Melanau heritage building to boost Mukah tourism

Abang Johari (sixth left) signing a plaque at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Melanau Heritage Gallery building. Fatimah is at fifth left.

DALAT: Local tourism and economy in Mukah Division is poised for further development with the construction of the Melanau Heritage Gallery building here.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg announced an additional allocation of RM2 million for the building’s construction on top of an allocation of RM1.1 million made earlier.

“This means the Melanau Heritage Gallery building has about RM3.1 million for its construction cost as a whole, “ he said when announcing the allocation at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Melanau

Heritage Gallery building in conjunction with the Dalat District Level Hari Raya Aidilfitri gathering at Stadium Perpaduan Dalat yesterday afternoon.

Also present were his wife Datin Amar Datuk Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, Assistant Minister of Community Well Being Datuk Francis Harden Hollis and Telian assemblyman Yussibnosh Balo.

Abang Johari said the local residents could make use of technology to upload the photos of the building on the Internet to promote it to the world.

“Culture is connected with the economy. That is the state’s wealth, (as we are) endowed with various cultures and unique ethnic groups.

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said if you want to see a truly 1Malaysia culture, Sarawak is the best example.

“Thus, we must strengthen our culture and practise it,” he pointed out.

In this regard, he agreed with the proposal by Fatimah to set up the Melanau Heritage Gallery building to preserve Melanau culture.

“Culture also reflects the richness of Sarawak. I would like to congratulate Fatimah for her vision to strengthen the culture through this heritage gallery building,” he added.

Earlier in her speech, Fatimah said the building under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) would be located between Oya District Office and the old government quarters in Dalat.

She said the project is the initiative of the Oya Malay Welfare Trustees’ Board (LAKMO) which was established in 1958 and of which she is currently the chairperson.

Fatimah who is also Dalat assemblyman said this heritage gallery would showcase Melanau traditions, customs and culture and would also serve to record activities of the Melanau community such as the sago and fishery industries.

“For the design aspect of the building, we have hired a local Melanau who is an architect of calibre,” she said.