The Borneo Native Festival will be happening at Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market from May 19 to 21, in conjunction with the Kaamatan and Gawai Festival. Supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, this initiative is organised by Sukaseni Kuala Lumpur and done in collaboration with Mycreative Venture and Sabah Tourism Board, with TikTok Malaysia as an official media partner.
The Borneo Native Festival aims to promote the culture of East Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur, cultivating the importance of Malaysian diversity among the people as well as boosting the domestic tourism sector. The festival is on its second year, with over 25,000 visitors dropping by back in 2022, and will consist of interesting competitions and events such as the Sape competition, beauty pageant, creative dance competitions, a cultural forum and the highlight, a Cultural Parade which will happen from Dataran Merdeka to Central Market on the 20th.
We had the chance to speak to the president of Sukaseni Kuala Lumpur, Raffy Syazwan to talk more about BNF and what festivalgoers can expect this year.
- What is the inspiration behind BNF? How did the festival come about?
The inspiration comes from looking at the numbers of Sarawakians and Sabahans here in Kuala Lumpur, with so much determination and struggle of sustaining livelihood, opportunities, and logistical encounters, and yet they are much more talented with so many skills to give.
The idea came about when we received many demands of our crafts and local products whether it’s textile, rattan goods, food or beverages from the people around here. It gives us the opportunity to promote what we have back in our homeland of Borneo. The festive togetherness of the festival brings more excitement as well as meaning for the community, as we could share a glimpse of the festive Gawai spirit with other Malaysians!
- What are some of the festivities festivalgoers can look forward to this year that they haven’t seen in Year 1’s?
It will be the parading session! It has never been done before at the scale we’re hoping to achieve! The troops comprise people of Sarawak and Sabah. With the involvement of the local universities and the public, we hope that they will add more excitement to the content. The aim is none other than to promote the diversity of Malaysia and support the initiative campaign rule by our Prime Minister with the tagline “Malaysia Madani”.
- What are your hopes for BNF in the future? In what ways do you hope to see BNF expand?
The hopes are high and impeccably executed! The participation of all Malaysians regardless of religion, culture, community, or age is what I am looking forward to.
For more information on the festival updates, follow BNF’s official social media platform (https://www.instagram.com/bnf.kl/)
Interested in joining the parade, register here!