Abg Jo: S’wak to promote silat on the global stage
Posted on : 27 Feb 2023  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (third left) chewing betel leaf during the opening ceremony of the Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship. Also seen is Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (second left) and other officials. – Photo by Matthew Umpang

KUCHING (Feb 27): Sarawak will help promote silat as a professional sport so the martial art can be included in the world agenda, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said silat is no longer a sport at the kampung level nor is it only a game in Southeast Asian countries but a martial art recognised at the international level.

“People from countries in Europe and the Americas, for example, already recognise what the martial art is – hence, silat has become a global sport,” he said in his speech at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Sarawak Premier International Silat Championship at Stadium Perpaduan here tonight.

Commenting on the championship, he said that it has become the state government’s policy to reinvigorate sports activities for Sarawakians.

“Of course, silat is a sports event that the Sarawak government will continue to encourage – just like other sports activities.

“Therefore, we will always work with silat associations and schools to further fuel training and bring out the athletes who are international athletes born from Malaysia and Sarawak in this event,” he said.

Sarawak welcomes a total of 500 exponents from 11 countries and 10 local contingents in the championships which are being held now until Mar 5.

Among the countries that have confirmed their participation in the maiden competition are Brunei Darussalam, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Singapore, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and the United States of America.

“I would like to extend my welcome to all silat exponents from all over the world, particularly the 11 countries that have come all the way to Sarawak to perform and compete in this silat competition.

“Of course, there will be winners and losers but what is important is that the spirit of silat and discipline is there. Therefore, we can nurture this disciplinary culture in ourselves so we can pursue other human endeavours.

“While competing in this championship, do visit interesting places in Sarawak here and hopefully, it can strengthen the relationship of teacher and student,” he said.

Abang Johari also took the opportunity to congratulate the silat teachers, particularly those in Sarawak, who have made sacrifices to continue the culture of silat in the country.

He also expressed his hopes that those involved in silat will maintain the culture professionally and practise so they can become a champion at the international level, as silat is similar to other martial arts such as taekwondo, wushu and others.

“Let us all focus our attention on sports which are good for our endurance and also our culture,” he said.

The championship will also tie up with the Sarawak Arts Council to feature various interesting programmmes to light up the event, such as food and cultural festivals.

A total prize money of US$20,000 will be conferred to the overall team champion of the tournament.