21 July 2002

Silat may be made a tourism product, says Kadir

IPOH, July 21 (Bernama) -- The Culture, Arts and Tourism Ministry will cooperate with the Ministry of Youth and Sports to revive the silat, the Malay art of self-defence, in every village to promote it as a tourism product.

Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said the move was necessary as it appeared that silat was on the verge of extinction whilst it is a Malay heritage which must be nurtured and preserved.

He said silat was a recreational and healthy activity which could be used to mould a Malaysian race through the participation of the Chinese and Indians just like the Malays learnt taekwondo or silambam, the Indian martial arts.

"Silat, besides serving as a tourists lure, it can also help youths to distance themselves from social ills like loafing and drug addiction," he told reporters after receiving the "Sandang Kebesaran Pertubuhan Seni Silat Gayong Warisan Serantau Malaysia Negeri Perak Award" here today.

The award was conferred by Perak Customs Board Iman Khalifah Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Shaari.

Kadir also said his ministry was preparing a Cabinet paper on the "Friendly Malaysia" integrated campaign to improve tourism facilities and services in the country.

He said a study on the campaign is expected to be completed at the latest by October after taking into account the views of various quarters, including government departments and agencies.

Among the participating ministries are Youth and Sports, Housing and Local Government and Education as well as the Tourist Police, Immigration Department and Royal Customs Department, he said.

Kadir said the national-level campaign aimed at creating a courteous, clean and efficient society was initiated after the government was concerned over the quality of tourism products in the country.

"To start with, I'll meet the chief executives of hotel managements from throughout the country at the end of this month to convey the message on the need to improve service quality," he said.

Kadir also said Malaysia was enjoying a surge in tourist arrivals despite a decline in the first six months as compared to the same period last year.

Between March and last month, more than a million tourists came to the country every month, he said.

"This is an encouraging development although Malaysia has still not fully recovered from the aftermath of last year's Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington," he added.

Sourced from http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-26467529_ITM

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