Pesta Kaamatan brings people from all walks of life together
PESTA Kaamatan is one celebration I look forward to every year, because of its significance to the people of Sabah. At the base of it, Pesta Kaamatan is a rice harvest festival. But beyond that, it is a celebration that brings the diverse communities together.
It is a cultural event that unifies people, allowing everyone to join in through its dances, the feasts, the merry making, the traditional games, or even as observers.
This year, I was fortunate enough to join the Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and the Kadazandusun people’s Huguan Siou, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, for the launch of the month-long celebration in Tambunan on May 1.
It was a grand event, as far as enthusiasm is concerned, because it somehow has this pull factor where you get to join in the sumazau dances, listen to the traditional music and interact with those who come for the festivities.
I was also at the celebration organised by Upko in Tuaran, hosted by its president Datuk Seri Madius Tangau, where the same spirit and essence of the festival prevailed.
Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recognises the importance of Pesta Kaamatan as for many years now he has joined or acknowledged us at the national-level celebration.
I am sure when Pesta Kaamatan culminates with the main celebration at the Hongkod Koisaan building in Penampang on May 30 and 31, it will be as lively as it has always been all these years.
Personally, I feel it is important for all to understand that the key to our present and future success lies in the unity of our culturally diverse people.
We should be grateful that the prevailing peace and harmony in Malaysia has served us all well. Regardless of the abundance of cultures in Sabah, it has become our own very unique strength.
It is disheartening to note, however, in recent years, we have seen irresponsible parties making provocative statements that could lead to disastrous consequences.
This is a cause of concern for all of us as conflict among races can pose a threat to our unity and peaceful way of life. We must act collectively to protect our diverse cultures, for without it, Sabah would lose her greatest asset — its unity.
I know my detractors will not agree. Some have gone to great lengths to discredit and belittle whatever has been achieved.
Others have gone further to plot and scheme behind closed doors to weaken my administration. Some have even questioned my style of governing, my preference for quiet diplomacy instead of the fist-banging approach.
To me, all I want to ensure is that we continue living in a state that enjoys racial and religious harmony as well as unity in our
MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017 endeavour to transform Sabah into an economically vibrant state.
I want to see Sabah as the place where we can all have a good life and earn our livelihood in a clean and secure environment with great prospects.
As a Sabahan, and a patriot who has deep love for the state, a fellow Malaysian and above all, as a father, I want to make sure our future generations have a bright future.
This is why I make it a point that as the chief minister, I serve as the leader of all the people in Sabah, irrespective of their ethnicity and beliefs.
Every year, I make sure the state government allocates millions in assistance for religious bodies, cultural associations, charitable entities, chambers of commerce, Chinese vernacular schools, mission schools, and even environmental organisations.
Decades ago, when I entered politics, my hopes were to contribute towards Sabah’s progress and eventually for the state to take its rightful place with the more advanced states in Malaysia.
I could see what Sabah needed most was to advance in a number of things, most urgent of which were human capital and capacity building, plugging of economic leakages, creation of new and value-added industries, and most importantly better governance and delivery system so that our people can progress in a systematic and coherent manner.
These are critical cornerstones to ensure progress comes our way.
But to do that, the people of Sabah need to stay united and this is the very reason why I have made it a point to observe and preserve cultural events such as Pesta Kaamatan.
It has been our way of life to respect and celebrate with each other, regardless of our differences. This year it will be no different. Kotobian Tadau Tagazo Do Kaamatan (Happy Harvest Festival)
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin (second from left), Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (left) and Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (third from left) cutting stalks of rice to mark the launch of the month-long Pesta Kaamatan in Tambunan on May 1.