Wednesday, March 29

Abdul Karim: Rainforest World Music Festival, Spartan Race, others postponed in light of Covid-19 developments (Video)


All major events tourism and sports events scheduled to be held in the state have been placed on the back-burner in light of the recent developments surrounding the spread of Covid-19 in the state, Abdul Karim (second left) said.

KUCHING: All major tourism, sports and youth-related events in Sarawak have been postponed after the state confirmed three Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) cases, said Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

Among the events are the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) expected in July and the Spartan Race 2020 in April.

Abdul Karim said at least 30 other business events were postponed.

These events include the 10th Borneo Dental Congress and 11th Malaysian Dental Association Eastern Zone Annual General Meeting 2020 fixed for the end of the month, the 58th Multiple District 308 Lions Convention 2020 involving 2,000 delegates scheduled to be held in Sibu next month, Malaysian Hospice Council Congress 2020, Men’s Health World Congress 2020 and Pustaka International Knowledge Conference 2020.

Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Youth and Sports, said both the ministries had to adhere to the advisory (guidelines) issued by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee earlier today in light of the three confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sarawak.

Video by Roy Emmor

“The State Disaster Management Committee has come up with an advisory statement, that all events organised by the government involving more than 250 participants must be postponed.

“Both my ministries have several events to be held within the next few months, but we have to abide by this directive. So events will be postponed until further notice.

“They (events) will not be cancelled and the organising committee will mobilise them until the situation gets better. We hope the Covid-19 situation will subside within one or two months. If this is it, and if the organising committee (concerned) is prepared then (events will) go on,” he told a press conference at his office at Bangunan Baitulmakmur in Petra Jaya here yesterday.

Abdul Karim said “this difficult decision has to be made as public health is our top priority during this global pandemic”.

“I just hope that it will stay at three (confirmed cases). For the Spartan Race this year, there are two of them and the obstacles are already in Kuching.

“It’s just unfortunate that we have to abide by the advisory by the State Disaster Management Committee. Even the World Spartan Champion was expected to fly in all the way from the United States,” he said.

Abdul Karim said it made him feel sad that the major events lined up for the year had to be postponed given that public interest is of utmost importance.

He explained that he announced on Thursday that RWMF 2020 would be carried out as scheduled because at the time of the announcement, the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee had not issued the advisory.

“The directive was not there yesterday (Thursday), so I announced that it (RWMF 2020) would still proceed.”

He said both his ministries would closely monitor the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak to decide later whether or not some events could be organised as scheduled.

According to him, the sale of RWMF 2020 tickets has not begun but the signing of the agreement and memorandum of understanding have already taken place.

Because of this, he said even if the RWMF 2020 could not be held this year, it could be held next year.

“I just hope that after one month or so, things change for the better. My ministry will later compile the list of events to be postponed,” he added.