LAHAD DATU: The Kaamatan Festival should be celebrated by all levels of society in Sabah regardless of race, tribe and ethnicity including in East Coast areas such as Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Kunak, Tawau and Semporna.
The Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being (KPMKR), Datuk James Ratib invited people who are not of the KDMR tribe to remove the notion or stigma that this festival is only for the KDMR ethnic group.
“Lahad Datu district is one of the districts in this state that has its own uniqueness with ethnic people from KDMR such as Dusun Segamo, Dusun Subpan, Idahan and Dusun Begak.
“I believe that through the celebration of the Kaamatan Festival, we are trying to strengthen and solidify the spirit of unity, brotherhood and belonging among the people of various tribes, races and cultures of this land below the wind that we love,” he explained.
James, who is also the Sugut Assemblyman, added that the Kaamatan Festival is a manifestation of the harmony and goodwill of the people in this country to live in peace and unity despite being made up of multiple races, nationalities, religions and beliefs.
He said this while officiating the Lahad Datu District Level Kaamatan Festival which was held at Dewan Sri Perdana near here on Sunday.
Meanwhile, he said, the State Government always encourage and welcomes the organization of this kind of program.
“Certainly this festival will be able to further strengthen the tolerance and spirit of belonging that has been established in this state and further consolidate the goal of building a loving Malaysian society.
“Thus, this year’s Kaamatan theme, ‘Kaamatan Cultivating Unity’ is timely because it triggers a transformation towards a multi-racial society that is loving and respectful to each other,” he said.
According to James, the Kaamatan Festival is now recognized as a national festival because its celebration is also celebrated beyond ethnic and religious boundaries, thus reflecting the concept of ‘Malaysia Madani’ which was inspired by Y.A.B. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia.
“The state government today under the leadership of YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Haji Noor, the Chief Minister of Sabah, is always committed to improving the socio-economic status of the people by driving development in all corners of the state including in the Lahad Datu district, through the implementation of various policies and agendas,” he said.
He wished well and congratulated the entire organizing committee chaired by Firuz Idzualdeen Benety Mohd Dzul, Lahad Datu District Officer, for successfully organizing the Kaamatan event this time.
He supports the call to upgrade Lahad Datu as a Municipal Council by Firuz and hopes that this wish will be considered by the State government based on several existing criteria or justifications in this district.
James also suggested to the State government that Lahad Datu District be chosen as the Host for the Launch of the Sabah State Kaamatan Festival in 2024.