PENAMPANG: Sabah has approved an allocation of RM3.5 million to upgrade facilities at Hongkod Koisaan KDCA, the venue for the annual state-level Kaamatan celebration which falls every May 30-31.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said this includes expanding the hall as well as building a waiting room and permanent stall structures nearby.
“We prioritize our culture (preservation), and that is why I am happy to announce the approval of this application from the Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA),” he said during the opening ceremony of the celebration here yesterday.
The Kaamatan public holiday falls on May 30 and 31, but it is a month-long harvest festival that kicks off on May 1, with each district holding its own celebration and choosing its representative for the Unduk Ngadau (beauty pageant ).
The highlight will be at the Penampang venue, which will see the crowning of the Harvest Queen (the winner of the Unduk Ngadau) tonight.
Earlier in his speech, KDCA Deputy Chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Clarence Bongkos Malakun who represented the Chairman and Huguan Siou (Supreme Leader of Kadazandusun Murut) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan presented the special request to the state at the KDCA committee name.
They highlighted the need to expand the backstage of the venue as it can no longer accommodate Unduk Ngadau’s growing number of competitors.
“This stage was built in 1990, over 30 years ago. At the time, there were 30-32 candidates, but today we have 44 candidates after the sub-districts were transformed into full districts, along with a growing number of representatives from outside Sabah.
“The backstage size is no longer suitable, and we need to give them a comfortable space with air conditioning and additional amenities like an additional toilet,” Malakun said.
He added that there was a need for a VIP waiting room backstage, with guests such as Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Toh Puan Norlidah RM Jasni.
“The Yang di-Pertua Negeri comes every year and he usually asks for the use of a traditional house for prayers, so we should prepare a hall inside KDCA.
“At the same time, KDCA’s executive advisers would like to request permanent booths in front of the hall, especially since many booths have been damaged by the weather,” he said.
Malakun also said it was embarrassing that sanitary standards were not up to par.
“I hope we can start upgrading the works this year so that we are ready for Kaamatan next year,” he said, adding that parking space is also another issue the KDCA committee is facing. attacks.
Malakun also said it may no longer be appropriate to call the Unduk Ngadau competition a “state-level competition” as he now sees entrants from several other states, adding that there are requests for participation from states such as Perak.