MIRI: The Miri Handicraft Centre with its cosy interior and ample parking was rebuilt at the cost of RM1.9 million.
Miri mayor Adam Yii said the re-building was completed last year and now houses 13 local handicraft stalls, a kiosk for local favourite ‘Kueh Lapis’ (layered cake) as well as a cafeteria during the launch of Miri Handicraft Centre’s new building yesterday.
“Miri Handicraft Centre promotes local arts and handicrafts and is a place of interest for tourists and visitors to Miri city.
“It is the earnest hope of the Miri City Council (MCC) that the local tourism partners such as the government agencies, private entrepreneurs and individuals play their parts respectively. With the concerted efforts, we would be able to develop Miri into the most liveable resort city.”
As 2018 is tourism year for Miri, the launch of Miri Handicraft Centre spearheaded the council’s journey to further promoting Miri, Yii added.
“We can do it if we have the right mind-set, determination and passion for our Miri city.”
During the function, Yii shared a brief history of the Miri Handicraft Centre located next to the Miri Polyclinic.
He said the centre was originally the site of the Miri Community Hall which was the first community hall in Sarawak.
It was built by the government with the grant of RM50,000 with a similar sum of money donated by the then Sarawak Shell Oilfields Limited and a further sum of RM20,000 provided by the Council previously known as Miri Urban District Council.
The construction was completed and opened to the public on 16th August 1958 with a seating capacity of 300 persons.
It was used for various social activities such as exhibition, lectures, plays, concerts, cookery class, indoor games and even wedding parties.
Apart from that, the council’s public library was also housed in this building at one time.
With the development of Miri, the major role of Miri Community Hall was gradually taken over by Miri Civic Centre on 20th June 1988.
However, the community hall here was still relevant and serving the local communities but in a different capacity.
In early Year 2000, MCC who was the owner and manager of this community hall, had decided to turn it into a handicraft centre for the local ethnic groups to showcase and sell their artworks and crafts.
Thus, the community hall was converted into a local handicraft centre and renamed as Miri Heritage Centre.
The Miri Heritage Centre was open to the public on 14th September 2001.
It was the intention of Miri Municipal Council to promote local handicrafts and arts since there are as many as 27 ethnic groups residing in northern region of Sarawak particularly in Miri. It was also part of the council’s effort to make Miri a resort city by the year 2005.
The efforts of the council in promoting local handicrafts and arts as well as tourism promotion received due attention and support of the government.
In 2016, the late chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem gave MCC a RM10 million special grant to upgrade facilities for the city tourism endeavour. Part of the grant was used to upgrade the Miri Handicraft Centre.