SEMATAN: The Kembara Kenali Borneo tour, which drew to a close in Telok Melano here, has left the people of the Land of the Hornbills with so many pleasant memories, especially those living in the tourist area located at the southern end of Sarawak.
The residents of Kampung Telok Melano, including the homestay owners along the coastal area, seized the opportunity to meet the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who graced the groundbreaking ceremony of Masjid Al-Sultan Abdullah there in conjunction with the tour.
The manager of the Melano Cottage homestay, 50-year-old Canida Bill was thrilled to bits in welcoming His Majesty to Kilometre Zero of the Pan Borneo Highway, Telok Melano Beach as early as 10am.
“I tried numerous times to shake hands with Tuanku and, finally, the fifth time was the charm and I managed to do it,” she said.
Canida also hoped that the next King would continue to hold such a tour to draw closer to the people of Sabah and Sarawak and become a “bridge” to connect the people from the Peninsula with those from the two states.
Telok Melano, which is about 140 kilometres (km) from Kuching, is the final stop of the Kembara Kenali Borneo tour and Al-Sultan Abdullah arrived there at 12.45pm.
Accompanying the King in the Kembali Kenali Borneo tour in Sarawak were His Majesty’s sons, the Regent of Pahang Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah; Tengku Panglima Raja Colonel Tengku Amir Nasser Ibrahim Shah and Tengku Ahmad Ismail Mu’adzam Shah.
Meanwhile, Siti Salmah Karem, who operates the Lentera Homestay Telok Melano, said the opportunity to witness the arrival of His Majesty there was like a dream come true.
Siti Salmah, who will turn 64 on Sept 20, described that precious moment as the most special birthday gift ever for her.
“I was excited to meet His Majesty and I even chose and ironed the dress that I wanted to wear today two days ago. Even my family from Kuching came down yesterday to jointly celebrate welcoming His Majesty,” said the mother of three.
Even the extremely hot weather at Telok Melano Beach today failed to deter the more than 500 people, comprising residents, students and traders from the area, from gathering to welcome the arrival of His Majesty and his sons.
The Kembara Kenali Borneo tour, which began on Sept 3 and aimed at fulfilling Al-Sultan Abdullah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah’s dream of getting closer to the people of Sabah and Sarawak, ended in Sabah on Sept 7 before entering Sarawak through Brunei. -Bernama