Sikie: Number of visitors to Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2024 doubles last year’s edition

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Sikie (front row, third left) witnesses the the Iban Dayak customary ritual to welcome him, while Henry (front row, left) looks on. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (May 23): The number of visitors to the Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2024 at MJC Batu Kawa New Township has doubled as compared to last year’s event over the same period of time, said Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk John Sikie Tayai.

He hoped that the number of visitors to the bazaar cum festival, which is now an annual event and part of the state-level Gawai Dayak celebrations, will continue to increase in years to come.

“Many items and activities related to the Gawai celebration can be found at this bazaar, which is held in preparation for the upcoming Gawai celebration.

“That’s why this event deserves to attract as many visitors as possible,” he said during the Sarawak Iban Dayak Arts and Culture event at the bazaar last night (May 22).

Organisers of the Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2024 said they expect to attract more than 30,000 visitors throughout the bazaar which runs until May 26, exceeding the approximate 20,000 visitors to last year’s edition of the bazaar held at the Kuching South City Council compound.

Sikie also hoped to see the Kadazandusun community in Sarawak to be more active in joining cultural activities in Sarawak in the future, adding although the community originally hails from Sabah, they are nevertheless the indigenous people of Borneo.

“Since a few years ago, they have made their presence well known here in Sarawak. It would be nice to see them join their fellow Borneo indigenous communities in Sarawak during all kinds of cultural celebrations,” he said.

During the event, numerous Iban traditional cultural activities were showcased to the audience by performers representing various Iban Dayak cultural organisations.

Also present were Deputy Minister of Transport (Riverine and Marine) Dato Henry Harry Jinep, who chairs the bazaar’s working committee; Serembu assemblyman Miro Simuh, who is the event working committee deputy chairman; Pakan assemblyman and Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) president Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom and other officials.

The Gawai Dayak Bazaar 2024 opens from 10am until 10pm daily until May 26, showcasing 180 stalls – 45 for halal food and 45 for non-halal food, 35 selling handcrafts, 10 selling dry food products, and the remaining selling various other items.

Besides that, a variety of interesting events and side activities are held throughout the 11 days of the bazaar to attract visitors and enliven the Gawai atmosphere.

Many activities are carried out, especially at night, with the stalls operating from 2pm to midnight while the bazaar also has a main stage for various cultural and singing performances by local artistes.

The state-level Gawai Dayak celebrations this year is hosted by the Bidayuh community.