BELURAN, May 14 — The noble values of culture and unity demonstrated in the Kaamatan Festival should be fostered by the Sabah Government leadership to strengthen cooperation, especially with regard to Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS),

Bersatu secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said GRS had succeeded in proving its capability in uniting the parties in the state with a common focus, namely to carry out their responsibilities in the best interest of the people.

“The Kaamatan Festival is able to strengthen the relationship between the people of various races and faiths, from what we see (learn) from the Kaamatan Festival is to strengthen our bonds,” he said when met by reporters after officiating the Kaamatan Festival celebration at the Beluran district-level here today.

GRS is comprised of Bersatu Sabah, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and United Sabah National Organisation (USNO), which collaborates with Barisan Nasional to govern Sabah.

Hamzah also hoped that the Kaamatan Festival could be further promoted at the international level, especially in an effort to attract foreign tourists to look at and experience the unique culture of Sabahans.

In another development, the Home Minister said his ministry would ensure the construction of a base to house the 20th Battalion of the General Operations Force (GOF) in Beluran would be realised as soon as possible.

The battalion currently operates from a rented building near Sandakan.

Meanwhile, Beluran MP Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee said the annual Kaamatan Festival, which was celebrated by all communities in Sabah, had succeeded in fostering unity and mutual respect among all levels of the society.

On the construction of the 20th PGA Battalion headquarters, Ronald welcomed the plan for it to be realised as soon as possible to ensure the smooth operation of the GOF and the safety of the community in the district.

“Beluran is exposed to the waters of the Sulu Sea, where it is vulnerable to security threats and needs to be protected,” said Ronald, who is also the Agriculture and Food Industries Minister. — Bernama