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Monday May 3, 2010

Chan hopes Shell, Petronas will provide funds to upkeep museum

IT IS hoped that the two major petroleum companies in Sarawak - Shell and Petronas, will come to the rescue of the Miri Petroleum Museum which is falling into disrepair due to a lack of funds.

Tourism and Heritage Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan told StarMetro that he was trying to get help from the two companies to fund the management of the museum.

“I have spoken to Petronas CEO Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas and he has promised to help in the upkeep of the museum,” he said, adding that it was appropriate for the companies to help the museum as it covered the history of the oil industry in Sarawak.

In sorry state: Miri Petroleum Museum waiting for a responsible caretaker to turn it into a tourist venue.

Dr Chan agreed that Miri Petroleum Museum was a prized asset to the city. “The Sarawak Museum should also be more proactive and assist me to get these two petroleum companies to help out in funding,’’ said Dr Chan.

On vandalism, Dr Chan said they were looking into the possibility of fencing up the area. He appealed to the public who jogs around the area to keep the area clean and not to litter.

StarMetro reported last month on the sorry state of the museum, which could be one of the main tourist attractions in Miri. It is presently suffering from poor general maintenance, a faulty air conditioning system and the gloomy atmosphere of the place just after five years after its opening.

Located on Canada Hill, the museum has a beautiful view of the Miri city centre and the South China Sea. Within its walls it has a rich and informative exhibition. Sadly though, the place feels abandon.

Sarawak Museum Natural History Curator Dr Charles Leh told StarMetro that the Sarawak Museum did not have sufficient funds to maintain the operation and management of the museum.

However, for this year, the museum has managed to secure a one off funding from the federal Tourism Ministry to repair the air-conditioning. The work is expected to be completed by end of August.

Due to the lack of funds, they also could not immediately rectify an error in the name of Baram Resident Mr Claude Champion de Crespigny because it would require changing the whole plaque.

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