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KUCHING, Sept 26: It is that time once again and some 15,000 people from near and far are expected to converge at the normally quiet Belaga Town for the biennial Pesta Belaga which will kick off on September 27, revealed Belaga assemblyman and Pesta Belaga advisor Datuk Liwan Lagang.
He said the festival will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the all ethnic groups in Belaga District such as the Kayan, Kenyah, Penan, Kajang, Malay and Chinese. Each ethnic group has erected their own model house and will use them to display their handicrafts and received guests.
“One of the main objectives of Pesta Belaga is to share our rich cultural heritage with our young people. And besides that, we believe that Pesta Belaga will bring the people of various ethnic groups together. In this way, it will promote peace and harmony,” Liwan told DayakDaily yesterday.
He disclosed that the highlight of the festival is the finals of the regatta which will be held on Saturday and will be officiated at by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
“The regatta has attracted a very good response as there are teams from Brunei, Miri and Bintulu. There will be various categories for both men and women,” he explained.
Besides the regatta, there will be cultural and traditional presentations which will be held at night.
“There will also be a beauty pageant as part of celebration,” he said.
Liwan, who is also Assistant Minister of Water Supply disclosed that for this year, some RM500,000 has been raised to finance the festival, with more than half of the amount being sponsored by Sarawak Energy Berhad. The remaining amount were raised by the local representatives.
“We will take turns to celebrate Pesta Belaga. After this, we will hold it in Sg Asap and at Bakun Dam lake,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to the limited accommodation available in Belaga Town, Liwan said most of the visitors will stay with their relatives and friends and also in nearby longhouses.
“And there is also the road factor which will affect accessibility,” he said, referring to the 37km Menjawah-Belaga Road which will be upgraded and is expected to be completed in two years from the date of commencement after the contract is awarded.
The Chief Minister had announced an allocation of RM86 million to upgrade the road during his first official visit to Belaga on December 27, last year. — DayakDaily