New museum will be latest tourist attraction and add value to Sri Aman, says Abd Karim

Abdul Karim (first from right) accompanies Taib as they make their way to the main stage at the Sri Aman Waterfront, the venue for Pesta Benak. – Photo by Peneragan

SRI AMAN (September 12): The Sri Aman Museum which commemorates the declaration of peace between the government and the communists will be the latest tourist product in Simanggang town, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has said.

The Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts has revealed that the museum will be located in the former government rest house where the historic treaty agreement was signed.

“The former government rest house in the town of Simanggang is being restored to be converted into the Sri Aman Museum. Next year (2023) will be the 50th anniversary of the Sri Aman treaty agreement that took place in this building.

“The Sarawak Museum Department and my ministry are trying to complete the restoration work in time for the launch of the museum next year,” he said as he closed 2022 Pesta Benak at the Waterfront here yesterday.

The museum, among other things, will provide a window into life during the days before the declaration of peace and how the name of the Simanggang Division was changed to the Sri Aman Division to mean peace or “aman” in Malay, a he declared.

“In the days before the treaty was agreed, it was difficult to travel from Kuching to Simanggang due to curfews, and people worried about their safety,” he added.

He believed that the establishment of the new museum would benefit the people of Sri Aman and Simanggang, in particular, as well as the younger generation to have a better understanding of the state’s history.

“In the years to come, visitors coming to Simanggang will not only be here to see the ‘benak’ (massacre) but also for its other tourism products,” Abdul Karim said.

Meanwhile, he called on district councils and offices across Sarawak to identify potential tourism products in their respective regions for the attention of his ministry.

The closing ceremony of Pesta Benak yesterday was honored by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Keith P. Plain