Kota Kinabalu: Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegates from 32 countries will be here to witness the start of the Harvest Festival celebration on May 1 in Tambunan.
"They will be having their three-day conference here and have shown interest in participating in the Kaamatan Festival," said Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
"They will still be here on May 1 and would like to include the Kaamatan Festival in their itinerary programme," said Pairin, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, during a press conference on Thursday.
"I have also informed this matter to the Tambunan District Officer so that they will be able to make earlier preparations for the upcoming celebration," he said, confident the CPA delegates will bring back to their respective countries good memories of the event.
Pairin said the Kaamatan celebration is the catalyst for the State's tourism industry.
"The celebration will activate more economic activities," he said, adding that Tambunan is widely known as the Switzerland of the East due to the beauty of its natural environment, citing the famous Mount Trusmadi and Mahua Waterfall as examples.
According to him, they had just completed an initial meeting discussing the upcoming Kaamatan festival programme and formed the Kaamatan Main Organising Committees as well as sub-committees.
"Each district will announce their dates for the Kaamatan celebration. However, Tambunan will kick off this year's district-level celebrations.
"Besides that, there will also be the Tambunan Kaamatan Charity Run on April 30 and we target about 100 runners from two different categories," he said.
In terms of traffic and accommodation throughout the celebration in the district, Pairin said related committees have been appointed to tackle the matter.
"Of course, traffic congestion will occur but I believe that with the improvement in terms of infrastructure development, things will go on well compared to 10 years ago when Tambunan last became the district host for the Kaamatan celebration," he said.
"I would like to urge the people to wear their respective traditional costume during the celebration on May 1 in Tambunan to show others that we are a multicultural people and each of us has our own cultural uniqueness and beauty.
"I think that this is in line with this year's celebration's theme 'Peace and Unity Through Culture'. Peace and unity are something we should focus on with the current situations we observe throughout the world.
"Kaamatan is one of the important celebrations in Malaysia and it helps to promote tolerance, unity and harmony among the multicultural people," he said, adding that the first official celebration started in the year 1960.
Pairin later announced the dates for all Kaamatan district level celebrations.
"On May 1, the launching of the district celebration will kick off in Tambunan, followed by Keningau district on May 2 and Klang Valley on May 3. On May 7 and 9, it will be held at Tongod and Kuala Penyu districts respectively.
"Matunggong as well as Sipitang will have its district Kaamatan celebration on May 14. City Hall will also be having their opening for the celebration which will last for three days. For Penampang, Kudat and Sandakan districts, the celebration will be on May 16. Tuaran and Tamparuli will have the celebration on May 17 (Sunday) whereas Putatan will be on May 19. For Tenom, it will be on May 23 followed by Kota Belud on May 24 which will be the last day of the Kaamatan district celebration.
"On the other hand, the Gala Night for Unduk Ngadau participants will be held on May 21 in Tambunan. The final registration for each Unduk Ngadau district representative will be on May 27," he said, adding that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman will grace the traditional sports on May 30 and Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin at the closing ceremony of the 2015 State-level Kaamatan Celebration.
(Source from Daily Express Friday, January 16, 2015)