Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
19/01/2024 04:23 PM

KUCHING, Jan 19 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak Government is in the process of gazetting Datuk Kong Island in Bintulu Division as a heritage site, according to State Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said once gazetted under the Sarawak Heritage Ordinance 2019, the island which is situated in the middle of Batang Kemena River near Sebauh, a small bazaar in the division, would be protected and promoted as a heritage tourism destination.

“A Chinese folktale, ‘Three Good Friends And A Hungry Dog’ was also set in Datuk Kong Island and the folktale reinforces the importance of respect for all living beings,” he said when speaking at a handover ceremony of the collection of folktales from Iban, Bidayuh, Malay, Chinese and Punan communities, dubbed ‘Sarawak Folktales For All’ here today.

He said this Chinese folktale is also among the five stories contained in the Sarawak Folktales For All books collection that aim to foster understanding and appreciation of the multi-racial community's heritage in the state.

“Furthermore, we will extend this collection to all 1,254 primary schools and 211 libraries in Sarawak, ensuring that every educational institution and library has access to these cultural treasures,” he said.

Abdul Karim said other folktales in the collection include "Kumang and The Ungrateful Python" from the Iban community, "Widow and the Colorful Clothed Frog" (Bidayuh community), "Modi and the Magic Stone" (Punan community) and "Ikan Patin among Sarawak Malays" (Sarawak Malay community).

“The folktales in this collection are available in English, Malay and Chinese to embrace the linguistic diversity of our communities. As we continue our efforts in safeguarding Sarawak's heritage, our ministry is committed to publishing folktales of all its 34 ethnic groups,” he said.  

Meanwhile, he also announced an annual budget of RM10 million dedicated to the Facilitation Fund for Heritage, Arts and Culture intended to support relevant associations and organisations to run their activities that would foster the state's creative industry growth. 

He said this initiative would not only safeguard Sarawak's heritage but would also create new job and business opportunities to promote a thriving and vibrant cultural ecosystem.

“We welcome applications from talented individuals, NGOs and local communities to contribute to the production, reproduction, promotion, distribution and commercialisation of heritage products which play a vital role in preserving and sustaining our rich cultural heritage,” he added.