CM wants Sarawak Museum to be in sync with changing times


REKINDLING MEMORY: Taib (middle) reminisces the good old days of using this antique telephone model as he browses through the exhibition booths prior to launching the event. At left is Ibrahim. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: The time has come for Sarawak Museum to broaden its role from just an anthropological museum to a new direction that is in sync with the changes brought by the current pace of development and economic progress, said Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

In line with this, Taib revealed that a taskforce headed by Social Development Minister Tan Sri William Mawan would be set up to guide the re-development of Sarawak Museum to make it more friendly and attractive especially to the younger generation.

He pointed out that even though Sarawak Museum was world-renowned and famous as an anthropological museum since its inception in 1883, long term and strategic planning must be made now to ensure that it could still play a very important role in Malaysia.

“Of course, this is much bigger role than assigned to the Sarawak Museum in the past, and may require very extensive re-thinking of what we ought to do with the extension of the museum.

“As we celebrate our 50 years in Malaysia and the 130th anniversary of the museum, I think something much more long term and very strategic must be thought of to make sure we can still play very important role in the development of museums of Malaysia,” he said when officiating at the launch of national-level Museums Day Celebrations at Dewan Tun Abdul Razak of the Sarawak Museum yesterday.

Taib, who is also Finance Minister, gave his assurance that necessary financing would be in order to effectuate this new approach within the next five to 10 years.

“An immediate five years plan must be charted out so as to have a new approach for the museum to make it very friendly and very attractive to our people especially the young so that patronage from them will enhance the importance of the role of the museum in our society,” he said.

“That’s what I would like to say here. A lot of follow-ups have to be done and I hope you (the ministers, department and agencies involved) will rise to the occasion.”

Taib hoped the relevant department and agencies would also learn from the experiences of foreign participants from Indonesia and Australia on how they had adapted the old concept into a new role that inculcated growth of social development.

Meanwhile, participants came from 21 museums throughout Malaysia and also two museums from Indonesia and a museum from Australia. Programmes comprised a seminar, talks and sports carnival while the closing will be this Sunday.

This year also marks the second time Sarawak Museum has played host to this national-level celebration after the first time in 2003.

Also present at the event yesterday were Mawan, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, National Museums director general Datuk Ibrahim Ismail and state Museum Department director Ipoi Datan.