PENAMPANG: Hundreds of people, in their traditional costumes, flocked the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) building here to celebrate the end of the harvest festival.

At the event today, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman cut the paddy as a symbol of harvest and hit the traditional gong to close the state-level Kaamatan Festival.

He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister and Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun Paramount Leader), Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yahya Hussein and Sabah Tourism, Culture, Environment Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.

Earlier in his speech, Musa announced the state government has approved RM1 million allocation to upgrade and repair KDCA building.

"I urge the people of Sabah, regardless of their cultural differences, to continue support the government so efforts to develop the state can be successfully implemented," he said.

Musa also hoped the Kaamatan festival would continue to be a catalyst for inspiration and strength to the people in ensuring stability, peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, Pairin said Kaamatan, like other cultural celebrations, was a season of forgiveness and urged the people to respect one another and remain united.

"The harvest festival has proven that the culture is still progresive and has ignored the difference in politics, etchnicity, and religions. It has even strengthen the spirit of 1Malaysia," he said.

Kaamatan festival will end with the prestige Unduk Ngadau, which depicts the legendary figure, Huminodun, a maiden who was sacrificed by her father, Kinoingan, to save the people from famine and have a bountiful harvest.

Forty-four Kadazandusun lass across the state will be making appearance on the main stage to vie for the Unduk Ngadau crown and carry the role of Huminodun.

The most awaited pageant among the locals is scheduled to end at 5pm.

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Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (centre) at the state-level Kaamatan Festival at Penampang, Sabah. Pix by Malai Rosmah Tuah