SEMPORNA, April 23 (Bernama) -- The Lepa Regatta Festival can give a lot of benefits and positive impacts on the economy, particularly in the state's tourism industry, said Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
As such, he said the state government had always been supportive of efforts and initiatives by every district to highlight their unique cultures and traditions, as well as that extra something they acquired.
"Therefore, the state government had allocated a budget for this year's regatta through an agency under the Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry.
"Despite the slow economy and prudent expenditure, the state government remained committed in funding this festival every year," he said in a speech text read by state Finance Assistant Minister Datuk Ramlee Marhaban at the launch of the 23rd Lepa Regatta, here Saturday.
The festival was officiated by the Yang DiPertua Negeri, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
Musa said the festival which had its own uniqueness and significance was not only celebrated by the Bajau community in the area but the excitement and its uniqueness were enjoyed and celebrated by people from all walks of life in the country.
"This festival had attracted many tourists from inside and outside Sabah, especially those in Semporna. In my opinion, this festival is the Bajau's legacy and it should be preserved," he said.
At the same time, Musa also welcomed the initiative by the organiser for being creative in the festival's itinerary that included an international seminar on the history and culture of the Bajau community.
"This international seminar was very timely as these efforts would provide knowledge and give a broad academic exposure," he added.