Monday, 27 July 2009, Kuching – With the signing of plaques by Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, the Malay Rulers or their representatives and the Heads of State, and the pressing of a button to begin a special multi-media of the building’s construction, Sarawak’s latest and most impressive icon, the new State Legislative Assembly or Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Sarawak building was declared officially open this morning.
Bathed in a shower of pink hues with ethnic patterned white light designs, the new DUN Sarawak building’s high atrium ceiling of 9 soaring arches upholding the Chambers above signifying the support of Sarawak’s multi-ethnic people for the State’s democratic system was a magnificent sight to behold.
And so the journey to design and construct the new DUN Sarawak building is finally complete. From the ground-breaking ceremony held in September 2004, to site-clearing and leveling, piling, followed by numerous engineering challenges faced in constructing the massive building complex filled with elaborate and intricate designs, the main project developers, PPES Works and Naim Cendera, could finally breathe a sigh of relief that their task was complete.
The official hand-over to the Government of the RM300 million building by the joint-venture main project developers was carried out at the end of May 2009.
In his speech at the building’s official opening, Sarawak Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud said, “Sarawak’s own political personality, culture, traditions and development has clearly proved an evolutionary development of the parliament in Sarawak . The struggles and achievements of these many ethnic groups and cultures to unite in harmony are depicted in this building’s design.”
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A symbol of the people’s sovereignty, the new DUN Sarawak building, sited majestically on the north bank of the Sarawak River has a capacity and facilities to support up to 108 members. The former DUN building, built in 1976 could accommodate only 48 members, far short of the current 71 members of the State Legislative Assembly.
Designed in the shape of a 9-pointed star, the new DUN Sarawak building’s 9 floors is capped by a striking golden ‘payung negara’ roof. The lower floors of the building houses offices for the State Legislative Assembly members, function halls, meeting rooms, an auditorium and a surau. The DUN Chamber is located on level 8 of the building, with public viewing galleries on level 9 and a DUN members’ lounge on level 7.
Two books on DUN Sarawak were presented to guests at the official opening. The first, ‘Change & Continuity’ written by the Speaker of DUN Sarawak, Dato Sri Mohammad Asfia Awang Nassar, documents the history of DUN Sarawak . The first meeting was convened in 1867, making Sarawak ‘s legislature the oldest in the country.
The second book presented to guests was a project coordinated by Cahya Mata Sarawak for PPES Works and Naim Cendera. Entitled ‘The New DUN Sarawak Building – Symbol of the People’s Sovereignty’, the 88-page coffee table book seeks to document the inspiration, aspiration and construction of Sarawak ‘s icon.