Malaysia is committed to developing and promoting underwater tourism as well as conserving underwater cultural heritage, said Dato Sri Nancy Shukri.
The Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister said this is part of the country’s initiative to introduce new activities in tourism.
“Some people like diving and they also enjoy seeing the corals underwater. We are increasing this kind of activities for the country so that those who love underwater activities could enjoy other products of tourism put up for them.
“Like in Pulau Pasir, Langkawi, we have created underwater sculpture series. We hope that one day in Santubong, we have something like that,” she told a media conference after opening the 23rd Asean Sub-Committee on Culture Meeting and the 11th Asean Plus Three Cultural Cooperation Network Meeting here today.According to Nancy, the meetings were being held in Sarawak for the first time.
She said the two-day meetings, involving 20 delegates from Asean member states, would promote the exchange of ideas and experiences in the cultural space.
In her speech, Nancy said her ministry, in collaboration with the National Heritage Department and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, had successfully launched the first Asean Underwater Mini Landmark (AUMiL) in conjunction with the Asean Seminar on Preservation and Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2021.
She said the AUMiL will continue to be developed as a sustainable cultural tourism product in Malaysia to benefit the local community.
“Besides promoting efforts to conserve and preserve the underwater cultural heritage, it will foster greater cultural appreciation amongst the Asean people,” she added.
Pointing out that the Asean region is home to over 600 million people, Nancy said this underscores the significance of Asean and what member states can do to further their region’s cultural heritage.
She said her ministry would uphold Malaysia’s culture, arts, and heritage at national and international levels.
To showcase the country’s rich cultural diversity, she said her ministry had organised an exhibition on the traditional costumes of major ethnic groups as well as promoted exclusive Malaysian signature handicraft products at Malaysian embassies and cultural institutions abroad.
“Folk dancing is a key aspect of intangible cultural heritage that often reflects the sociocultural and political influences prevailing in different periods and nations.
“We are excited to revitalise and promote our signature dance called ‘Joget Malaysia’. Rest assured that each and every one of you will be introduced to our Joget dance during your stay here,” she added.
Nancy also noted that Malaysia had been elected as a member of the Unesco Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage for the term 2022-2026.
“Malaysia is committed to promoting the cultural heritage sector as it remains an engine for economic growth and regional pride.
“We will also fully support any future projects and programmes that celebrate Asean’s rich cultural diversity and heritage,” she said.