This weekend serves as the culmination of Tadau Kaamatan, “The Harvest Festival” – a month-long celebration particularly for the Kadazandusun community of Sabah. Over the years, we have seen this time-honoured tradition grow in significance and celebrated even outside of the state.
In the neighbouring state of Sarawak, the same can also be said for the Gawai Dayak celebration, following immediately after Kaamatan. Preparation for the celebration by the different communities has already started. It is always exciting to be part of these activities, whether in the colourful parades or rituals.
I believe that these festivals not only honour the heritage and culture of these ethnic communities that have long resided in East Malaysia, but also reflect the genuine closeness and solidarity that a shared set of positive values and beliefs can bring. It is truly a delightful sight as celebrations go by days and nights, a true reflection of “unity through diversity” that is well and alive in Sabah and Sarawak. In the same breath, I suggest that all of us to ponder on what we can accomplish further in the spirit of 1Malaysia. Wherever you are, we must accept and embrace our friends of different races and participate together in the activities we carry out regularly, let it be the morning jogs or the lunch hours we have during work.
As much as it is an occasion I wish I could participate in, I will be attending the ASEAN-Korean Summit in South Korea to foster Malaysia’s regional cooperation and immediately to China to cement our bilateral relations even further. To the Kadazandusun, Murut, Iban, Bidayuh, and all East Malaysian ethnic groups celebrating these festivals, I wish you all a wonderful Kaamatan and Gawai.