Tiong (seated fourth left) has tea at the Chinese pavilion. Seated from left are Ling, Wong, Ing Siong, and Chieng. — Photo by Conny Banji
SIBU (July 17): Scenery along the Rajang River, the country’s longest river, has the potential to be developed with tourist attractions, said Dato Sri Tiong King Sing.
The federal Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said these attractions include floating restaurants and river cruises.
“Done well, they can stimulate local tourism and add to our economic growth,” he said when opening the Borneo Cultural Festival’s (BCF) Chinese pavilion organised by the United Chinese Association (UCA) Sibu last night.
Earlier, Tiong also suggested the Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) consider extending the length of BCF.
He said this should get even more people to join the festivities and events and see the shows that feature the uniqueness of Borneo’s cultural groups.
“SMC has held the BCF annually since 2002 with the purpose of gathering the cultures of all the dialect groups and promoting their unique cultures in Malaysia.
“In the past 20 years, all the participating groups have responded very positively to this event.
“This year’s edition of the BCF is held from July 14 to 23 July for a total of 10 days,” he said.
The Dudong assemblyman said besides its rich natural resources, Sarawak has always been the envy of the outside world for its diverse cultures.
He pointed out each ethnic group can freely practise their respective cultural customs.
“This harmonious relationship is synonymous with Bornean civilisation, which is difficult to experience in other regions.
“But sadly, these days we can see that some young people have less interest in learning and understanding their ethnic cultures.
“Despite not caring about their ethnic backgrounds, they should keep in mind the developmental history of their own backgrounds, and the cultural wisdom that has been passed down.
“Our descendants must learn and understand the historical significance of cultural customs, including promoting them as an advantage to generate cultural tourism for the local community,” he said.
He later announced an RM70,000 allocation for UCA Sibu to conduct its annual activities.
Among those present were Sibu MP Oscar Ling, Bukit Assek assemblyman Joseph Chieng, Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, UCA Sibu president Lau Ing Siong, Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) president Datuk Lau Cheng Kiong, and organising chairman Soh Siau Chui.