole of Sarawak.
With serious efforts put into preserving traditional craftsmanship as Sarawak’s intangible cultural heritage, he said Centexs and OKSHe realised the need to create an entity to look into the commercialisation, marketing and branding of Sarawak-made products, especially in the fashion sector.
“This is to ensure songket and keringkam continue to be protected and increase their value, while at the same time helping local weavers and embroiderers create a sustainable income.
“To complete this ecosystem, the idea to establish the first fashion hub came about to not only display and market sustainable Sarawak heritage fashion products, but also to become a centre for development of ideas, designs, production and bring in collaborations among various industries,” he said of the establishment of Juma’ani Pavilion.
The inauguration of the Juma’ani Pavilion, the first fashion hub in Borneo, was marked by the signing of a plaque by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah. — DayakDaily