KUCHING: More than 6,000 people of various races thronged the Gawai Raya gathering at Kuching City South Council (MBKS) yesterday.
Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud officiated at the event. Also present was his wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib.
The event also saw the presence of tourists and invited guests from Australia, Brunei and the Philippines.
Some of the guests spoken to by New Sarawak Tribune expressed their excitement on the various events showcased during the gathering.
Janet Thiel, 46, who leads a dance team from Conroy Dance Centre in Brisbane, Australia said it was her first visit to Kuching and was excited to learn about the cultures of the city and Sarawak.
“I was invited by Kuching Dance Academy, and it is a privilege for me and my students to be able to witness the unity of the people here.
“The people are friendly and warm. Kuching is a lovely city. And we would love to come back to experience the wonders you have,” she enthused.
Wesley Duncan, 18, a form 6 Iban student from SMK St Thomas, said it is always nice to see people of different race and religion come to participate in such gathering.
“This is the unique culture of Sarawak, and it is very important for us, the younger generations to ensure this togetherness is preserved,” he said.
Ho Won Chian, 53, who is staying nearby MBKS, said she is thankful that Sarawak is peaceful where people can always mingle and get to know each other during such festivities.
“I want to thank MBKS for organising such event, and hope the government will continue to support the council in any programme that promotes unity,” she said.
Meanwhile, Haslina Piee, 45, a private company employee from Tabuan Jaya, said Sarawak’s unity, peace and harmony must be preserved and made an example to other states in the country.
“For a prosperous Sarawak and Malaysia, we must continue to work together as one despite our differences,” she said.