KUCHING: The new Sarawak Museum Campus is expected to be handed over to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports this coming week, said Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
However, Abdul Karim said the RM300 million new Sarawak Museum Campus that commenced construction in 2016, would not be opened to the public until end of 2020.
“I wish it could be opened to public immediately because we could not wait to showcase and let the public have a look into what’s going on inside there.
“Museum being a museum, even if it’s just an artefact or display that is being showcased, there must be a write up, and that write up is delaying it,” said Abdul Karim when met by the reporters at his Hari Raya Open House at the Penview Convention Centre here, today.
Despite that, he said the ministry was trying to arrange with the Museum Department to see if it could be opened in phases.
“If one level is already completed, maybe they can open for that level first and the other levels follow suit,” he said.
The new Sarawak Museum Campus covering 7,000 square metres, would be the second biggest in this region after the National Gallery Singapore (10,000 sq metres) and it would be a state-of-the-art museum, interactive and different from other museums in the region.
Meanwhile, when asked if there would be charges on entrance fees applicable to the visitors later, Abdul Karim opined that there must be a minimal charge in view that the upkeep of museum is very high.
“If you see museums in Europe, or other places, you have to pay a very high entrance fees, like in the United Kingdom, (the entrance fees) chargeable are between £20 to £25 per person, that is already few hundreds ringgit for us.
“I am looking at two-tier rates like Sarawak Cultural Village entrance fees but I feel locals and students must be given special prices. The state government and cabinet will soon decide on the rates,” he said.
On the progress of the renovation of the old museum, he said the roofing works were still on going, while the works in the interior part of the old museum would take some time to be completed.
“The time frame given to complete the roofing and the renovation of the interior part is by 2020, and once completed, we will move back all the antiques and original items of the old museum to their original place,” he added.
Upon completion of both the new Museum Campus and old museum, Abdul Karim said the state government through his ministry would consider reviving the aquariums (originally behind the old museum) which was opened in the 1980s.
“We have not got the approval from the government yet but then, it’s in the pipeline…what makes the aquarium special, because of the metal frame that is in itself an antique, which probably is more than a 100 years,” he added.