NGO offers helping hand to protect state’s heritage

KUCHING: The Sarawak Heritage Society wants to work with the state government to protect and enhance the state’s rich and unique heritage.

Its president Datuk Seri Robert Jacob Ridu said this included formulating policies and regulations related to heritage conservation.

“We want to do a baseline study for the built environment in Kuching and other major towns to determine heritage sites and see whether the government can develop a policy on this.

“We also want to work with the government on regulations about heritage, particularly in terms of policy, planning and regulatory oversight,” he told StarMetro.

Jacob also said more efforts and incentives were needed to boost heritage conservation in the state.

“If you want people to keep their old buildings, there must be government support in funding or in kind.

“Heritage sites such as the ancient Bongkissam site and the megaliths of the Kayan and Kelabit need to be identified, further researched and protected,” he said.

According to him, Sarawakians themselves must be aware of and appreciate their heritage in order to preserve it.

“The basic manifesto of the society is that we have to preserve, protect and manage our heritage, both tangible and intangible. This includes the built environment, natural environment and confluence of cultures that make Sarawak unique.

“People who come here see something unique about Sarawak and that is something we should be proud of.

“We want to build the belief that this is something we should further enhance and preserve, because this is what defines us as people of Sarawak,” he said. — By SHARON LING

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