State minister: Sarawak Museum Complex to be opened in April next year

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (2nd right) and Hii Chang Kee(right) with the ‘kelidieng’ of the Melanau. — Borneo Post pic
Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (2nd right) and Hii Chang Kee(right) with the ‘kelidieng’ of the Melanau. — Borneo Post pic

KUCHING, Sept 26 — The new Sarawak Museum Complex, the largest in Malaysia and second largest in South-east Asia, will be opened in April next year, said Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

According to him, they have initially planned to launch the museum complex in December this year but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abdul Karim said the Sarawak Museum Department is now in the midst of filling the the museum complex with the artifacts and specimens.

“This is a new museum so there will be a lot of new things to be introduced to the local and foreign visitors.

“We have over 20,000 artifacts and we are going to put 1,660 of them for the exhibition,” he said after witnessing the transportation of the burial pole, ‘kelidieng’, to the new museum here today.

The world-class Sarawak Museum Complex, designed and completed with 21st-century facilities and amenities, has a 6,000-square-metre interactive and engaging exhibition and will open its doors to the public by the end of next year.

A well-curated selection of unique artifacts and specimens on display will take visitors on an interactive journey as they showcase Sarawak’s history and the life of its many communities.

Abdul Karim said aside from ‘kelidieng’, the Sarawak Museum Department will also bring the Punan burial pole called ‘kejaman’ and the Iban war boat to the new museum.

He said these artifacts will be exhibited at a permanent exhibition gallery on Level 3 of the Borneo Cultures Museum.

He said the ‘kelidieng’ was relocated and shipped to the Sarawak Museum here from Dalat in 1962.

The moving of the ‘kelidieng’ from the Sekama store to the new museum was done after a specific ritual ceremony.

Penghulu Yasa Tanbik is leading a team from Dalat to conduct the required rituals.

Pok Mo, who is the direct descendant owner of the ‘kelidieng’ and a shaman himself, performed the ritual ceremony.

He was assisted by his son, Rudy together with the begadeng troupe, led by Ketua Kaum Han Bakeri from Kampung Sungai Ud.

The ritual ceremony started at the Sekama store at 9am.

The ‘kelidieng’ was wrapped in a white cloth so that it would not appear ‘naked’.

After that, the ‘kelidieng’ was put in a lorry and transported to the new museum complex accompanied by the begadeng.

‘Kelidieng’ or ‘Jerunai’ is one of the historical symbols of the Melanau community.

It was used as a burial place for the Melanau nobles in the past but is no longer practiced today.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee was among those present at the event today. — Borneo Post

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