SIPITANG: An arch will welcome visitors arriving for the four-day Sipitang Top-spinning and Grand Bazaar Festival (Sipitang Gata) starting Thursday at the Sipitang Esplanade here.
Erected by Sabah Land Development Board, a government-linked company, the arch will lend a festive air as visitors descend on the RM10 million esplanade.
Thanking SLDB for its support, Sipitang Gata main committee chairman Datuk Sapawi Ahmad said the arch would create an iconic identity for the Sipitang District on the border of Sabah, Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak.
He hoped more government-linked and private companies would emulate the corporate social responsibility efforts of SLDB that delivered measurable benefits to the people and community.
Sapawi, who is also Member of Parliament for Sipitang, said the esplanade and the arch, which were completed early this year, were part of efforts to make the town more exciting to visitors.
“The esplanade is one of the projects carried out by the government in Sipitang to improve the people’s well-being, prosperity, good feeling and harmony in line with the aspirations of the 1Malaysia concept,” he told Bernama yesterday.
Sapawi said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was scheduled to launch the fifth Gata Festival after opening the Sipitang Esplanade on Thursday.
The prime minister will also hand over the arch to the Sipitang District Council, said Sapawi.
He said Najib would later be feted to a satay feast with the people at the esplanade.
Sapawi said the biennial Gata Festival, which was aimed at forging unity among the people through cultural activities, was expected to attract about 10,000 visitors, including from Sarawak and Brunei.
Among events lined-up for the occasion are cultural performances from various ethnic groups, a tug-of-war contest, and a top-spinning competition involving 15 teams from Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore, he said.
Meanwhile, SLDB general manager Jhuvarri Majid said besides erecting the arch, SLDB had also built the replica of a top at Jalan Pantai, Sipitang and both structures would be landmarks of the town.
SLDB is also participating in an exhibition in conjunction with the festival where it will display its achievements on poverty eradication in Sabah through agricultural projects such as padi cultivation and agropolitan projects, he added. – Bernama