PETALING JAYA: The Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan Days that are largely celebrated in Sarawak and Sabah every year are now also celebrated by the Borneo people in Peninsular Malaysia.
Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chief Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor said both celebrations were celebrated by the Sabah and Sarawak indigenous people to mark the end of the harvesting season.
He said the Kaamatan and Dayak Gawai fests are very important and significant for the indigenous communities in both states because these are part of their cultural heritage passed down from their ancestors.
“Presently the Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan fests are also celebrated by sons and daughters of Borneo in the Peninsular, especially in Selangor area where there are many Sabahans and Sarawakians working and living there,” he said when officiating the closing of the Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan Day 2019 held at Dewan D’ Kelana here on Saturday.
The event was joimtly organised by Minority Rights Action Party (Mira) and Persatuan Anak Borneo Semenanjung (PABS), themed “Unity in Diversity”.
Present were Sabah Bersatu treasurer Datuk Haji Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif, who is also Membakut assemblyman, Klias assemblyman Datuk Isnin Haji Aliasnih, Lumadan
assemblyman Matbali Musah,
MIRA secretary-general Kannan Ramasamy, PABS president Rosalind Khamis, Sabah Mira chairman Devendran Karpudewir, organising chairperson Serit Banyan and presidents of Borneo and Peninsular NGOs.
Hajiji, who is also Sulaman assemblyman, said Kaamatan and Dayak Gawai festivals are also recognised and popular internationally through their cultural dance troupes, cultural art associations and non-governmental organisations who do performances outside the country.
“Both the Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan have been internationalised and these celebrations strengthen the existing relationship between various ethnics and races in Borneo especially, and Malaysia in general.
“Both celebrations are not only celebrated as a thanksgiving day for the indigenous community specially the Kadazan, Dusun, Murut, Rungus, Lotud, Dayak and Iban, but also the best medium for strengthening unity among people of various races,” he said.
He said this is because both the celebrations gathered people of various races, and thus matched the aspiration to further strengthen unity among the people.
Therefore, he said the people of Sabah and Sarawak should make these celebrations as an event for displaying the spirit of collaboration between various races, to continue achieving progress and development.
“The Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan are celebrations that uplift the identities of the indigenous community in Borneo, and it is very important for us to celebrate unity that become the core of our effort to achieve a continuous progress,” he said.
Hajiji also reminded the sons and daughters of Borneo in the Peninsular to always take care of the good names of Sabah and Sarawak, and not to get involved in unlawful elements besides to respect and care about the sensitivities of other races and ethnics.
He also praised the initiative and noble effort of MIRA and PABS, for the success in organising the Dayak Gawai and Kaamatan 2019 and in helping to showcase and promote the cultures of the Borneo people in the Peninsular.