SIBU: Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh called on Chinese clan associations to be tourism ambassadors for Sibu.
Speaking at the Teochew Cultural Concert hosted by Sibu Teochew Association at Sibu Gateway on Saturday, he said after the RM137 million renovation of Sibu International Airport last year, they would lobby for more incoming flights to help boost various growth factors in the town.
One of their targets was to bring in more tourists; the extra flights would be convenient for outstation workers and as investment opportunities increased, additional air routes would provide an efficient trade and business link.
“The Chinese clans, in particular, stand at an advantage in leading such roles because their members maintain a bond with clan members in ancestral homes in China.”
Wong, who is also Minister of Local Government and Community Development, wanted them to help promote Sarawak Technology College University.
He said the university would open in September, and he wanted them to introduce the university to foreign Chinese students.
On the Teochew Cultural Concert hosted in line with the Chinese New Year joy, Wong patted the clan on the back, saying members were innovative and creative in promoting cultural art.
He said their youth members had participated well.
“We want this spirit to live on. We want our young people to pass on our culture.”
Wong said Chinese New Year is the most important festival of the ethnic community, adding wherever the settlers went, they brought their cultural influence.
“In Malaysia, the Chinese have prospered for a few generations. All these years, we have not lost our cultural root. Today, Malaysia is the only country outside China, Hong Kong and Taiwan that has preserved the Chinese culture so completely.”
Wong gave a few reasons for this capability, citing the nation’s constitution as one that gave freedom to the people to live their way of life.
He said Malaysians were harmonious in nature, and this had made Malaysia a stable nation.