KOTA KINABALU: Sabah, dubbed the Land Below The Wind, will have another “must visit place” for foreign tourists once the octagonal permanent building of the State Visual Arts Conservation Centre is ready soon.The construction of the RM14 million building in Jalan Penampang, near here, housing a world-class state art gallery, started yesterday with the ground-breaking ceremony performed by state Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun.
“If you go to Jalan Gaya (a bazaar held every Sunday in the heart the city), one of the most popular things among the tourists is paintings. But the problem is we don’t have a permanent place for this.
“That’s why we need a place to really display the best of Sabah in terms of arts and we hope the art gallery will move to its new premises or building soon,” he told reporters after the ceremony.
Masidi said the four-storey building was expected to be completed in 18 months while phase 2 was waiting for the government allocation.
“We also hope that the proposed Sabah Art Gallery in the city centre will be built under the 10th Malaysia Plan,” he said.
On the Sabah Visual Arts Conservation Centre, he said it would help promote art appreciation through exhibitions and educational activities as well as store and conserve the 2,000-odd works that constituted the state-owned art collection.
The distinctive form of the building with its narrow base and wide rim top is reminiscent of the traditional basket which is commonly used by the various ethnic communities in Sabah.
On a different note, Masidi, who is also state executive councillor in charge of education, said he was supportive of the Education Ministry’s target to increase the pre-school enrolment rate by five per cent to 72 per cent by including four-year-olds, as announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
He said he was confident that Sabah could achieve an enrolment rate as high as 70 per cent but there must be enough facilities and infrastructures.
“Most of the parents prefer or like to send their children to school as early as possible but the problem is the lack of facilities,” he said. — Bernama