SIDS members advised to turn weaving skill into business

Uggah beats the gong to mark the pre-Gawai celebration as Nanta (second right), Alice (left), organising chairperson Angelyn Uchi Maseng (second left) and others look on.

SIBU: Members of Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) should turn their ‘Pua Kumbu’ (hand woven traditional textile) weaving into business.

This is because the Iban Pua Kumbu has great appeal and potential in the world of haute couture, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said.

“Let not your Pua Kumbu remain as just a cultural heritage. Exploit its potentials for income. Promote it on the internet or in e-commerce. Set up your supply chain and work out your marketing networks,” he said when officiating at SIDS Sibu Division pre-Gawai Dayak dinner here on Sunday.

Uggah, who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, said his ministry was always ready to support them.

He was very happy with the initiative taken by the SIDS Sibu branch under the leadership of SIDS president Dato Alice Jawan in starting the Pua Kumbu making class and a competition to find the best weaver. He said this would ensure the long term survival, further development and refinement of this Iban fine art.

Meanwhile, he also called on SIDS and Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) members to consider venturing into modern or precision farming.

“We must take advantage of the huge land that we have. The government is now transforming our agricultural sector.  There are many programmes arising that we can use,” he said.

He also said those interested could talk to his ministry.

“We can have further discussions like on organising the relevant training courses and building up the supply chain. We must take advantage of the many programmes as the state government aims to make the state a net food exporter by the year 2030,” he said.

Touching on the coming Gawai Dayak celebration, Uggah said it is a uniting factor for the Dayak community irrespective of their religion or place of origin.

“We have a very colourful culture developed over time which is still being preserved today. This is a pride for us all,” he pointed out.

He added the celebration was an opportunity for young Dayaks to know their own culture which they should pass on to the next generation.

Uggah considered it as a golden opportunity for the Dayaks to show their colourful culture to the nation and the world.

“We are contributing to Malaysia’s rich multi-ethnic culture. Let us, during the celebration, therefore not just dwell on petty issues.

“Let us learn to sit together to find out how we can bring progress to our community so that we can move alongside other more advanced communities,” he reminded.

At the function, he announced a grant of RM50,000 to SIDS Sibu, out of which RM30,000 was meant for the Pua Kumbu competition next year.

Also chipping in were Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi who gave RM10,000, while Nangka and Bukit Goram state assemblymen Dr Annuar Rapaee and Jefferson Jamit gave RM5,000 each.