KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is set to take part in the Kaamatan celebrations in Sabah on Wednesday (May 31), becoming the second prime minister to join the festivities.
Anwar will join Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Huguan Siou (paramount leader of the Kadazandusun) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and other leaders during the event.
The Prime Minister is expected to join Juhar in the symbolic cutting of padi stalks as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest at the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Hongkod Koisaan hall here.
The last prime minister to attend the festival was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1994.
He came to Sabah then to attend the Kaamatan festivities just months after Barisan Nasional toppled the Parti Bersatu Sabah state government led by Pairin through defections in March that year.
Anwar, who was deputy prime minister then, led the Barisan campaign during the February state election.
After launching the Kaamatan festival, Anwar is expected to head to the Lok Kawi army camp for an event with security personnel, and then to the Kinabalu bazaar for a Semarak Perpaduan programme before a meet-and-greet session at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
He is scheduled to depart for Kuala Lumpur at 7.30pm.
Among the main highlights of the event on May 31 is the crowning of the Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Queen), which is also a tribute to the legendary Huminodun, said to be the most beautiful maiden and daughter of the gods Kinoingan and Sumundu, who sacrificed herself to save the people from famine.
This legend is the basis of the annual month-long Kaamatan festival, which showcases cultural performances, singing competitions, handicraft exhibition and sales, traditional sports as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty contest.