07 August 2019


Selangor’s unique core in cultural tourism impresses global eyes

The Selangor State Government together and Tourism Selangor, with the support from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture organised Selangor International Indigenous Arts Festival (SIIAF) 2019 from 3 to 4 August 2019 on the lush grounds of the National Botanical Park, Shah Alam.

This year’s edition of SIIAF was bigger and better than ever before. Tourism Selangor held the honour to exclusively welcome almost 130 Indigenous people from 10 domestic and international tribes! All of whom were specially invited from their home states and countries to SIIAF 2019.

Local and international guests

The festival showcased the rich and diverse cultures of Malaysia’s indigenous tribes through cultural dance performances performed by the Mah Meri and Temuan tribes from Selangor, Semai tribe from Perak, Seletar tribe from Johor, and the Borneo Sabah and Sarawak tribe. One of the most unforgettable performances was by the Mah Meri tribe with their amazing Masked Dance performance.

What was more compelling were the international indigenous tribes from Comoros, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei, and South Korea who were invited from their countries. Locals got to learn and have a closer look on their customs, cultures, traditional attires, art pieces, crafts and languages, and to watch them perform live.

An initiative to connect

Every year, Tourism Selangor takes the initiative to elevate indigenous arts through a dedicated platform that connects city-dwellers with the Indigenous tribes from Malaysia and overseas, bringing the former up-close-and-personal with the way of lives of the latter.

SIIAF is one of the initiatives to elevate and preserve pure gems of Selangor, and the indigenous people who are still practising their unique traditional cultures and customs, despite the availability of modern technology. SIIAF 2019 was right-up-the-alley in establishing the State of Selangor as a preferred tourist destination with one of its core strengths in cultural tourism, focusing on the diverse cultures and the arts. The glorious annual event is no stranger to foreign media, as its uniqueness in cultural focus entices global attention, providing exposure to Selangor’s hidden gems in particular.


Visitors of the event were taking pictures at the special set-up of the Indigenous Handicraft and the Indigenous Traditional Villages, for that perfect Instagram post. This year Tourism Selangor added the fifth house of the Pribumi tribe at the venue. The four existing houses represent the previous editions of SIIAF respectively; with one house added for each year. These houses were built to replicate the exact design the respective tribes use at their villages.

On top of that, visitors got to participate in the amazing traditional Kerchang Game Puzzle, while special indigenous traditional weaving, blowpipe demonstration and communal cooking were among the other activities that attracted attention. Visitors were also able to indulge in a vast selection of traditional cuisines of domestic and international indigenous tribes at the Traditional Indigenous Food Exhibition, brought by Malaysia Orang Asli Development Association (MOADA).

Among other attractions at SIIAF 2019 include a Photo Gallery Exhibition: Thousand Faces Of The Indigenous which featured photographs of the Indigenous people in Malaysia and the world. Art lovers and collectors seemed to enjoy taking a stroll down the Borneo Street Market set-up by Sabah Sarawak KL Heritage Association for hand-made indigenous crafts such as beautiful paintings, women’s accessories, and clothing.

The winners of Miss Cosmopolitan World from Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia and Russia were also there for meet-and-and greet sessions!

ROAR 2019

The motley two-day event was carried out in conjunction with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People which falls in August each year. Impressively, this year marked the fifth edition of the annual event. In efforts of bringing more hype to SIAAF 2019, the Recreational Orang Asal Run (ROAR) 2019 made its debut on 4 August at the same venue. The 5km fun run received quite an overwhelming response with over 600 participants for its first installation. The figure is set to show a steady increment if the fun run continues to become an added feature to SIIAF in the coming years.

Both events trailed down to the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 Campaign organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, on which a special section was set-up for the visitors to obtain information on the campaign and its arranged activities.

A success story

SIIAF 2019 in giving pride and global exposure to the Indigenous Arts; was perfect for the public who wished to explore the uniqueness of indigenous cultures without having to trail down rural places. Hence, it is not surprising that the event draws a large number of visitors during each inception. The previous year alone, it attracted more than 7,000 visitors, and this year’s edition managed to gather 10,000 visitors who were taken on an experience of a lifetime.