TUARAN (Feb 26): The Sabah government has set seven priorities to be implemented for the state’s cultural development, which has been taking place since 2021 and will continue until 2030, said Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.
He said the seven priorities were digitalisation of art and culture, or eCulture; integrated cultural tourism; cultural preservation; strengthening of ethnic relations; cultural research and documentation; cultural arts development; and intellectual property protection.
“These seven priorities are in line with the Sabah Maju Jaya initiative in the cultural development of various ethnicities in Sabah, and that role is the responsibility of the Sabah Cultural Board (LKNS).
“We want, through these seven priorities, all cultural bodies and communities to develop together, to appreciate and further embody the cultural values they inherit (from previous generations), and to hand them over to future generations,” he said when officiating the Duang Festival at Rumah Kebudayaan Rumpun Bajausama, here today.
He said under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), the government has approved four high-impact projects with an allocation of RM4.5 million, including the Cultural Mapping Project 2021-2025 and the Sabah Cultural Development Plan 2020-2030.
“Apart from that, the project to improve the cultural tourism products of the Murut Sabah Cultural Centre in Tenom, and the project to improve the infrastructure of the Sabah Cultural Centre in Penampang, are in the implementation process,” he said.
Hajiji said that the Sabah government allocated RM9.5 million to LKNS in the state 2023 Budget, to implement various programmes to preserve the state’s ethnic, cultural and artistic wealth and heritage, including the Cultural Pit-Stop, which is designed to empower the culture-based tourism industry, with two new locations in Kota Belud and Tawau.
In this regard, Hajiji calls on all community leaders, state government departments and agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and all levels of society in Sabah, to continue to empower and preserve the nation’s traditional arts, culture and customs to the best of their ability.
“We feel proud as in Sabah, we have 35 main ethnic groups and 217 sub-ethnicities, with all of them having their own cultures and languages,” he said.
Regarding the festival, Hajiji, who is also the Sabah Rumpun Bajausama Association president, said that the Duang Festival, which was held for the first time, could serve as a platform to highlight the culture and traditions of Sabah’s ethnic diversity to visitors and the younger generation.
“This festival will be organised in February every year and has been included in the state tourism calendar. I believe that this festival can raise the name of the Tuaran district as an attractive tourist destination.
“Apart from the Rumpun Bajausama Sabah Cultural Centre, Tuaran also has many interesting places, including Tembara River Cruise, Crocodile Park and Linangkit Cultural Village, and many more in the Tamparuli and Kiulu districts,” he said. — Bernama