S’wak Arts Council to operate as gov’t statutory body

Recipients of the Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry’s Excellent Service Award in a group photo with Karim (standing 5th left)

By Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Dec 18: The Sarawak Arts Council (SAC) will fully operate as a government statutory body effective Jan 1, 2021.

State Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said SAC has been parked under the ministry for a long time.

“I feel it is time for SAC to be on their own as this ‘baby’ is overgrown. Now, it is the government’s hope that you will carry out your duties efficiently and always refer to the Ministry in administrative matters.

“Soon, you will be standing on your own, thus you have to look after yourselves well,” Karim said at the ministry’s appreciation dinner tonight.

On Covid-19 pandemic which has badly affect Sarawak tourism industry, Karim lamented that the number of visitors arrival into Sarawak from January to November 2020 has drastically decreased by 72 percent as compared to the same period in 2019.

“The Ministry has acted swiftly to assist in the recovery of tourism industry. Together with Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), Museum Department, MSS and Sarawak Craft Council, we have launched the ‘Sia Sitok campaign’ to boost domestic tourism since July.

“The Ministry will continue to strengthen the creative industry through various events, arts and cultural training via SAC and Sarawak Craft Council,” Karim said.

Meanwhile, he added that all completed or on going development projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan has enriched Sarawak with more tourism products.

Among them were Borneo Cultural Museum, Wind Cave, Fairy Cave, Bakam Point, Wireless Walk, Dalat Waterfront, Wallace Center, as well as various forts namely Fort Emma, Fort Lili, Fort Brooke, Fort Alice and Fort Hose were successfully restored.

A total of 10 staff also received the Ministry’s Excellent Service Award from Karim. — DayakDaily