“This is because the river is still the source of raw water for the Water Department at the intake of Kasigui and Madsiang,” she said when opening the Decorated Raft Festival at Kg Tuaui, here.
She appreciated the initiative of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Clear which started the festival six years ago with only a few villages participating.
“When I was invited to officiate it, I found their efforts were genuine and productive.
“During the gotong-royong to clean up the river last year, we found all the rubbish came from people staying in town, housing areas and houses at the banks of the river. In fact, they were throwing in bottles while we were clearing the river,” she said.
She reminded the call by State Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister to revive the river until people can swim in it.
She said the Ministries had given an allocation which enabled seven kampungs to have their own river jetties where they can hold their tamu and the raft rides can be turned into a tourism attraction, with the collection of a small fee.
She said the river route for the festival this year was cleared by the Drainage and Irrigation Department.
“So, in the future the villagers can even have tamu on water, for example using the rafts,” she said.
She suggested introducing local dishes that are the identities of their villages. “Our dream is for the district to have tourism attraction based on the festival.”
She announced that on the second day today (Sunday), several government departments involved would have exhibition booths providing an opportunity for people to ask how to apply for a trading licence and a stall, and invited the public to attend.