KOTA KINABALU: A major event to feature the cultural heritages of Sabah and Sarawak is scheduled to give the national capital a taste of Borneo’s merry month of May for the first time this year.
The inaugural event, called the Malaysia Borneo Cultural Festival, jointly organized by the Sabah Cultural and Heritage Association (based in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor), the Panggau Sungai Events (for Sarawak culture) and the well-known international fashion designer Von Jolly Couture.
The organizing committee’s communication director, Dr Azlina Ekat, announcing the major event in a press release here said that the collaboration is also extended to tourism industrial players such as hoteliers, entrepreneurs, transporters, tourist guide bodies and others.
“This event in aid of the Ar-Rahman Foundation, a foundation endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Department, is dedicated to assisting the less fortunate, including single mothers and orphans,” Ekat said.
“With the theme ‘Bridging Cultures and Traditions’, under the endorsement of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, the event aims to build unity, understanding and strong bond between Malaysians in line with the 1Malaysia concept,” she said.
Dr Azalina added Kuala Lumpur had been chosen as the venue due to its strategic location, being within Klang Valley, for easy access by Peninsular Malaysians as well as international tourists.
Tentatively it will be held on May 7 to 10 and is expected to be graced by the attendance of the Minister of Tourism and Culture, along with the Sabah and Sarawak tourism and cultural dignitaries, as well as dignitaries from various local communities.
“We intend this festival as a prelude of the May to June Gawai and Kaamatan Festivals in Sabah and Sarawak respectively. It is a four-day celebration of arts including crafts, costumes, dances and songs and of Sabah and Sarawak,” Dr Azalina explained.
“But to kick start towards the penultimate KL event, roadshows and auditions will be held in Miri (March 1 to 2), Sandakan (March 8 to 9); Kota Kinabalu (March 15 to 16); Kuching (March 22 to 23), Georgetown (March 29 to 30); Johor Bharu (April 5 to 6) and Kuala Lumpur (April 12 to 13).
“The objectives of this event, among others, are to build unity, understanding and a stronger bond between Malaysians in line with the 1Malaysia concept; to enhance tourism attraction in conjunction with the country’s Visit Malaysia Year 2014 programs; to provide an opportunity for the tourists who do not extend their visits to East Malaysia to witness, enjoy and gain greater understanding and appreciation of the rich diversity cultural heritages of Malaysian Borneo which are very different from the Peninsular cultural heritages; and thus to promote Sabah and Sarawak as golden tourism destinations for future tourists,” she added.
Dr Azalina said that the unique cultural festival would also be a perfect platform and avenue for the promotion and wider coverage for networking, partnership and marketing purposes for tourism operators using the now famous tagline “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”.
“We the organizers are very excited with the potentials of this new brand of cultural festival, and we cordially invite all — locals and tourists — to come and participate in the celebration,” she said.