MIRI: Greater effort is needed to develop and promote handicrafts from Sarawak, says Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
In this regard, he calls upon Sarawak Craft Council to always be proactive in charting the development of this industry in Sarawak.
“In terms of crafts, Sarawakians are proficient and this has been proven by the conferment of Kuching, as the ‘World Craft City’ by the World Crafts Council earlier this year. We are proud of that.
“However, I am not proud if I am not able to see the process of crafts being developed. Personally, I see there is not much being done to develop our crafts. The Sarawak Craft Council needs to take this into serious consideration.
“Indeed, we have many skilled craftsmen, but if we cannot develop our handicrafts into a bigger industry, I think we still fail,” he spoke at the launching ceremony of Sarawakiana Carnival 2019 in Pustaka Miri yesterday.
In this respect, Abdul Karim also called upon relevant agencies to work together to develop the industry.
“I would like to see, possibly in the period of one year, how many entrepreneurs and skilled artisans that (we) are able to produce. We must be able to look throughout the whole of Sarawak, and identify these skilled craftsmen, and from there develop the kind of niche products that could be developed from those areas,” he added.
Apart from crafts, efforts should also be made to enhance and promote other tourism-related products, suggested Abdul Karim.
“Culinary, or food tourism, is a very big pull and drive for tourism in Sarawak today.
“When people have money, they do not mind to fly and spend thousands of ringgit to eat something that is very authentic.
“Besides that, other tourism potentials should also be explored such as sports and medical (tourism),” he said.
The minister also spoke about the many forms and varieties of arts and cultures that Sarawak must polish on and showcase to the world.
“We need to mobilise the resources so that such these things can be maintained; and that anything in terms of culture, lifestyle, food, crafts, dancing arts and so on can also be maintained and become a force that can move and lift the economy of the country and the local community.
“We must strive to ensure that we are able to get good returns, deriving from the uniqueness that we have,” he added.
Pustaka Negeri Sarawak deputy chief executive officer (services) Arpah Adenan and Pustaka Miri regional manager Salina Zawawi were also present at the event.