Tourism Ministry plans to link over 10 historical forts across Sarawak into Heritage Forts Trail for Unesco recognition

Fort Margherita in Kuching. Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Museum Department

By Ling Hui & Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Oct 6: The Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts is planning to link over 10 historical fort sites across Sarawak into a Heritage Forts Trail, which has the potential to be recognised as one of Unesco’s world heritage trails.

The Ministry’s permanent-secretary Hii Chang Kee said they are working towards that recognition by first renovating all the forts and equipping them with proper exhibitions as well as souvenir shops, working together with the Sarawak Museum Department and Public Works Department (JKR).

“As of now, the renovation and repair works of most of the forts have been completed. Like Fort Lily in Betong, Fort Emma in Kanowit, Fort Alice in Sri Aman, Fort Brooke in Julau, and Fort Charles in Kabong.

“And those with renovations nearing completion are Fort Sylvia in Kapit and Fort Arundell in Lubok Antu.

“These are all existing buildings. There are more than 10 forts still remaining that are spread across Sarawak,” he told DayakDaily in an exclusive interview at Bangunan Baitulmakmur II here today.

Hii in an exclusive interview with Dayakdaily at his office here today (Oct 6, 2022).

After the fort revival programmes, Hii said the ministry will look into applying for the Unesco Heritage Trail recognition, especially with forts made of ‘belian’ wood that is unique in Sarawak.

“It is our dream that probably one day, when all the renovations are completed, we can explore the possibility of whether we can apply to Unesco for the Unesco Heritage Fort Trail (recognition).

“I don’t think many parts of the world have such unique forts like us in Sarawak, that are made of ‘belian’. So, hopefully, that will happen,” he added.

Fort Sylvia in Kanowit. Photo courtesy of the Sarawak Museum Department

According to the Sarawak Museum Department’s official website, the other identified forts in Sarawak include Fort Margherita in Kuching, Fort Lio Mato and Fort Long Akah in Marudi, Fort Hose in Baram, and the Old Fort in Limbang. — DayakDaily