Think safety when ‘cleansing’ on New Year’s Eve – police

KOTA KINABALU: City police chief Assistant Commissioner Jauteh Dikun has advised the public to pay attention to their safety and those under their care when bathing in the sea this New Year’s Eve.

It has been a long superstitious tradition for many people around the world to bathe in the sea at the very last night of every new year, supposedly to rid themselves of bad luck in the coming new year.

He said this cleansing ritual, known as ‘buang sial’ among the locals, is a big part of the celebration to welcome January 1.

With tens of thousands of people flocking the beaches and a large number of them eagerly taking into the water in the New Year celebration frenzy, there is always a chance that accidents or something bad may happen.

“Some people in the city do believe in this while others simply want to be there and swim in the overcrowded beach just for the fun of it. Whatever their reasons to be out on the beach and especially in the water, safety awareness is important,” he said.

To ensure public order and security, Jauteh said the police would be on high alert and would constantly patrol all hotspot areas where the public will converge on New Year’s Eve, specially along the Tanjung Aru and Teluk Likas beaches.

“We cannot stop the public from ‘buang sial’, as it involves the belief of certain communities, but we hope they will not be too excited and ignore safety and put themselves and others in danger,” he added.

Jauteh also warned beachgoers to adhere to the law and not engage in indecent or vulgar displays that may be deemed offensive or inappropriate in public.

He said activities that are criminal or may lead to criminal acts must be avoided, such as excessive consumption of alcohol, drunk driving, brawling, illegal racing and so on.

He added that traffic congestion is to be expected during the night and advised motorists to carpool and make sure their vehicles were parked properly.

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