MoU inked to preserve art of songket weaving


KUCHING: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the preservation of Sarawak Malay songket has been inked.

The MoU was signed between Sarawak Government Heritage and Malaysia Prisons Department to form a strategic collaboration under the Old Kuching Smart Heritage Project-Puncak Borneo Prison.

Juma’ani trying her hand at songket weaving. Photo: Chief Minister’s Office (CMO)

Deputy State Secretary (Performance Transformation and Service Delivery) Datuk Dr Sabariah Putit represented the Sarawak government while Commissioner General of Prisons Datuk Nordin Muhamad represented the federal government.

The ceremony took place at the Sri Kenyalang auditorium, Sarawak Prisons Director Office, on Wednesday (Jan 26).

Also present was Datuk Amar Puan Sri Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, the patron of the Sarawak Heritage Innovation Project: Songket and Keringkam.

Old Kuching Smart Heritage (OKSHE) hoped the project would be able to produce more skilled weavers.

“This project can bring Sarawak weaving to the world stage through large-scale production, branding, packaging and effective marketing.

“We also hope for smart collaborations between manufacturers, researchers, marketers and government agencies in promoting the songket weaving industry.”

Juma’ani being briefed by one of the prison officers on the songket weaving process. Photo: Chief Minister’s Office (CMO)

OKSHE through the state government and collaboration with the Malaysian Prisons Department will develop a new songket workshop at Puncak Borneo Prison on a 2.5 acre land to be implemented by the Public Works Department (JKR).

With 100 weaving houses at the workshop, a large number of quality songket can be produced and provide opportunities to inmates to apply skills as well as generate their own income after their sentences and rehabilitation at Puncak Borneo Prison.

“CENTEXS Commercial Services Sdn. Bhd. (CCS) is also collaborating with us to commercialise and promote out our Sarapride songket cloth at the Songket and Keringkam Gallery.

“They are also helping us to expand our sales through the use of digital platform.”

Also present were Prisons Department Sarawak director Mohammad Rosidek Musa, Puncak Borneo Prison director Hamdan Salleh Majin, Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) deputy chief scientist and deputy chief advisor Prof Ts Ir Al-Khalid Othman and OKSHE Special Projects officer Khuzaimah Othman.

Songket clothing on display. Photo: Chief Minister’s Office (CMO)

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