Friday, 15th February, 2002
Antiquities For Labuan History Museum
By Sohan Das

Labuan: The Labuan History Museum is facing an uphill task in stuffing its premises with interesting local antiquities and artefacts "because many who have the items of interest are either reluctant to sell them or asking a high price."

Director of the Museum, Mohad Shawali Badi, said this when asked on what was holding back the museum from opening to the public.

"The main feature of the museum is to display items in a chronological manner from the time before the arrival of the British, the last century, to the era of the British, World War II, rule of the islands as Pulau Victoria and after Independence and Labuan became a Federal Territory in 1984," he said.

He said the museum had so far collected only about 50 per cent of the targeted quantity. "This is what bothers us as when we open the museum we want it to be impressive and make an impact so that visitors can enjoy their time," he added.

Shawali hoped the people here or outside the island would consider the importance of the museum and be reasonable in contributing historically valuable items.

He said whatever is given to the museum would remain on the island for the future generations.

"To make the museum a crowd puller , we need co-operation from all. We are willing to pay for some items but we cannot pay a lot. After all, whatever is acquired is not for resale but for display."

The colonial style former building which once served as the District Office had been refurbished for use by the museum.

The exact plans for the adjacent vacant Post Office is not known yet.

Labuan Corporation had wanted it to be used as a handicraft centre but there has been no development of it yet.

While the other building in the compound - the vacant Magistrate's Court - was planned to serve as National Archives, there has also been no progress in this plan.

As for the proposed Labuan Marine Museum at the Water Sports Complex, Shawali said it would likely be ready by next month.

He said the Marine Museum would also have an aquarium "and presently we are waiting for the livestock."