Thousands throng three-day Aidilfitri event at Dataran Drawbridge
KUALA TERENGGANU: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) in collaboration with the Terengganu state government welcomed some 70,000 people to its Malaysian Open House (MRTM) Aidilfitri 2022 for the first time in the state.
The three-day event (May 19-21) held at Dataran Drawbridge Kuala Terengganu aimed to revitalise the country’s tourism, culture and arts industry in the new normal.
It was officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, with Motac Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in attendance.
Addressing attendees at the MRTM Aidilfitri 2022 event, Ismail Sabri said that as the country is transitioning to an endemic phase, the nation’s economy has shown positive growth especially in tourism which is one of the main contributing sectors to Malaysia’s gross domestic product.
“Immigration Department statistics showed that as of May 12, Malaysia received 604,457 foreigners since the country reopened its borders, whereby 93.8% or 567,025 are tourists.
“When the reopening of Malaysia’s borders was announced, Motac set a target of about two million foreign tourists this year with a revenue of RM8.6bil,” he said in a statement.
The event is in line with the National Cultural Policy (Daken) 2020-2030 that highlights the nation’s various cultures.
The prime minister added that the government had allocated RM230mil in Budget 2022 under the Tourism Recovery Plan to benefit arts, culture and heritage activists in the tourism sectors.
“Terengganu is famous for its food and rich cultures and is definitely a tourist destination in and outside the country.
“With a variety of unique tourist attractions, including the jambatan angkat which was named the best tourism icon of 2019, I am confident that the Terengganu state government will be able to achieve its target of attracting three million tourists this year,” he said.
On the first day of the event, Motac hosted a religious talk titled Syawal Disambut Dengan Penuh Kesyukuran dan Kegembiraan featuring three panellists – Institut Modal Insan Terengganu Sejahtera (i-MiTS) director Ustaz Kamaruzaman Abdullah, UKM Faculty of Islamic Studies deputy dean (networking and alumni) Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Izhar Ariff Mohd Kashim and former Terengganu mufti Datuk Zulkifli Muda.
The thousands of attendees were also able to experience Rewang Raya that included a gotong royong event, the slaughtering of two cows and the presentation of beef, necessities and cooking materials to asnaf families and orphans.
Recipients included some 40 people from the Village Development and Security Committee (JPKK) Seberang Takir, 20 from JPKK Seberang Takir Pantai, and 20 from JPKK Kampung Seberang Takir.
What’s more, as with most open houses, attendees enjoyed the delectable spread of Kenduri Rakyat.
Meanwhile, foodies also got to experience heritage cooking workshops and classes, and heritage food demonstrations.
Aside from that, there were friendly competitions and cultural exhibitions highlighting Terengganu’s rich culture such as a boat racing competition, keris collection exhibition, gateh busana, kambing cantik and ayam ratu competition, kampung zoo, wau gegok damak, tok dekor jangok, tewah ngail, gasing terbang, decorated boats and art performances.
That’s not all. Fishing enthusiasts participated in fishing competitions with the theme Memancing sambil mengenakan pemakaian kain pelikat dan semutar beramai-ramai.
At the event, Nancy Shukri said that Terengganu is seen as a state with great potential to become the country’s main tourist destination.
“(This is) because Terengganu is rich in a variety of tourism products based on the richness of nature, the uniqueness of art culture, heritage and historical relics, which are unique.
“It has the longest and most beautiful coastline of 244km, namely Kenyir – the largest man-made lake in South-East Asia, one of the most beautiful tourist islands in the world, the uniqueness of biodiversity in the Setiu Wetland, waterfalls and hot springs in Besut, Resorts World Kijal, the art of carving, batik and songket industry, and its people who are creative and courteous.
“Therefore, Terengganu is aptly known as a Negeri Cantik, Budaya Menarik, Orangnya Pun Baik- Baik,” she said.
Ahmad Samsuri expressed his gratitude that Terengganu was selected for MRTM Aidilfitri 2022.
“This is very beneficial to unite us with Keluarga Malaysia and can be celebrated by all, not just those celebrating Aidilfitri.
“(We) can show respect and celebrate the cultural differences within a multi-racial community in our beloved homeland,” he said.
MRTM Aidilfitri 2022 fosters unity and understanding of the multi-racial community through participation in various interactive activities that feature the country’s culture and heritage.
MOTAC hopes that the event can increase the spirit of unity and tolerance as well as inculcate noble values and a culture of high values among the multi-racial and multi-cultural community to be more open and respectful.