MIRI: A grander 7th Miri City Christmas Parade attracted over 30,000 people from all walks of life, including marching participants from 15 churches.
Among the crowd was Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong, who represented the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, in officiating the Christmas parade which lasted from 6pm until 11pm.
Also present were Assistant Minister for Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, state elected representatives, Miri MP Dr Michael Teo, assemblymen for Piasau and Pujut respectively, Alan Ling and Fong Pau Teck, Deputy Resident Imang Oyo Imang, Miri City Mayor Lawrence Lai Yew Son, Bishop of Miri Diocese Rt Rev Richard Ng and parade organizing chairman Pastor Semilee Tajau (Seventh Day Adventist Church).
The Fiat Youth of the Roman Catholic kick off the parade with ‘Praise and Worship’, followed by collection of Love Gift in the form of donations from the parade participants, with the collection going to selected charitable bodies.
It was preceded by an opening dance by internationally acclaimed Miri’s very own dance troupe, Sangar Budaya, followed by speeches and then the procession by the 15 churches and the public.
The procession started at the Miri City Fan and wound through several roads in Miri City – Sylvia, Brooke, Kingsway, Puchong, Padang, Melayu, Nakhoda Gampar, Cina, Bendahara, North Yu Seng, South Yu Seng, Merpati, Kipas roads – and back to Miri City Fan.
The procession saw praise and worship from the churches, concert and performances by the participating churches.
Themed “Emmanuel – God With Us”, the annual Christmas Parade gathers Christians in Miri to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, which falls on Dec 25, apart from promoting and showcasing 1Malaysia concept in Miri City and fosters a closer rapport between Christians and other communities.
Mayor Lawrence Lai said this year’s Christmas Parade was special and for the first time opposition elected representatives were invited to attend.
He said in line with the celebration theme, “If God is truly with us and God in our hearts’ then we believe God will not want to see us bring politics into our religion and our faith and politicize our Christmas Parade. Christmas is a happy celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ bringing the message of Peace On Earth and goodwill and forgiveness of all mankind”.
He added the people in Sarawak also believed that religions (including Christianity should not involve politics. Similarly politics should not involve religions.
“Thus in the spirit of 1Malaysia, let us enjoy freedom of worship of our own chosen religions and faith without being politicized or interference from other different religions.
Meanwhile, among participants interviewed, Cheyenne Moris and Geralding Mathe were very happy that the annual parade is carried out every year and getting bigger.
“It is a very joyous moment to share and we in the family really want to make it also memorable and special and that is why I specially designed my son’s baby stroller for the parade,” said Cheyenne.
To Geraldine of the Catholic Church, “it is a great opportunity to join in the worship and praise to God together with other denominations”.