KAPIT: Thirty-six teams will display their prowess at the 20th Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari this weekend.
The two-day spectacle, which was introduced in 1996, is divided into five main categories: Men’s Bamboo Open, Men’s Bamboo Closed (Inter Department), Women Bamboo Open, Freestyle, and Paddle Boat.
Kapit Resident Fedrick John George, who is also the event organising chairman, told reporters after chairing the final committee meeting recently that there were also 36 teams last year.
Of these 36 teams taking part this year, four would be taking part in the Men’s Bamboo Open, 17 in the Men’s Closed, four teams in the Women Bamboo Open, eight in the Freestyle, and three in the Paddle Boat.
Some of the teams are from Sibu, Kuching, Bintulu, Ngemah, Machan and Tamin. The 9th Brigade Malaysian Infantry is also joining in the fun.
“As far as tourism is concerned, we have to make this event a success; and for that to happen, we must work as a team,” Fedrick said.
To make the event more interesting, he said a powerboat competition had been thrown into the mix as a side activity. The competition is organised by Kapit Division Powerboat Association and it would feature about 80 boats from Brunei, Limbang, Bintulu, Sarikei, Belaga, Song, Dalat, Baram and Sibu.
Other side activities include a ‘puakumbu’ and handicraft competitions at Fort Sylvia Kapit (organised by Sarakup Indu Dayak Sarawak (SIDS) Kapit branch) and the Sarawak Cergas event involving some 500 locals at Kapit Town Square (organised by the Social Development Office), karaoke singing competition, battle of the band, and a big bike road show.
The first flag-off point for this year’s Baleh-Kapit Raft Safari is at the 15-door Rumah Alan at Sungai Sekeroh, Oyan – a tributary of Mujong River, while the second one would be at the 20-door Rumah Weng at Nanga Sempurau, Sungai Mujong.
Prize monies totalling RM45,900 and trophies are up for grab in this year’s raft safari.
For the Men’s Bamboo Open and Paddle Boat categories, the winner will bring home RM3,000 and trophy. Second place winner gets RM2,500, third placing (RM1,500), fourth placing (RM800), fifth placing (RM700), sixth placing (RM600), and seventh to 10th placing (RM500 each).
For the Men Bamboo Closed, Freestyle and the Women Open categories, the champion will get RM2,000 and trophy, first runner-up (RM1,500), second runner-up (RM1,000), fourth placing (RM700), fifth placing (RM600), sixth placing (RM500), and seventh to 10th placing (RM400 each).
The prize for the Best Decorated Raft will be announced later.
The raft safari is a major tourism event in Kapit, and it is organised by the Kapit Resident’s Office in collaboration with the Kapit Tourism Task Group. It has the support of Tourism and Heritage Sarawak, Sarawak Tourism Board, Ministry of Social Development, and Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board.