State government steps up efforts to preserve Malay heritage

Abang Johari (third left) looking at some of the textiles being displayed at the songket and keringkam gallery. Also seen were Naroden (left) and Dr Sabariah (second left).

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Mar 6: The state government is stepping up efforts to preserve the Malay heritage in old Kuching areas through the Old Kuching Smart Heritage’s (OKSHe) initiative.

As part of the state government’s effort to preserve Malay heritage and promote heritage sites especially at old Kuching Bazaar, a new songket and keringkam gallery was launched.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that the state government will also build a Malay Museum within the old Kuching area to attract more visitors.

“We will build a Malay Museum at Darul Hana. It is currently at the design stage. The museum will exhibit the lifestyles of the Malay villagers.

“Besides, we will also showcase traditional Malay games such as congkak, kites and others in the gallery of the Malay Museum,” he told reporters after the soft launching of songket and keringkam gallery at Jalan Masjid here.

He observed that one of the old Kuching heritage trails starts from Sarawak Museum Campus and goes across the Darul Hana bridge, subsequently including the Malay Museum and Malay villages.

Furthermore, Abang Johari said the state government is building a cascading waterfall at Fort Margherita which is within the heritage trail to attract more tourists.

Moreover, Abang Johari observed that the Chinese part of the heritage sites for old Kuching are from Carpenter Street to Padungan.

As for the opening of the songket and keringkam gallery, Abang Johari noted the gallery has provided a marketplace for local weavers and embrioders to exhibit and promote heritage products besides serving as a tourist attraction.

He observed the products being displayed include Sarawak textiles, souvenir products and handicraft works.

Earlier on, deputy state secretary Datu Dr Sabariah Putit in her speech said the launching of the songket and keringkam gallery was to create an ecosystem to preserve and promote Malay heritage.

She explained that the ecosystem is aimed at cultivating more local artisans, weavers and Keringkam embroiderers to promote and market their produce.

At the same time, she observed that the gallery served as a reference for basic and in-depth information on the Sarawak Malay culture, the philosophy behind the motif as well as ethics in the use of songket and keringkam.—DayakDaily