Sunday, August 9

Call for nomination of Kuching Waterfront to become Unesco World Heritage site

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THE Social Development Ministry has proposed for Kuching Waterfront to be nominated for Unesco World Heritage List next year.

Its minister Tan Sri William Mawan said this in his winding-up speech yesterday, hoping that the historical interchange as well as the interaction between human and architecture, arts and culture here could qualify the site for the nomination.

“I believe that the history and charms of old buildings, culture and way of life, as well as the ambience created by the blend of the old and modern, could create a distinct identity for Kuching city and Sarawak,” he said.

Mawan, who is also Pakan assemblyman, also encouraged private building owners to register their heritage properties with the Sarawak Museum Department to ensure that more of the state’s historical assets such as Brooke Dockyard, the old State Mosque and Padang Merdeka together with its centuries-old ‘kapuk’ (silk cotton) tree, would be protected under existing laws.

On the development of the Heritage Trail Project and Sarawak Museum Campus, the minister informed the august House that the full design of

these projects was still being finalised, with the ground work expected to commence by year-end.

“A new Museum of Modern Sarawak to be located at the north bank of Sarawak river in the Heritage Square, is also being designed.

“In this respect, we need to document our history in an orderly manner, in enabling us to chart our developmental progress and achievements since independence,” he added.

Mawan also assured all that his ministry would continue hosting local heritage partners, universities and artistes planning their contemporary arts and creative designs at the museum’s galleries in the coming years. This, he said, would further promote the state’s culture and heritage.

“The Sarawak Museum is going to embark on a new season of research in 2015, with renewed interest in the Sarawak River Delta, Niah Caves and the highlands in northeastern Sarawak.

“There are growing interests worldwide to study the history and culture of the early civilisation in Sarawak. Archeology will remain the mainstream of documentation and research at Sarawak Museum in years to come.”

On heritage development projects under the 10th Malaysia Plan, Mawan told the House that the RM5-million restoration of Fort Alice in Sri Aman would commenced next month, while its exhibition contents were being developed and would be ready for display in time for opening early next year.

“Renovation works on Fort Margherita in Kuching have been completed and it has been open to public since September this year. There are plans to use this fort as a platform to introduce the early history of Sarawak during Brooke’s rule and the function of the structure during that era,” he said.

On another matter, Mawan stressed the crucial need for those involved in the import and export of antiques in the state to obtain the necessary licences from Sarawak Museum Department.

“This year, 18 export licences have been issued. The department will continue to monitor the movement and trade of antiques in Sarawak, as well as track cross-border activities,” he pointed out.