KUCHING: This year's Gawai is a special one because the celebration's theme Segulai Sejalai will be adopted for use nationwide, says Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.
The Sarawak Premier said the Iban phrase - which means together in unity - attracted the attention of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
"He said this is the concept that we have to promote throughout Malaysia.
"We've been told that the Prime Minister will use Segulai Sejalai as a concept to be spread throughout the country," he said at the Sarawak Premier Department's Gawai celebration here on Monday (June 12).
Abang Johari said this was an honour not only for the Dayak community but for Sarawak.
"The top leadership has adopted this concept because they want a harmonious Malaysia.With a harmonious Malaysia, an integrated development plan can be implemented so that Malaysia will be competitive with other nations," he added.
During the state Gawai dinner last week, Anwar said he would adopt Segulai Sejalai as a slogan for unity nationwide.
"I was struck to hear the Segulai Sejalai phrase, which I think should be used in Malaysia and not just Sarawak. Wherever I go from now on, when I talk about unity and cooperation, I'll make sure I say Segulai Sejalai," he had said.
Abang Johari also said many people were interested to see what was going on in Sarawak, particularly in terms of its racial harmony.
"We have strong unity among people of all races and religions. Now we are celebrating Gawai together, after celebrating Chinese New Year and Hari Raya earlier," he said.
In addition, Abang Johari said Sarawak could look forward to a bountiful economic harvest this year, just as Gawai was associated with a bountiful rice harvest.
"In the first quarter this year we have collected RM5bil in revenue.
"We hope that at the end of the year we will have a bountiful harvest to share with the rakyat.
"This will enable us to give back to the people through our development policy which is rural-biased and people-centric," he said.