Penguang and Gerawat (back row, fourth and fifth right respectively) with pageant winner Chua, who is flanked by Benny on her right and Hong. Also in the group photo is Mackos (third right).
MARUDI: The organisation of ‘Sarawak Celebrates’ programme at every district is meant as a way to unite all communities in Sarawak through the sharing of four major festive occasions – the Chinese New Year, Gawai Dayak Festival, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Christmas.
The initiative, which kicks off this year, is one of the Key Result Areas (KRA) under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Solidarity, tagged as ‘Societal Wellbeing’.
However, Assistant Minister for Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil also hoped that nobody would misunderstand or come up with any negative perception about the ‘Sarawak Celebrates’ initiative.
“This (misunderstanding) may happen. For instance, I attended a Chinese New Year gathering hosted by the Hockien association, but I could not make it to a similar event hosted by a Foochow association. As a result, some irresponsible might spread rumours about me favouring one over the other.
“In the end, whatever good intentions behind such event would be marred by these accusations. This should not happen,” he said at the district-level ‘Sarawak Celebrates Chinese New Year 2017’ celebration in Baram Civic Centre near here on Sunday night, jointly organised by Marudi District Office and local Chinese associations.
Nevertheless Penguang – also Marudi assemblyman – praised all the Chinese associations here for coming together and sharing the festive joy with people from other communities.
“Tonight, members of the Baram Foochows, the Hakkas, the Hockiens, the Kwong Tungs and other clans celebrate the occasion with one another and also those from different racial, religious and social backgrounds.
“My thanks and praises to all the Chinese associations for such a tremendous cooperation.”
At the event, Penguang presented the official appointment letter the new Chinese Penghulu for Marudi, Lau Kah Lieng; while Mulu assemblyman Datuk Gerawat Gala presented the letter to new Chinese Kapitan for Lubok Nibong, Kapitan Tie Seong Teck.
Marudi District Officer and also the event organising chairman Mackos Sibong, Marudi District Council chairman Edward Mendai and Marudi police chief DSP Gabriel Risut were among the over 360 guests at the gathering.
The highlight of the night was the ‘Mrs Cheongsam Queen’ pageant, where 16 finalists paraded on stage wearing exquisitely designed cheongsams.
The crown went to Chua Siew Fong, while Benny Urai Anyi and Hong Ai Nieng were the respective first and second runners-up. Benny also clinched the ‘Best Catwalk’ subsidiary title – one of many given away that night.
The ‘Mrs Photogenic’ title was won by Chua Siew Fong, while Lai Ming Choo was ‘Mrs Most Popular’.
Later, Penguang and Gerawat each presented a RM3,500 grant for the running of the function.