KUCHING: The federal government has allocated RM6 million to help transform the former Brooke dockyard along Lebuh Market into a local handicraft business and training centre.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said initial estimates on the project was at least RM10 million.
“We will apply for the remaining sum from the state government to re-develop the place, making it almost similar to ‘Pasar Seni’ in Kuala Lumpur,” said Abang Johari on Sunday.
He was representing Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem at a Hari Raya Aidilfitri dinner organised by Pertubuhan Anak Seni Bandarsah Kuching (PASBK) at Dewan Majma here.
Abang Johari, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said besides becoming a hub for local entrepreneurs to sell handicrafts and souvenir items, the proposed centre would also have training centres to teach locals to produce local handicrafts.
This, he believed, would auger well for the socio-economy of the people as the state’s tourism industry was gaining momentum due to the interest of foreign airline companies to fly direct to the state.
“The direct flights from Kuching to Hong Kong by Hong Kong Airlines are mostly full. Hong Kong Airlines is now considering increasing their twice weekly flights.”
Abang Johari added that the transformation of the former Brooke Dockyard would compliment his ministry’s initiative to have a heritage trail from Kuching Waterfront and encircling heritage sites such as Brooke Dockyard, the first state mosque (now divisional mosque), SJK (C) Chung Hua School No. 4, Darul Kurnia and Jalan P. Ramlee.
On another matter, he reiterated that his ministry wanted to revive Sarawak Art Council.
“Then there’s the Sarawak Symphony Orchestra. We plan to have them perform in Asean countries and other places. This will in turn promote our state to countries such as Japan, South Korea and China.”
Meanwhile, he applauded PASBK for their effort in producing many talents in the performing arts scene over the years.
He said works were currently underway to construct a PASBK building as a platform for all villagers surrounding Jalan Datuk Ajibah Abol to gather and share their love for music, arts and culture.
Also present at the dinner was Abang Johari’s wife, Datin Amar Jumaani Tuanku Bujang, PASBK chairman Abdul Rahman Zainuddin and former senator Dayang Madinah Tun Abang Openg, who handed a mock cheque for RM30,000 to PASBK.