KUCHING, Sept 1 ― The state government is planning to turn Kampung Santubong into an archaeological town once the development of heritage sites near the village are completed, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Once developed, he believed that the heritage sites would be able to attract tourists and visitors because in addition to the heritage sites, Santubong area itself is famous for its natural beauty apart from housing many old treasures that are over 1,000 years old.
“Kampung Santubong has many historical sites and abundance of nature around it which is why we (state government) are keen to develop this place into a tourist attraction. Once completed, we also expect the sites at Kampung Santubong (will become) a must visit place for tourists too,” he told reporters at Kampung Santubong today.
There are three heritage sites located near Kampung Santubong which are being developed by the Sarawak Museum Department namely the Sungai Jaong Archaeological Park, Bongkissam and Bukit Maras Archaeological Park and the Wallace Centre.
Abdul Karim said that the three heritage sites are currently being developed and are expected to be completed and opened to members of the public in the first quarter of next year.
“We have set a target of February next year (2021) for these sites to be completed. It could have been opened this year but due to the Movement Control Order and the Covid-19 the construction process of these sites had to be delayed. The three heritage sites have their own stories and treasures that can be a must-visit destination for tourists,”
“The Jaong River, for example, has many stones with human carvings, Bongkissam and Bukit Maras are the site of an old Hindu temple while the Wallace Centre was once the residence of (renowned 19th century and early 20th century British naturalist) Alfred Russel Wallace for two years,” he added.
He also revealed that the estimated overall cost to develop the three sites is around RM30 million.
Before speaking to reporters, Abdul Karim took time to visit the three sites. He was also briefed by officials on the development progress of the three sites.
Meanwhile, Abdul Karim also hoped more tourists would be able to visit Sarawak next year because tourism is one of the contributors of the state’s income.
“As for now we know it is difficult to enter Sarawak due situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic for now. We have, however, taken a few steps to encourage more visitors to come here (to Sarawak) including allowing flights to resume to the state, although those who enter Sarawak directly from outside of the country will have to be quarantined in the state for two weeks first,” he said.
Also present to accompany Abdul Karim during his visit were Assistant Minister of Islamic Affairs and DBKU and Pantai Damai assemblyman Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Hii Chang Kee and other officials. ― Borneo Post