Kuching Fest symbolises Sarawak’s diverse society, culture – Mayor

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(Front, from left) Chan accompanies Taib, Uggah and Dr Sim upon their arrival at MBKS. Here, a lion dance performance greets the dignitaries. — Photo by Kong JL

KUCHING: The annual Kuching Festival kicked off with a bang on Friday night, with colourful fireworks illuminating the sky over Kuching South City Council (MBKS) garden and its community hall jam-packed with people.

The carnivalesque feel could be felt, even amidst the hot and stuffy weather.

In his remarks, Kuching South Mayor Dato James Chan revealed that last year’s festival attracted 800,000 visitors throughout its three-week celebration.

“Besides being a festive occasion, Kuching Festival is a grand community-based event – it is held to strengthen cohesion among members of the community. It is a place where people gather to enjoy a wide array of food and a variety of activities – from cultural ones to sports,” he told reporters after the official opening ceremony.

Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib; Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and his wife Datin Amar Doreen Mayang; State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar; Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and his wife Datin Enn Ong; Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah; and Assistant

Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali were the dignitaries at the event.

Addign on, Chan – who attended the ceremony with his wife Datin Catherine Sng – also viewed Kuching Festival as ‘the embodiment of the uniqueness of Sarawak’s multicultural and multiracial society’.

“Undoubtedly, it has become one of the major annual highlights for Kuching City and a good tourist attraction for Sarawak.”

Chan also pointed that Kuching attained its ‘City of Unity in Diversity’ due to the dedication and commitment of many extraordinary leaders such as Taib, the late fifth chief minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and now the present Chief minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“Because of them (leaders), we have a fantastic, liveable city that we call home,” he said, also calling for greater participation from all Kuchingites to ensure a healthy, liveable and economically-vibrant city for them and the future generations.

“It takes two hands to clap. MBKS cannot work alone – the people of Kuching must work together and cooperate with the MBKS and DBKU (Kuching North City Commission) to continue developing Kuching and bringing the city to greater heights.

“Kuching City belongs to all of us – it is our responsibility to make sure that good things would happen,” he said.

Kuching North Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai and Kuching South deputy mayor Hilmy Othman were also present.>The annual festival hosts many activities – perhaps, the favourite among many visitors is the food bazaar.