Abang Johari (front right) performs the eye-dotting ceremony on a dragon boat to open the Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Oct 27): Sarawak’s acquisition of MASwings would enable international visitors to fly directly here to attend feature events organised by state, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Speaking to the reporters after officiating at the Sarawak Regatta – Kuching Waterfront Festival today, Abang Johari said this year’s International Dragon Boat Regatta received an overwhelming response with 60 teams from 20 countries.

“Therefore, next year, there is a possibility that once the acquisition of MASwings is completed, we want to offer special chartered flights so that we can bring in these international participants for the dragon boat race and also promote Sarawak,” he said.

Abang Johari explained that the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts had to limit the number of international participants for this year’s event due to flight constraints.


The International Dragon Boat Regatta involves participants from 20 countries.

“I have just discussed with Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah that Sarawak may see an increase in festivals and the regatta is one of them.

“However, there were certain constraints. For instance, Spain wanted to send over 100 paddlers to participate in the event for the sake of sports,” he said.

This year’s three-day International Dragon Boat Regatta began yesterday, while the Sarawak Regatta will be held on Nov 3-5.

Other activities to be held during the Sarawak Regatta include the Sarawak Kitchen Festival and Borneo Textile Craft Sale, cultural performances, and Sarawak Malay Drum Competition.