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S’wak govt has high regards for textile industry, says Abd Karim


Tunku Azizah (right) touring the exhibition area at the symposium, accompanied by Juma’ani on her right, Abdul Karim and others. – Penerangan Photo

KUCHING (Dec 6): The Sarawak government has high regards for the textile industry as it has a lot of potential to contribute to the development of the country’s economy and livelihood, said Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said in 2021, the Sarawak handicraft industry reached RM15.7 million in sales, which was achieved through the tireless crafts community of 687 people in Sarawak.

“Hence, we have recognised the traditional craft as one of the major players in our economic strategy, with a special focus on local textiles such as the Sarawak Songket and Keringkam.

“Historically, these kinds of unique pieces of clothing are key indicators to the cultural development in any civilisation, for they eventually become important assets for trading, paving ways for different communities to converge and grow,” he said in his welcoming speech at the launching ceremony of Lembaran Emas Series 2: Borneo Textiles Symposium 2022 today.

Abdul Karim said therefore, it is especially important that the development of local talents today be made the focal point in sustaining the textiles community.

“With the support of different agencies in training textile-related skills among the local talents as well as a harmonious ecosystem, Sarawak can and will be an exemplary creative hub for our textile heritage.

“Thanks to the digitalisation effort, these handicrafts were able to reach a wider range of audience, both locally and internationally. To encourage this trend and to amplify the effect on tourism, hybrid-based collaboration between key players in the textile preservation and productions, such as Majlis Seni Sarawak, Sarawak Tourism Board, and Sarawak Craft Council, and perhaps with international organisations as well, should be established firmly,” he added.

On the symposium, Abdul Karim said it was inspired by the Asean Textiles Symposium that was held in Putrajaya last September.

He said that during the Asean Textiles Symposium, there were many insights gained from the experts and speakers who have been in the Textile journey since many years.

“Therefore, Borneo Textiles Symposium that we are having today and tomorrow, is a part of an ongoing initiative to enhance and propel our textiles preservations and conservations.

“The enthusiastic reception is a good sign that the traditional craft of textiles is very much alive, and therefore, the world needs to band together in unity to make sure it does not meet an untimely end,” he said.

Abdul Karim said it is Sarawak’s focus to turn local events into potential tourism attractions; to provide a platform for partnership with universities and other tourism agencies; and to help instil a ‘sense of ownership’ to all individuals actively taking part in this symposium today.

“It is our pleasure to assist scholars and weavers in elevating their ideas and innovations towards finding potential stakeholders and supportive communities and bringing everyone within reach of each other.

“Through these, we can shine a spotlight on Sarawak, and in particular, the allure of our textiles. With this collaborative effort, I am confident that we can promote a wider range of research-driven innovation and technology as well as translational discourses that reverberates throughout the world, triggering transformations and sustaining preservations of our traditions and culture,” he said.

The launching ceremony was graced by the presence of the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, who is the patron of the symposium.

Among those present were the Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas’s wife Datin Amar Doreen Mayang and Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian’s wife Datin Sri Enn Ong.


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