KOTA KINABALU: The state may consider a proposal by Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal to make the annual Kaamatan Festival a national event with a nationwide public holiday.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan (pix) said that the suggestion by the former Umno vice-president may be brought up at the central leadership if an opportunity arises.
"However, the Kaamatan or harvest festival celebrated in Sabah is already recognised nationally," he said during a press conference Friday on the line-up of events and Kaamatan launching throughout May.
Pairin said the peak of the festival on May 30 and 31, has already been declared a public holiday in Sabah.
"There have also been Kaamatan festivals and launches in the peninsula. This in a way shows that Kaamatan is already considered a national event," said Pairin, who is also the 2017 state-level Kaamatan festival central committee chairman.
He added that this year’s grand launching will be on May 1, and it will be held in the Tambunan district.
Sabah Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin is expected to grace the grand launch, which will include a traditional crafts, food and beverage exhibition, performances from local artistes and traditional musical groups as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty contest.
Pairin said the festival will be themed Kaamatan Asas Perpaduan (Kaamatan basis of unity), and it will be held in Tambunan’s Pisompuruan Square to promote the place to tourists.
It is also in conjunction with Visit Tambunan Year 2017.
Last week, Shafie suggested that the Kaamatan festival be declared a national public holiday.
The Parti Warisan Sabah leader said a two-day holiday should be declared for May 30 and 31 to provide Malaysians the opportunity to travel to Sabah to join the celebrations.