Pitas to host 16-day Chinese New Year Festival

KOTA KINABALU — Pitas is poised to take a global breakthrough with many record-breaking attempts planned for its upcoming Chinese New Year Festival Celebration.

In 2016, the remote district was acknowledged by the Malaysia Book of Records for orchestrating the Longest Non-stop Chinese New Year Events Celebrations, spanning 168 hours of continuous festivities.

Pitas returns with its longest Chinese New Year celebration this year, with a day set aside to break six records.

The organising committee led by Asdi @ Mohd Faizal Hussin, who represented the district officer, had recently met with Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai to brief him on the 16-day event starting Feb 9.

Sabah Tourism Board chief executive officer Julinus Jeffrey Jimit was also present.

Among the Asia and World record-breaking attempts are non-stop traditional music by the Kimaragang ethnic group, bamboo walking with most participants by the Tombonuo ethnic group, and the longest silat performance with the most participants.

Joniston praised Pitas for its continuous dedication, stating that the Chinese New Year celebration not only fills the Pitas community with pride but also holds the potential to enhance the district’s long-term economic well-being.

“We want to see Pitas flourish as a tourism destination despite its reputation as one of Sabah’s poorest districts, and the Sabah Tourism Board is committed to helping the district identify and promote its unique products or events.

“We also suggest that the organiser invite tourism players in Pitas to actively participate in showcasing their products.

“This, in turn, would raise visitors’ awareness and promote interest in the tourism attractions available for them to explore,” Joniston said, adding Pitas possesses a wealth of cultural tourism richness awaiting exploration amidst economic challenges.

An outstanding demonstration of resilience by this remote district despite economic hurdles has been its consistent organisation of Chinese New Year festivities since 1969, adding vibrancy to its cultural landscape.

This remarkable accomplishment, which many people are unaware of, highlights the district’s commitment to preserving and promoting its rich cultural legacy.

Meanwhile, Asdi said the event was short-lived last year because of the heavy downpours that prompted its cancellation.

“Our return this year is even more exciting than before with an extensive line-up of exciting activities and with officials from the Asia and World Book of Records to evaluate our record attempts,” he said.

Throughout the 16-day festival, attendees can engage in various activities such as singing contests, beauty pageants, songwriting competitions, fashion shows, a battle of the bands, and a creative ethnic dance competition.

— Borneo Post