Gawai during Covid-19: Abang Johari lauds Dayak community’s sacrifices

Abang Johari and his wife Datuk Amar Juma'ani Tuanku Bujang wish all Sarawakians a Selamat Hari Gawai Dayak.

KUCHING, May 31: The Sarawak government appreciates the sacrifices the Dayak community have made in toning down Hari Gawai Dayak celebrations this year for the common good as the state continues to fight and manage the Covid-19 crisis.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg emphasised that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO), which is scheduled to expire on June 9, will not allow the Dayak community to hold Gawai celebrations as usual.

“We are not allowed to have open house and ‘ngabang’ (Gawai visiting from house to house or longhouse to longhouse) while small gatherings are permitted but with close family members only.

“This are measures we need to observe in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. I am grateful that Sarawakians understand and adhere to the orders from the government to not hold open house and limit gatherings to not more than 20 people,” he said in his Gawai Dayak greetings message today.

While the state government does not have to ability to inspect every home and village, Abang Johari however trusts that the respective community leaders including village chiefs and tuai rumah will ensure people comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and festive celebration guidelines imposed.

He noted that there is nothing more enjoyable than being home in the village or longhouse during the Gawai Dayak festival.

“This year however, many may not be able to return home due to the MCO in which inter-district travel is not allowed. I believe there are also many Dayak people working abroad especially in the oil and gas industry who are not able to return home to Sarawak.

“It is okay, because it is more important that all of you and of all us are well and safe from Covid-19. When things are back to normal in the future, we can celebrate Gawai and be merry like in the old days.

“To our Dayak community and friends, I sincerely hope that you will enjoy the Gawai festival despite the circumstances. Selamat Gawai Dayak, Selamat Andu Gawai Dayak and Selamat Do Gawai Dayak,” he added.