MIRI: The exodus of natives from Miri to other districts is reaching its climax on Friday (May 31) in their rush to get home in time for Gawai Dayak on Saturday (June 1).
Miri Mayor Adam Yii, while wishing them a happy Gawai, urged those travelling home by road and river to give top priority to their safety, in view of escalating cases of accidents in the last few days.
"Always remember that the most important thing is to reach home safely.
"Do not rush. Do not speed on the roads. Your families and loved ones are waiting for you and they want you home safely, so even if you arrive a bit late, there will still be a joyous family reunion.
"So, the most important thing on the road is safety.
"For those travelling on boats, make sure you do not overcrowd and always wear a life jacket," he said in his Gawai message to the tens of thousands leaving Miri.
Yii, who is also Sarawak United Peoples Party information chief, said the people of Sarawak are fortunate to be able to celebrate Gawai in peace and harmony.
" To all my fellow colleagues and friends who are celebrating Gawai Dayak, I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy and joyous festival.
"On behalf of myself, the city council, my family and SUPP, I pray that everyone will be able to enjoy this occasion with their families and their loved ones.
"Sarawakians ushering in the Gawai Dayak harvest festival, starting June 1, have plenty to be thankful for.
"The people of Sarawak, including the natives, are blessed with abundant goodness.
"Everyone can enjoy their religious or cultural festivals with total freedom and in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
"SUPP leaders and members are glad to note that Sarawakians are living in a land of abundant peace and unity," he said.
Gawai is a celebration to usher in a good harvest.