THE annual Bagan Datoh Water Sports Carnival drew scores of people to the coastal town’s jetty and tourism complex last weekend.
While some were checking out the roadside tents selling street food, clothes, souvenirs and more, others took part in the carnival’s exciting events, including fishing, river cruising, traditional games and beach football.
Despite it being the carnival’s fourth year, there were some Bagan Datoh residents who were new to the experience.
“It’s nice to see our quiet town suddenly becoming so lively,” said homemaker Nor Azimah Sufian.
It was the 32-year-old mother’s first time to the carnival and she brought along her three children, aged two to 10.
“It’s the school holidays now, so I decided to come back to my hometown with my kids to bring them around.
“My kids are excited because of the children’s playground here that has a water-based attraction,” she told MetroPerak.
Nor Azimah, who is usually based in Ipoh, said she didn’t get to come home often and seeing what was usually a quiet town turn into a hive of activity warmed her heart.
Similarly with another homemaker, Nor Alina Paijan, 48, who was there with her husband Saribudin Ujang, 45, and three kids, she had come back to her hometown from Puchong, Selangor, to visit her mother.
“We’re only here for a night and coincidentally this carnival was taking place so we came to check it out.
“I think my kids are finding it more fun with me because they can’t stop running around while playing with each other,” she said.
For student K. Mahesh, 15, the true blue Bagan Datoh boy said he has been coming to the carnival the last few years.
“It always takes place during the school holidays and since my friends and I have nothing much to do, we thought it was a good idea to come here together.
“We like to bathe in the river, and sometimes, we take out our fishing rods to fish.
“We didn’t take part in the fishing competition though, it is just a fun activity for us,” he said.
Mahesh’s friend S. Bavithiran, 15, was later spotted making a beeline towards the jetty’s entrance, where a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessel was docked.
“The vessel is here every year for people to climb aboard.
“People don’t usually come to this jetty to get to places, they’d usually go to the Hutan Melintang port.
“I think it is fun to sit in the vessel just for a while,” he said.
The three-day carnival which ended on Sunday saw the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi paying a visit on the second day.
In his speech, he said he was glad to see the carnival uniting the people in Bagan Datoh.
Ahmad Zahid, who was also Bagan Datoh MP, said he will never stop striving to build the town into one of the most developed sub-districts in Perak.
“I hope all parties can come forward with constructive criticisms instead of destructive ones.
“Only by uniting together can we ensure the success of such community-based activities,” he said, adding that he will work hard to obtain an allocation of RM10mil from the Government to expand the Bagan Datoh jetty.
Ahmad Zahid said hopefully once this plan was realised, this will boost the state’s tourism as people can now dock here and leave towards Pulau Sembilan and Pulau Pangkor located up north from the jetty.
Also present at the event was state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya, who said he also hoped for development in other areas in Bagan Datoh, like Beting Beras Basah.
Beting Beras Basah is a place steeped in history, as every new Sultan of Perak who ascends the throne must make a customary visit to the area.
Sultan Nazrin Shah did the same during his enthronement ceremony on May 14 this year.
Later, Ahmad Zahid presented prizes to the winners of the fishing competition held earlier that day.
The third prize winner Anuar Zainuddin caught a 0.765kg belukar fish while the second prize winner Zubairi Mohd Tahir bagged a 0.770kg belukar fish and first prize winner Mohd Noor Samad caught a 1.02kg belukar fish.