RWMF may go on this year

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. Photo: Ramidi subari

KOTA SAMARAHAN: The Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry have no plans to postpone this year’s Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and will look into the feasibility of organising it depending on the Covid-19 situation.

This was said by its minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during a press conference at D-Virtual Park here on Thursday (Jan 28).

“If we cannot organise RWMF this year, we will look into organising it virtually. However, organising a musical event on television screen would not be fun because you need the crowd and be able to enjoy the live atmosphere,” he said.

He also said the ministry will still proceed with the major events scheduled in the state tourism calendar such as the Kuching Jazz Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, and Miri Country Music Fest as well as sports events like the Spartan Race and Sarawak Games (Suksa).

“However, the planning of these events is guided by instructions from the government and Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), as well as on whether they should continue or not,” he stressed.

At the same time, he believed that the people should understand that this virus can never be totally eradicated from this world.

“Similar to when we were facing outbreaks like malaria, polio, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), we have to learn to live with it. What we have to work on is how to take care of ourselves.

“The governments, both state and federal, are also looking into ways to control this pandemic, with the vaccination programme for the people expected to take place soon. For Sarawak, it will begin end of next month.

“Once the situation has declined to a minimum level, I believe we can proceed with any programme,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdul Karim has urged hotel industry players to remain patient and persevered amidst the Covid-19 situation in the state.

He noted that the hotel industry was among the worst affected due to the pandemic and enforcement of movement restrictions.

“My only hope is for them to remain patient because other industries such as restaurant operators as well as travel and tour companies were also affected, especially those related to entertainment, lounges and so on. They all had to stop their business operation.

“Everybody is facing the same problem so we do hope those from these industries could persevere through this situation. Let us pray that this unprecedented problem would end this year,” he told

He was responding to the Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) Sarawak Chapter chairman John Teo’s recent statement who called for the state government to introduce its own wage subsidy and utilities discounts programmes to help the industry.

To this, Abdul Karim said although hotels in the state were affected quite badly last year, some of them have continued to operate as quarantine centres with the help of the state government.

“We used these designated hotels to place those entering the state from Malaya, Sabah, and Labuan so that they can undergo mandatory quarantine.

“This subsequently helped the hotels to ease their burdens in a way that they can still make profit. If we look closely at some of the hotels, they recorded higher number of occupancy than when before Covid-19 pandemic arrived,” he added.