Monday, August 3

Kapit comes alive with water-themed fiesta


CROWD PULLER: A large crowd of people throng the Kapit water front to watch the home stretch of the raft safari.

KAPIT: Once again this sleepy town has come alive with the annual crowd-pullers –  Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari, Power Boat Races, Kayak 1Malaysia races, and a mini-carnival.

The town has been beaming at its seams the past couple of days with people from nearby longhouses who were eager to witness the potpourri of colourful and exhilarating events which started last Thursday and ends today. Yesterday being a public holiday — official birthday of the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin, also gave the crowd size a shot in the arm.

The raft safari, which took place on the Baleh and Rajang Rivers, was a two-day spectacle over an arduous distance of 60km. It started on Friday with Rumah Ajai in Nanga Senuang, Sungai Majau as the starting point and Rumah Anding in Nanga Sepuna, Mujong, as the ‘transit’ point (a distance of 40km). Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Masing flagged off the race which ended at Rumah Anding for day one.

Yesterday, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo flagged off the second day of the raft safari at Rumah Anding, which is some 20km from the finishing point at Kapit Wharf.

Deputy Minister of Tourism Datuk James Mamit will officiate at the power boat races today at the Kapit Waterfront, while the Kayak 1Malaysia event is left to Assistant Minister of Tourism and Heritage Datuk Mong Dagang.

The mini carnival, which was centred at the Town Square from last Thursday till today was officiated at by Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi.  Among the highlights of the carnival were children singing competition for kids aged 12 years and below, karaoke contest, ‘live band’ presentation, safari beauty pageant, traditional sports, exhibition booths, ‘pua kumbu’ competitions, beadworks, handicrafts and sale of traditionally-baked cakes.

These annual event are jointly organised by Kapit Division Tourism Task Group , Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, Sarawak Tourism Board , Ministry of Tourism, and Malaysian Tourism and Promotion Board.

The raft safari, which was first held in 1996,  has always been more than a mere test of endurance and navigational skills.

It is an event where all participants get to be close to Mother Nature and have fun with each other.

It is also looked upon by many as a platform for local residents to popularise one of their most important means of communication to the outside world.

Because of the scenic beauty of the riverbanks and rivers it passed through, the tourism authorities had always been forthcoming to polish its tourism potential of the raft safari.

Organising chairman Dahim Nadot, who is also Kapit Resident, told thesundaypost that 26 teams participated in this year’s raft safari, which was divided into the following categories – men and women open, inter-department/club, tourism/mass media, individual men and women.

He added that the prize giving ceremony would be held at the Town Square.