KUCHING: Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Nancy Shukri says 1,022 craft entrepreneurs in Sarawak have registered with Malaysia Handicraft Development Corporation (MHDC) as of June 30 this year.
“From the number, 24.7 per cent or 252 individuals are involved in textile production,” said Nancy in her winding-up speech at parliament in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
She said most of batik products were based on motifs from the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.
“To promote batik with Dayak motif, MHDC had organised Sarawak Borneo Craft festival 2019 to introduce products made in the state to the public.”
Nancy also said the corporation had set up a ‘E-Kraf Bazar’ Facebook group on April 8 as a platform to market different craft products, with 1,085 people already registered as members as of July 23, including 128 individuals from Sarawak.
“The ministry has also launched CraftOnTheGo app on April 1 to provide digital services to the public for them to know more about the profile of craft entrepreneurs in the country.”
She added that the ‘National Cultural Policy’ which was supposed to be launched in the first quarter of this year had been postponed until further notice due to recent developments.
The ministry will also seek to re-activate the local tourism industry via short and medium-term strategies under the Tourism and Cultural Recovery Campaign, now that the tourism players have resumed operation since June 10.
“Some of the strategies include encouraging locals to travel within the country and exploring the potential of cross border tourism by setting up travel bubble with other countries or destinations listed as Covid-19 green zones,” she said.
As a start, Nancy said the ministry encouraged local tourism players to offer incentives for people to travel, promote activities and products that generate revenue for the economy and allow visits to all public cultural facilities and premises, such as museums, galleries and handicraft centres.
“Cultural and arts events and programmes are also permitted to be held starting July 1 as long as they adhere to standard operating procedures and the public embracing new norms when travelling domestically.”
For the ‘Malaysia My Second Home Programme’, Nancy said the federal government had decided to temporarily freeze it to allow the ministry, governmental departments and agencies to conduct a comprehensive study on the programme.
“Areas being studied include the criteria, conditions and incentives set and to make comparison with similar programmes from other countries, such as Citizenship by Investment or Residence by Investment.”
She said the government was confident the results of the comprehensive study would allow the programme to be more in line with the current trends and of international standard.
As for the decision on whether to hold ‘Visit Malaysia Year’ in the coming years when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, Nancy said the decision would have to depend on the right timing and the recovery of tourism industry sector worldwide.