“Kaamatan is a season for forgiveness”

PENAMPANG: Huguan Siou or paramount leader of the Kadazan Dusun Murut community said Kaamatan is also “a season for forgiveness” in his speech at the closing of the month-long celebration yesterday.

Amidst the buildup of racial suspicion and discontent, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan made the statement while saying it could translate into instability and feuding which would be detrimental to the country.

“In these circumstances, the open celebration of Kaamatan by all Malaysians irrespective of race, religion and ethnicity is vital to fostering understanding and tolerance,” he said at the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) hall.

Pairin is also the president of the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and Deputy Chief Minister. Kaamatan or the Harvest Festival is a uniquely Sabah celebration that serves as a reminder to people in the state to overlook ethnic and cultural differences and to respect one other.

The Huguan Siou called for unity among the people emphasising its importance for harmony in a multi-ethnic Malaysia.

“It (Kaamatan celebration) has even strengthened the spirit of 1Malaysia. Without unity, our country’s independence and sovereignty will be threatened.”

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Haji Aman was in attendance at the hall that was packed with locals and tourists making up the joyous revellers.

The KDCA hall and its compounds were decked out for the celebration, with many food and game stalls having started operation two weeks ago. The celebration this year is slightly muted because it coincides with the Muslim fasting month.

The crowning of the Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan, a prestigious and coveted pageant that pays tribute to a folk heroine, wound up the celebration. A total of 44 women, including representatives from Klang Valley and Johor, took part in the finals.

The winner will help promote Sabah, its people and diverse cultures to the world as part of her ‘duty’.

(Source from New Sabah Times, 1st June 2017)