New bill to ensure preservation of Sarawaks unique heritage for posperity
0 month ago, 05-Nov-2019
The new provisions widens the scope of heritage and provide a clear framework in heritage conservation. File Photo
KUCHING: The new Sarawak Heritage Bill 2019, which was passed at the State Legislative Assembly this evening, will allow comprehensive protection and preservation of Sarawaks heritage.
The Bill, which repeals the Sarawak Cultural Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993, had introduced four new parts — Administration, Duties and Responsibilities of the Director, Underwater Heritage, and Enforcement.
These four elements, at present, are not covered in the existing Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance, 1993 (Cap. 6).
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah when tabling the Bill said the inclusion of these parts and certain new provisions widens the scope of heritage and provide a clear framework in heritage conservation.
He said under this Bill, there would be an establishment of a body to be known as Sarawak Heritage Council, which will advise the Government on matters of policy, strategy or plan of action to be taken relating to administration and management of heritage in Sarawak.
Also, a Fund to be known as Sarawak Heritage Trust Fund will be established to assist owners to do preservation works on heritage buildings or historical monuments or sites belonging to them through financial assistance.
“This Bill will enable the Sarawak Museum Department to exercise their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding the States heritage assets efficiently,” he said.
Abdul Karim said the provisions relating to underwater heritage was necessary to address the recent findings submerged in water bodies.
This provision, he noted, would guide the Director of Museum on such discoveries and, empower him to deal with underwater heritage.
He believed the coming to force of this Part will ensure that the underwater heritage within the territory of Sarawak will be safeguarded and preserved for the future generations of Sarawak.
Abdul Karim said the Bill, if passed, would also enable the director and enforcement officers so appointed, including police officer and customs officer to enforce the new Ordinance.
It will also empower the enforcement ocher, police officer and customs officer with the necessary provisions to enable them to carry out investigation, search, seizure and arrest of person alleged to have committed any offence under the new Ordinance.
“It will empower the police officers and the customs officer to assist in enforcing the new Ordinance as these authorities may be one of the first party to encounter with the detection of any offences under this Bill,” he said.
The Bill will also provides for provisions to make Rules to safeguard and protect the traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions of the communities in Sarawak as well as giving proper recognition to its owner or holder.
Abdul Karim said this will ensure the protection and preservation of this fragile heritage from dying and maintaining cultural diversity in the face of globalisation.
This Bill, he noted, restructured the process relating to the process of declaring, registering and publishing of Gazette relating to building, heritage site or historical site which has heritage significance.
He said the Bill will also revised and enhance the penalties to be imposed for the commission of the various offences under this Bill.
The penalty ranges from a fine not exceeding RM6,000 to not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for five years to 10 yars.
Abdul Karim said Sarawak must have a workable and updated heritage management system not only for protection but also to create awareness and instil care for the heritage.
“Sarawak is not only rich in natural resources but also rich in history and culture. Our heritage, our identity and our pride,” he said.