Anyone can hold Gawai Dayak celebrations, says Sarawak minister

Deputy Chief Minister James Masing (fourth from left) giving a toast during the Gawai Dayak celebration closing ceremony on Tuesday evening.

KUCHING: The Sarawak government says it has imposed no restrictions on any parties holding the Gawai Dayak celebration.

Deputy Chief Minister James Masing said the tuai rumah (longhouse chieftain) are free to invite anyone to their longhouse for any Gawai Dayak celebration.

“It’s their longhouse. They decide what they want to do with it. You want to hold a Gawai Dayak celebration, then it’s up to you to decide who you want to bring in.

“If the PH ministers want to come, then let them. They have the freedom,” he said when met after the Gawai Dayak celebration closing ceremony on Tuesday evening.

Masing said this following a series of visits by Pakatan Harapan leaders, who included DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo, to the longhouses during the Gawai Dayak celebration in Sarawak.

However, he said the state Gawai Dayak celebration is under the prerogative of the three Dayak NGOs, namely the Sarawak Dayak National Union, Dayak Bidayuh National Association and Orang Ulu National Association.

These NGOs were given the honour to organise the annual state Gawai since the celebration was recognised as a Dayak cultural festivity in the 1960s by the Sarawak government.