Thursday, July 18

Raft safari to be an annual April affair

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LET’S RACE: Masing (front second left) sounds a horn to start the race at Rumah Ajai as Abit waves a flag.

KAPIT: The Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari will be permanently held every April from next year.

Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the event should be held consistently at the same time.

“We need to fix the date and the month for the international raft race to be held so as to attract more participation both locally and from outside,” he said when officiating at a dialogue at Rumah Ajai recently.

He pointed out that the change of date this year could be why the number of teams dropped from 41 last year to 27 this time round.

“Perhaps the decline in the number of participants could be due to the frequent changes of the date for the competition as they had prepared themselves for the competiti on that is expected to be held in April.

“The safari should have been carried out in April this year,  however  it  was postponed to July to give way to the state election. Unfortunately, the date was again postponed to September,” he said adding that  the  raft  safari  aims to promote Kapit as a tourism destination for nature, adventure and culture.

During the event, Masing also announced a grant of RM5,000 for the Rumah Ajai women’s bureau.

Meanwhile, when officiating at the second transit point of  the raft race at Rumah Anding, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo said the competition had helped foster closer ties among participants and longhouse communities.

“We are also able to expose our local culture to the outside world. In the past, rafts were one of the main modes of transport here, however with the introduction of modern technology, rafts were replaced with modern modes of transport,” he said.

Abit added that this transformation was due to the government’s commitment towards the people, especially in the rural areas.

He announced a grant of RM20,000 for the Rumah Anding village security and development committee (JKKK) and RM5,000 for the construction of a bridge to the longhouse.

Abit also announced grants of RM5,000 each for several longhouses nearby.