By Jeremy Khalil on April 30, 2015


In conjunction with the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 or MyFest 2015, Labuan, located off the northwestern coast of Borneo and adjacent to the state of Sabah, held the Malaysia Water Festival – Labuan National Sea Challenge. Dubbed as the Pearl of Borneo, Labuan possesses beautiful islets surrounding its coasts and gorgeous scenery.

This year, the Labuan National Sea Challenge was held from 24 until 26 April at the Labuan International Sea Complex. This yearly event was at its 19th edition since it’s inception in 1997. This hallmark event was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in collaboration with the Labuan Corporation.

The Labuan National Sea Challenge received about 2,000 entries from both locals and international participants of different ages. The event offered participants to compete in activities such as the Labuan Cross Channel Swimming Competition and the Labuan Round Island Kayak Challenge.


This signature event attracted enthusiasts from all over the world such as Russia, France, Japan, Africa, and Netherlands, including Brunei and Indonesia. Many sea-lovers around the globe looked forward to this annual event.

The Cross Channel Swimming Competition tested the participants’ endurance by having them swim the distance of approximately 3 kilometres from the starting point at Labuan International Sea Complex to Papan Island and then back to the starting point. Cash prizes of almost RM10,000 were offered for this event, which is then divided into several categories.

Another activity that challenged the endurance and spirit of the participants was the Labuan Round Island Kayak Challenge. With the distance that covered up to 50 kilometres, the participants need to complete 5 check points with various obstacles, one of them requiring participants to paddle against sea current, which saw almost half of the participants gave up.

According to the Chairman of Labuan Corporation, YB Datuk Razman bin Datuk Haji Isli, Labuan is one of Malaysia’s tuna exporters and one of the major spots for angling. As such, it was fitting for the organisers to hold the Labuan Fishing Safari Competition as part of the Labuan National Sea Challenge that offered cash prizes up to RM40,500. Some types of fishes hauled during this competition were the Billfish, tuna and more.


For less physically demanding activities, there were also fun-filled beach activities to participate such as the Coastal Fishing Competition, Stand Up Paddle Competition, Sand Castle Building Competition, Slippery Pole Climbing Competition, Pillow Fight Competition and Tug Of War that offered prizes worth more than RM10,000.

There were also other events that catered for locals too such as the Voice of Labuan, Battle of the Bands, Children’s Colouring Contest and Creative Decoration, Sukan Rakyat Homestay and Collect Recyclable Items Competition. During the launch, Malaysian celebrities enlivened the event by staging a concert.

The Malaysia Water Festival in Labuan is an annual festival that helps promote Malaysia and Labuan to the eyes of the world. The activities lined up during the festival not only established goodwill between visitors and locals but also help to boost local economy.


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