His Majesty attends Sarawak Regatta
Hakim Hayat in Kuching

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday attended a vibrant Sarawak Regatta that brought together thousands of participants from within and beyond the region.

The final day of the annual event at the Kuching Waterfront saw the monarch, who was accompanied by Tun Tan Sri Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Haji Mahmud, Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak and his wife Toh Puan Sri Raghad Kurdi Taib, inaugurating the International Dragon Boat Race, which was participated by teams from Malaysia and other countries, including Brunei Darussalam.

Scenes of participants vigorously paddling in colourful boats, the roaring sounds of speedboats and the display of the city’s rich culture ensured a lively atmosphere.

Thousands of spectators lining the Kuching Waterfront were in for a pleasant surprise when His Majesty, together with the Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak, arrived on foot at the venue, which was only a five-minute walk from the Hilton Hotel where His Majesty was staying.

His Majesty was greeted by Sarawakian leaders led by Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Haji Adenan bin Haji Satem.

His Majesty consented to receive a ‘pesambah’, a locally-handcrafted dragon boat presented by the Minister responsible for the Sarawak Regatta 2014, Datuk Amar Abang Haji Abdul Rahman bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, Sarawak’s Minister of Housing and Minister of Tourism.

His Majesty witnessed the Brunei national team in action in the semi-finals of the International Dragon Boat Race, competing against paddlers from Sandakan and Thailand. The national team had to settle for third place and did not advance to the finals.

The Sarawak River roared into life with a host of other sports such as a swimming race and a unique duck-catching competition.

Later in the day, His Majesty, along with the Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak, boarded a cruise ship for a tour along the Sarawak River, while watching a special Diplomatic Dragon Boat Race.

Team ‘Cahaya Zain’, managed by the Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak emerged champions in the Diplomatic Dragon Boat Race category. His Majesty consented to hand over the champion’s trophy and prize to the Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak.

The monarch, together with the Yang Di-Pertua of Negeri Sarawak, then took a brief walk along the banks of the Sarawak River to the Hilton Hotel where His Majesty was hosted to a luncheon to conclude the visit.

The Sarawak Regatta has a long history which began in 1872 and highlights the cultural diversity of the communities in Sarawak which consist of various ethnic groups. The theme for this year’s regatta was ‘Race for the Harmony’, depicting the warmth and harmony of the people of Sarawak in welcoming visitors. - Borneo Bulletin (8 September 2014)