MIRI: The inaugural visit of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah to the Miri Handicraft Centre and Coco Cabana in conjunction with the ‘Kembara Kenali Borneo’ tour gives recognition to handicrafts from the Land of the Hornbills.
Furthermore, Tunku Azizah who received the 2019 Craft Icon of the Year Award by the World Crafts Council, often promotes the country’s heritage and handicraft at the international level.
According to Miri Division Resident Jamalie Busri, the Miri Handicraft Centre, which was launched in 2001, is not only a tourist attraction in the state’s northern region, but also helps to preserve the diversity of Sarawak’s heritage, culture and ethnicity.
“There are 13 stalls in this complex selling various handicrafts including woven baskets and beads, in addition to stalls selling ethnic and sub-ethnic dishes which are certainly able to attract the attention of foreign tourists.
“The establishment of the handicraft centre is one of the efforts to help the growth of the state’s tourism industry, in line with Miri city’s position as the main gateway to the northern region of Sarawak,” he told Bernama.
Meanwhile, Jamalie said the gallery and demonstration of the Sarawak products, ‘batik linut’ at Coco Cabana, was the best location to promote the Sarawak heritage during the visit of Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah.
“In Coco Cabana there are stalls and handicraft exhibitions, with stalls selling local products such as Bario rice, Bario salt, Bario pepper, bird’s nest and kelulut (stingless bee) honey. It also houses the Batik Linut Gallery,” he said.
Miri, known as Sarawak’s oil city, is the second largest city in the state. It has 356,900 residents (Statistics Department, 2020) and is overflowing with natural resources.
Besides this, it is also the focus of domestic and foreign visitors looking for Iban, Bidayuh, Kelabit, Kayan, Kenyah and Penan handicrafts , thus making it one of the must-stop destinations in Sarawak.
Their Majesties were accompanied on this tour by the Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
The royal couple also signed the Kembara Kenali Borneo plaque, in addition to witnessing a basket- and bead-weaving demonstration and visiting a handicraft stalls at the Miri Handicraft Centre.
Also present at the handicraft centre were Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing and Sarawak Deputy Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew.
The Kembara Kenali Borneo tour, from Sept 3 to 13, began in Tawau, Sabah and ends in Telok Melano, Sarawak, covering a distance of 2,154 kilometres along the Pan Borneo Highway that connects Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. – Bernama