GPS govt all for safeguarding heritage, traditions of all races

(From left) Awang Tengah, Abang Johari and Asfia join the participants for the record-setting hadrah performance.

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg assures that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led government is committed to safeguarding the heritage and traditions of all races in the state, especially those of the Malays.

“We Sarawakians are blessed and fortunate because the state is immensely rich in heritage and cultures, which also serve as ingredients to unite us in advancing our own traditions,” he said.

He also urged the Malay community to ensure their unique heritage and traditions are passed down through the generations as each tradition conveys different messages to the community.

“The spirit of never-give-up is ingrained in the Malay community, and just like the messages delivered from the ‘silat’ tradition, we must always be disciplined and loyal to our parents, teachers and God,” he said when officiating at the ‘Temasny Warisan Old Kuching Smart Heritage’ programme in Padang Merdeka here yesterday.

He added that ‘silat’ or hadrah’ performances could be seen at major Malay events in Sarawak, such as marriage ceremony.

“With the younger generation eager to learn ‘silat’ and ‘hadrah’, the roads ahead for the Malay community are bright. All play a part in protecting such heritage.

“I also want the Malay community to equip themselves with knowledge through reading, and with the ingrained spirits in them, I believe they can play a crucial role in transforming Sarawak towards the digital economy.”

He added that his government administration would continue to protect and develop the Malay culture because old heritage is the pulse of the society.

He also shared that during the upcoming State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting, the GPS government would increase fundings for the development of heritage and cultures in the state.

“Once a place has been gazetted as a heritage site, no one would be allowed to disturb it,” said Abang Johari.

The event also witnessed the staging of the ‘Largest Hadrah Performance’ which was then listed in the Malaysia Book of Records as it involved 1,001 participants beating the traditional musical instrument ‘hadrah’ unique to the Malay community in Sarawak.

The event was part of the ‘Temasny Warisan Old Kuching Smart Heritage’ programme held from Oct 6 to 26, as a platform to showcase and strengthen the heritage and culture of the Sarawak Malays.

It was organised by Persatuan Kesenian dan Warisan Melayu Kuching (Kuching Malay Heritage and Arts Association) in collaboration with Old Kuching Smart Heritage initiative of the Sarawak government.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, DUN Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Assistant Minister in Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs and Kuching North City Commission) Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and the association chairman Abdul Yakup Norshen were among those present.