SEMPORNA: The Tun Sakaran Museum was officially opened yesterday in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of Sabah Museum.
Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said the museum was named after Tun Sakaran Dandai in appreciation for donating a piece of one-acre land to enable the government to build a museum.
He said the construction of the building started under the 9th Malaysian Plan while the exhibition building was constructed under the 10th Malaysian Plan and only completed in 2014. It has been opened to the public to gather feedback and suggestions for improvements.
Masidi said the museum is important in view of Semporna as a tourism hub for visitors from all over the world who are interested in the beauty of the sea. The islands around Semporna are reknowned as beautiful diving destinations which are among the best in the world. Therefore, it is most suitable that the government build a museum in Semporna as a facility for tourists who visit the district.
He said the people of Semporna also have their own uniqueness of history and culture.
“Apart from being a tourism product, the museum is also important as a center for culture and history of the Semporna community, of which the majority are Bajau,” he said yesterday.
Masidi said the museum also intends to set up a center to study Bajau history and culture.
“I was made to understand that from April 24 to 26, a dialog is going on together with the community leaders to discuss the best measures on the development of the study center,” he said.
He said the museum will also benefit students as a place to study the history and culture of Sabah communities with various cultures.
Understanding and knowledge on other cultures instills tolerance which enables us to live in harmony among each other, he added.
Masidi said though the museum was named Tun Sakaran Museum, it also covers the culture and community of Semporna.
He said the ground floor is the Tun Sakaran gallery while the top floor exhibits culture and historical artifacts of the Semporna community, adding that the exhibition will change from time to time.
Masidi said one of the aims of the museum is to instill unity through culture and history by educating the community especially the younger generation on local culture and history to instill values and harmony among the people without looking at their background.
He said the ceremony yesterday was meaningful to the Sabah Museum Department as it is in conjunction with its 50th anniversary and Regatta Lepa Festival which is an icon for Semporna.
“I believe by promoting Tun Sakaran Museum together with Semporna’s iconic festival, this museum will be famous and have a place at the international level,” he said.
More than 2,000 people have visited the museum since it was opened last year, even though there were no previous promotions.