MIRI city has what it takes to be the centre of multiculturalism in Sarawak.
With a rich social and economic history that dates back to the 1800s due to petroleum discovery, Miri has emerged as the second biggest urban centre in Sarawak with a population of 350,000 people.
Miri, which attained resort city status in 2005, has a reputation for staging wonderful events that showcase an excellent blend of multiethnic and multireligious composition.
Sarawak Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said Miri, with its 30-plus ethnic and racial groups, is indeed a model of unity and harmony for state and country.
“Multiculturalism can be seen at its best in Miri city.
“We have mosques, churches and temples built near each other.
“The Masjid Al-Naim and Anglican Good Shepherd Church in Lutong even share carparks and stage joint gatherings to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Christmas.
“Miri also has the ability to stage cultural and religious festivities on a big scale,” said Lee.
He said Miri city has been acknowledged as the model of religious and racial unity by locals and foreigners, and every year they hold religious fests like the Christmas parade that brings together people from all walks of life.
“This is an excellent chance for us to showcase our unique blend of multiracial and multireligious unity.
“Miri is a city with more than 30 races and ethnic groups living in harmony and they celebrate each other’s festivities without any hindrance,” he said.
Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting said the city takes pride in hosting grand events like the Christmas parade, Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak celebrations and all sorts of music festivals every year.
The city has a place for everyone from every cultural and religious setting.
Songs and music festivals such as the annual Borneo Jazz Festival, Miri Country Music Fest and Orang Ulu Music Fest also add colour and fun to the city’s atmosphere.
Miri is also blessed with beautiful scenery along its beaches, fantastic caves like the Niah Cave and Mulu National Park world heritage site in its interior.
Miri is also an oil-and-gas hub with the country’s first inland oil platform built at the top of Canada Hill in the 1900s.
The monument is now a historical landmark called The Grand Old Lady.
The city is also a shopping haven for the cash-rich Bruneians and expatriates living in Brunei who cross into Miri every week for food, leisure, entertainment and shopping.
Miri mayor Adam Yii is eager to see Miri develop further like Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.
“Miri already has natural beauty and rich cultural assets.
“What we need to do is to have better promotions with neighbouring states to offer attractive packages to tourists,” he said.
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