Iconic landmark, symbol of unity


KUCHING: Wisma Melayu Sarawak (WMS) will be an iconic landmark here as well as a symbol of solidarity for Malays in Sarawak.

Naroden Majais

Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais said the centre would also symbolise the identity, spirit and unity of a plural society.

With the earth-breaking ceremony for WMS in Petra Jaya here today, he said the late former chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem’s dream for the Sarawak Malay Cultural Foundation Charitable Trust (AKYBMS) to have its own building would become a reality.

“WMS will stand majestically once its construction is completed in 24 months,” he said when speaking at the earth-breaking ceremony.

Naroden, who is also AKYBMS deputy chairman, said the design of the AKYBMS-owned building would be based on the concept of the Malay tengkolok (traditional Malay male headgear).

He said the centre would comprise two levels, with a 290-space car park at the lower level and a function area at the upper level.

“This function area will include a convention main hall with a capacity of 2,000 people, three seminar and meeting rooms, a Malay cultural arts gallery, an exhibition area, management offices, a surau for 100 jemaah (Muslim worshippers), and a Samarinduk recreational landscape garden surrounded by existing mature cempedak (a type of jackfruit) trees,” he said.

The building will be constructed on a 6.5-acre piece of land.

The first phase of WMS is expected to cost under RM50 million.

Abang Johari (left) with Awang Tengah (on Abang Johari’s left) being briefed on the interior of WMS by PU Architects Sdn Bhd director Rudy Azli Othman (right). Photos: Ramidi Subari

At the same time, Naroden, on behalf of AKYBMS, urged the public including corporate bodies to contribute financially or in kind to ensure WMS could be constructed smoothly.

“If we have the budget, AKYBMS has plans for a second phase which would involve components such as a ten-storey office space for rent, a hotel or budget hostel, shophouses, restaurants, sports and recreational facilities and others,” he said.

Touching on AKYBMS’ current facilities, he said the Foundation is currently occupying the government’s old quarters at Rodway Road.

“(Adenan) also had a dream that WMS will provide office space and a venue for Malay community activities and for the use of other communities such as holding conferences and official state, national and international ceremonies,” he said.

Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar, Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip and other dignitaries.

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