This year’s Sejiwa Senada (One Soul, One Beat) programme in Sarawak got off to a flying start in January, with more than 30,000 adults and children enjoying the opening three-day event in Miri and similar crowds turning out for the second stage in Sibu, despite poor weather.

The initiative is aimed at building a closer relationship between the people of Sarawak and their government by providing information about recent policies and reforms and offering a wide range of enjoyable events, contests and community activities.

The Sejiwa Senada days include unusual attractions such as street soccer, 3-on-3 basketball and flower arranging competitions, wall climbing challenges and motor shows featuring exotic and highly customised cars.

In Sibu, a thousand local people took to the streets for a Walk A Mile event and the Sejiwa Senada run, defying the pouring rain, while more than 150 pre-school children showed off their budding artistic potential in a keenly-contested colouring competition.

Organisers believe the Sejiwa Senada programme will have reached up to 200,000 people in six major centres across Sarawak. After the Miri and Sibu events, the focus switched to Mukah, Saratok and Sarikei, with the final celebrations in Kapit in early March.

Alongside the fun and games, the programme also fulfilled the more serious role of explaining recent government investments and initiatives and illustrating their significance for ordinary people in Sarawak. Updates were provided about major projects, like the construction and improvement schemes for the Pan-Borneo Highway, and about key issues like the state government’s determined efforts to crack down on illegal logging.

There was also information about a number of recent policy changes that directly affect the day-to-day lives of people throughout Sarawak, such as the decision to abolish road tolls and the introduction of lower electricity tariffs.