KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal has assured the Chinese community that the new State Government would support Chinese traditional culture and education.
“The Sabah Government will continue to allocate funds to assist Chinese communities promote Chinese traditional culture such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year Dragon and Lion Dance Festival,” he said.
Shafie said this in his speech delivered by Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Junz Wong at the Gaya Street Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival 2019 organized by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) yesterday.
He said festivals in our multiracial and multicultural nation are celebrated by the rakyat irrespective of race and creed.
“The racial harmony we cherish is instrumental to ensuring national integration. To this end, the Gaya Street Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival is not only a celebration of Chinese culture, but also serves as a platform to promote a more understanding and tolerant society,” he said.
In addition, Shafie said the event allowed foreign tourists to experience the vibrant celebrations and festivals in Sabah.
He noted that the Mid-Autumn Festival or Mooncake Festival was a day of family reunion for Chinese communities.
“I strongly believe that this tradition is not only good for Chinese communities, but it is also good for all Malaysian communities. The Sabah Government strongly encourages all the communities in Sabah, irrespective of their religion and race, to maintain this tradition of family reunion.
On another note, Shafie said USCCAKK is an active association under the leadership of Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen, and she has successfully organized a series of Chinese cultural events.
He hoped that Susan and her association committee members would continue to organize Chinese festival events, not only to promote Chinese culture but also to promote tourism in Kota Kinabalu given that the city has become one of the top tourist destinations in Asia.
Meanwhile, Susan said the Gaya Street Mid-Autumn Lantern Festival was an ideal platform to celebrate cultural events with the people and tourists.
“The event is an opportunity for the people to learn more about our Chinese cultures, which in turn, promotes mutual understanding and harmony in our diverse society.”
She said the Mid-Autumn Festival was one of the four most important Chinese traditional celebrations. According to her, the Chinese believed that the moon was the roundest and brightest during Mid-Autumn.
“Apart from celebrating the year’s harvest, the festival and eating of mooncakes symbolize family reunion. The event also incorporates a lantern competition with the aim to preserve our traditional Mid-Autumn Festival customs,” she said.
Also present were Minister of Youth and Sports Sabah, Phoong Jin Zhe, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Jimmy Wong, Assistant Minister of Trade and Industries, Ben Chong, Assistant Minister of Education and Innovation, Jenifer Lasimbang, Kota Kinabalu member of parliament, Chan Foong Hin, Likas assemblyman, Tan Lee Fatt, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide, Mayor Datuk Nordin Siman, Sabah Tourism Board general manager, Noredah Othman, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) president cum Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah president, Tan Sri Dr T.C. Goh, United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Committees, Sabah (Sabah Dong Zong) chairman, Datuk Jimmy Yong Kyok Ming, USCCAKK deputy president, Datuk Chua Soon Ping, Sabah China Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) president, Datuk Frankie Liew, Huang Association of Malaysia president, Datuk Wong Ten An and Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta) president, Datuk Seri Winston Liaw.