Simanggang Folk Disappointed Not Meeting King But Understand Predicament

SIMANGGANG: The residents of the town of Simanggang, though disappointed at not meeting Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, understand the time constraint faced by Their Majesties.

A Bernama survey at the Bandar Sri Aman Mosque and Fort Alice here, which was supposed to be a stopover destination of the Kembali Kenali Borneo convoy, was full of people waiting for the arrival of the royal couple.

The joyous atmosphere, however, turned gloomy when the emcee announced that Their Majesties could not make it there and would continue with their journey to Kuching due to time constraints.

Former soldier Joshua Wilson Nabi, 66, who had been waiting patiently since 7.30 am in a complete traditional Iban outfit, admitted to feeling a little disappointed but was quick to  point out that he understood that Al-Sultan Abdullah may be tired after driving for such a long distance.

“We hope that next time, even when His Majesty is no longer the King, Tuanku will come and spend a night here, perhaps when there is a celebration like the Benak festival (Tidal Bore Festival celebrated annually in Simanggang).

“We also understand that Sarawak is not a small state. It’s the same size as the Peninsula and the distance from one place to another is really far,” he told Bernama.

His Majesty and his entourage will continue their journey to Kuching before heading to the closing of the programme and the State Banquet tonight.

Meanwhile, 54-year-old Halimah Edin, who left home as early as 9 am, was full of praise for Al-Sultan Abdullah’s passion to drive on his own throughout the tour.

“We understand Tuanku also drove very far and maybe Tuanku is tired… pity Tuanku, really great for driving until Kuching,” she said.

Tomorrow, Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Azizah will wrap up the Sarawak-leg of the Kembali Kenali Borneo tour covering a distance of 1,194 kilometres (km) by travelling to Telok Melano, the starting point of the Sarawak Pan Borneo Highway before returning to Kuching and flying home to Kuala Lumpur.

The tour from Sept 3 to 13 started in Tawau, Sabah and will end in Telok Melano, Sematan, Sarawak, a distance of 2,154 km along the Pan Borneo Highway that connects Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei. – Bernama

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