Thursday, August 22

20,000 visitors expected at Mukah Kaul Fest

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Dr Leo Toyad (seated, second right) shows the Mukah Kaul Festival 2014 logo. Aidan is seated second left and Wahab Dollah seated right.

KUCHING: A flurry of preparations is underway for the forthcoming annual Mukah Kaul Festival, which is expected to attract at least 20,000 visitors this year.

Sarawak Melanau Associations Federation president Dato Sri Dr Muhammad Leo Toyad said the festival, which would be held from April 25 to 30, would focus on the vast transformation of Mukah over the past 50 years.

“This is a special year as the state celebrates its 50th anniversary. The festival will highlight the immense developments that have changed Mukah in all aspects, especially in education, infrastructure, economy and the industries,” he told a press conference after chairing the Melanau Association meeting here yesterday.

The festival, he added, was into its 13th edition this year and it was also aimed at showing the richness of the Melanau cultures, arts and heritage.

The Mukah Kaul Festival 2014 logo is expected to be launched on April 12, and Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem is scheduled to launch the festival on April 26.

“We invite all the communities in Sarawak and other visitors, both domestic and international, to join us in this colourful celebration.”

Dr Leo Toyad said in past years the number of foreign tourists attending the festival was insignificant.

“There’s a lack of foreign travellers to Mukah mainly due to accessibility problems.

“But now that civil work has begun for a new airport, we hope to see more foreign tourists coming into Mukah in the near future.”

Dr Leo Toyad believed the airport, which the people had clamoured for the past eight years, would give tourism in Mukah a shot in the arm.

“We are also expecting to see several areas of cultural interests to be developed in Mukah as announced recently by the Tourism Minister.”

Meanwhile, Kaul is a traditional festival celebrated by the Melanau community along the coast of Sarawak.

In the past, it was looked upon as a religious ceremony to appease the spirits of the sea, land, forest and farm, making it as the most important festival of the Melanau year.

“Today, the festival has been the identity of Mukah and the event has been put on the Sarawak’s Tourism Calendar, making it one of the attractions for the state.”

The festival will continue to showcase all the traditional practices of the Melanaus, including games, rituals and customs.

Dr Leo Toyad said youth activities would also be held to enliven the atmosphere.

Other activities for the six-day festival include cultural show, Melanau cooking competition, line dance competition, Zumba fitness, Raja Pasir, mini skateboard competition and Melanau costumes fashion competition.

Also present at the press conference were Igan MP Datuk Abdul Wahab Dollah and Kuching Melanau Association president Datuk Aidan Wing.