Government considering to let private sector run RWMF — Abang Johari

Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg

Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The state government plans to let the private sector organise the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) starting next year.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the matter is currently under study to determine whether the future organisation of RWMF would be a joint venture between Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and the private sector or purely an event organised by the private sector.

“We are looking into it. We will study first. This year, it is still (organised by) STB. We are looking into whether STB will join venture or to let it (RWMF) be 100 per cent run by the private sector and the government withdraws,” he told reporters after chairing the first State Tourism Task Force meeting here yesterday.

Abang Johari, who is also deputy chief minister, is in favour of the private sector organising the event.

“They can drive it and they got innovation. They know best (what the revellers want). We want the private sector to run it but they can make use of this brand.”

He explained that the approach taken by him in letting the private sector organise RWMF was similar to the approach taken by the state government in letting the private sector manage the national parks.

“It is just like the national parks where we asked the private sector to do it. If I’m still the minister, my principle is tourism must be private sector-led, not government-led. But the government will just facilitate as long as it is within what the government wants. So you work on that but the actual activity must be done by the private sector.”

In a related development, Abang Johari said Hong Kong Airlines had brought in a total of 1,256 visitors from May 28 to June 29 this year.

“On July 2 alone, the visitors who came into Kuching through their direct flight were 160 passengers and those who departed Kuching were 174 passengers which was a full load.

“Their load factor is over 80 per cent. They have (flight) bookings already up to April next year.”