KUCHING: The Bidayuh community was yesterday advised to earnestly look at historical sites in their areas through tourism lenses.
Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Dr James Dawos stressed that history should be shared and the Bidayuh should make an effort to do this by tapping its potential to generate tourism dollars.
“I believe there are many historical sites in Bidayuh areas. They are our assets and strengths, and we should promote them as tourism products to earn money.
“So, the community must take the risk and venture into the tourism sector,” Dawos said during a visit to Kampung Sentah in Siburan.
The village, which is more that 200 feet above sea level, is believed to be earliest setttlement of the Bidayuh Biatah community.
Dawos, who is also Mambong MP, said the village boasted many historical values and tales which could be promoted and shared with tourists the world over.
He added that he would continue to assist local tourism activities and programmes, and disclosed that his ministry gave the state RM28 million last year.
This year, a total of RM25 million has been given to the state thus far.
Dawos, however, said he was unhappy that the Bidayuh community had not been active in the tourism sector.
“I would like to see more Bidayuh getting involved in the tourism sector, and I am more than willing to help,” he said, pointing out the industry roped in some RM56.6 billion from foreign tourists last year.
He challenged the community to build hotels in Bau and Serian, and to set up travel agencies.
Meanwhile, Dawos proposed that Kampung Sentah be promoted as a ‘Ramin Batang Siburan’ (literally translated as Siburan longhouse).
To kick-off this programme, Dawos announced funds to connect water supply and to improve the longhouse.
Present during the visit included DUN deputy Speaker Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Siburan SAO Wilson Spilak Asui and Pemanca Austin Dimin, who is the chairman of Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Kebudayaan Siburan Asal (JKKSA).