Abdul Karim (sixth right), Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Native Laws and Customs) Datuk John Sikie Tayai (seventh right) and others give the thumbs up at the launch of Sarawak Crafts Council office.

KUCHING: Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MTAC) is proposing a Sarawak Craft Council Ordinance as a legal framework for the development of crafts.

Its minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the ordinance would establish a more effective and structured body to plan and develop the craft industry in Sarawak.

“The Sarawak Craft Council (SCC) was formed under the Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri (MMKN). The council needs a legal framework and this is very critical.

“My ministry and the SCC are working closely with the State Attorney General chamber to come up with the Sarawak Craft Council Bill and we hope to table it in the Dewan Undangan Negeri sitting at the end of the year,” he said when officiating the SCC office here today.

Abdul Karim said MTAC was planning a purpose-built Sarawak Handicraft Centre in Kuching under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) as a souvenir centre for authentic Sarawak craft products.

“It will also include spaces for capacity building activities, reference centre and modular spaces to create awareness, interest and encourage creativity in handicrafts.

“These centres will serve as arts, cultural and creative centres and will not only become part of the visitors’ destination but will also be a platform for capacity building and entrepreneurship development of the local craft communities.”

The Asajaya assemblyman said to ensure talent and skill development to sustain the industry, capacity building programmes would be revamped to increase the number of producers and quality products.

“Sarawak Craft Council is training about 200 producers annually in production and business skills.

“By 2030, we hope to increase the number of highly skilled active producers from the current 1,000 to 2,000 and a sales target of RM32 million in 2019 to RM80 million in 2030.”