Kota Kinabalu lass the top choice

Penampang: Kota Kinabalu representative Kerinah Mah, 22, was crowned Unduk Ngadau 2017 at the Hongkod Koisaan, Wednesday night.

She beat 43 other beauties, taking home prizes worth more than RM73,000. This included an RM6,000 cash prize, an ATI scholarship worth RM25,000, an Almacrest scholarship worth RM20,000, a return air ticket to Bangkok among others.

Shareene Francis Loudin of Penampang and Arveyna Pamella Januin @ Abdon from Papar were named first and second runners-up.

Shareene received prizes worth RM11,480 which included RM4,000 cash, while Arveyna received prizes worth RM9,660, of which RM3,000 was in cash.

Angel Sungkadhamai Marshal @ Linus (Likas), Bibiana Artecca James (Tambunan), Sharlina Gilbert Mojinun (Klang Valley) and Vanessa Claria (Tuaran) respectively took fourth, fifth, sixth and seven places.

The month-long Kaamatan festival came to an end Wednesday on a moderate yet cheerful note with a RM1 million allocation to the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) and yet another powerful display of multiracial and religious harmony that is uniquely Sabah’s.

The spell of heavy rains and terrible traffic jam did not deter thousands of local and foreign visitors from flocking to the Hongkod Koisaan grounds to experience the carnival-like atmosphere.

Launched in Tambunan this year on May 1, the Kaamatan, which is traditionally the Kadazandusun thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful rice harvest, was celebrated at all levels from the districts down to villages and families throughout the month.

There had also been celebrations in the peninsula States of Johor, Perak, Penang as well as the Federal Territory of Labuan and Klang Valley.

For many years now, the spirit of the festival has been embraced by all races and faiths, each wanting to celebrate their own meaning of a harvest.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman acknowledged this when speaking at the closing ceremony, saying racial and religious harmony has been the way of life in Sabah.

“We have no problem for we can always sit and have meals together,” he said to thunderous applause from the audience.

He added that while the festival has always showcased racial and religious harmony in the State, it must also be celebrated beyond the limits of political boundaries.

“This festival teaches us how important it is to strengthen unity and peace in our State which has so many ethnics and cultures,” he stressed.

He said effective efforts by all quarters are needed to promote Sabah’s unique cultural heritage including its traditional games and instruments.

Such efforts should indeed be stepped up, whether at the domestic or international level.

“In this context, the involvement of all parties mean not just the government departments and agencies but also the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

“The Government, meanwhile, will remain committed and double its efforts to promote Sabah’s rich and unique culture with the support of all concerned,” Musa said in his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, who represented him at the event.

Musa also called on the people, especially those in Sabah, to give continuous support to the Government’s efforts in sustaining the State’s cultural heritage to prevent it from becoming extinct.

He also hoped the people would involve themselves in various cultural programmes towards fostering peace and unity in the State.Also present were Deputy CM Datuk Seri Yahya Hussein and Sabah Tourism, Culture, Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.

Musa later announced a RM1 million allocation from the State Government for the KDCA building’s repairs.

Pairin said according to Kadazandusun custom, the harvest festival is a time to seek forgiveness from one another so that mutual respect and unity can continue among people from all races and faiths.

“The Kaamatan festival has brought about a sense of renewal that transcends differences we have in politics, race and beliefs,” he said.

Although the finale this year coincides with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan, many who were observing the fast also came to experience the festival. – Ricardo Unto and Leonard Alaza

Source: Daily Express