Council plans setting up one craft market in every town, city in Sarawak

Sikie (second right) and Melia (second left) stop by at one of the booths during the handicraft sale carnival in Bintang Megamall.

MIRI: Sarawak Craft Council plans to set up a craft market at every town and city across the state, beginning next year.

According to Assistant Minister of Native Laws and Customs Datuk John Sikie Tayai, who is also the council’s chairman, this proposal is part of its efforts in assisting local handicraft artisans and entrepreneurs develop their trade.

“As a pilot project, probably we could hold a craft market once every two months. In this regard, we are seeking strong support from local craftsmen to make the craft market project a success,” he spoke at Sarawak Craft Council’s dinner gala at Meritz Hotel here on Sunday, where he attended with his wife Datin Melia Gelen.

Moreover, Sikie believed that the craft market would help spur the development of the handicraft trade as a major business activity.

On the five-day ‘Craft Sale’ run by the council at Bintang Megamall here, the assistant minister said the event gathered 60 handicraft artisans and entrepreneurs from across the state.

The handicraft fair kicked off last Thursday.

“Throughout the five days, we managed to record total sales of more than RM250,000 – above the initial target.

“I believe that the sales could have doubled had not the event coincided with the golden jubilee of Brunei Sultan’s ascension to the throne, celebrated by the Bruneians,” he pointed out.

Sikie also assured the sale carnival participants that the council would look for a more spacious place for them to promote their products further.

At the same time, he also encouraged them to continue upgrading their skills and knowledge in order to be more competitive in this industry and able to come up with highly marketable products.

On digital economy, Sikie said this would also include the handicraft makers and entrepreneurs, who must be open and accepting to changes and at the same time, be sensitive to customer’s requirements.

“Strive to be creative and innovative – only then could you show the uniqueness of your products and sell them at competitive prices,” he said.