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2021 Kaamatan to be held online

KOTA KINABALU: This year’s State-level Kaamatan will be held online, in accordance with the new normal to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In the first committee meeting held over Zoom and chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan today, the committee has also decided on the theme of this year’s celebration.

“After a short deliberation, the committee has chosen this year’s theme as ‘Borderless Kaamatan for Reconciliation and Peace’ (Kaamatan Aiso Wolit Montok Piompunan om Pibabasan/Kaamatan Tanpa Sempadan Demi Pendamaian dan Keamanan).

“We felt that this theme is appropriate for this year after so many things that had happened especially because of the Covid-19,” said Kitingan in a statement today.

Kitingan who is also the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Deputy President said the opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the Hongkod Koisaan in Penampang and will be broadcasted online.

However, all the districts will hold their own district-level Kaamatan celebration, strictly following all the standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the government.

“There is also a possibility that the situation might change in May that would enable us to hold the festival both online and offline and the people can join physically,” he said.

This year’s Sugandoi and Hiis competition as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant will be held online but Kitingan insisted that these competitions should not be the only focus of the celebration.

“Since we are going global, this is our opportunity to really show to the world our culture. It is going to be a fully digital celebration and we must be careful with what we want to show and project to the world.

“There are many benefits to this. We can take this opportunity to promote our culture, our tourism, investment and trade prospect, education, technology and at the same time, promote peace.

“We have to create the best impression of our culture, all our culture. So, we need to discuss on how and what to share to the global audience,” he said.

Kitingan pointed out that Malaysians, especially Sabahans, should be the priority and the main spectator of the celebration and hoped that TV stations would broadcast the full programme.

This is because many Sabahans still do not have reliable internet connection to watch the festival online.

“I wish we could do this like how we have always done before Covid-19. Everybody wants things to go back like they were. But we are all aware of the limitations and I hope we can make the best out of this situation,” he said.

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