TAMBUNAN: For the first time, Sabah’s launch of the month-long Pesta Kaamatan celebration kicked off at the homebase of the Kadazandusun paramount leader Datuk Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
The harvest celebration of the Kadazandusuns, was marked by the symbolic cutting of the padi stalk by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman and Pairin, that will set the tone for the festivities that will continue through the month at all districts in the state.
“It is a big boost for Tambunan. It is recognition and the strengthening of bond between the people and the government,” Pairin, who is the Deputy Chief Minister, said.
Pairin, the Kadazandusun Cultural Association president, said the celebrations in Tambunan brought about higher level of awareness and bonding.
“It consciously raises the sense of family as Malaysians,” said Pairin, whose Tambunan stronghold had been the rallying point for his Parti Bersatu Sabah’s defeat of Parti Berjaya in 1976 and remained the heart of PBS’ struggle when it stood in the opposition camp for 12 years before the party’s return to the Barisan Nasional fold in January 2002.
Tambunan, situated in a valley of the Crocker Range, has not hosted the state-level launch of the Kaamatan celebrations since the early 1960s, except for district-level celebrations.
Pairin said the celebrations would help make Tambunan Sabah’s “gateway to the interior” and help in boosting its tourism potential ranging from waterfalls to mountain climbing.
“We must not leave rural areas outside the development of tourism. We need to highlight the various attractions of the interior,” he added.
Musa concurred that Tambunan had the potential of becoming the “Switzerland of the East” and assured that the government will not leave out the district in bringing infrastructure development like roads, water and electricity.