Monday, February 17

Charity dinner to raise RM1 mln for China coronavirus victims

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Front row, from fifth left: Lim, Lui, Foo, Lo, Soh, Liang, Christina, Junz, Goh, Frankie, Lau, Hwong and other guests at the Chinese New Year dinner.

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government is aiming to raise at least RM1 million in the upcoming charity dinner in aid of the victims of the novel coronavirus in China.

The fund-raising dinner, dubbed ‘We Care’, will be held at Hakka Hall on February 18.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the Sabah had enjoyed a cordial relationship and close friendship with China.

Compared to China, Liew, who is also the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, said Sabah had limited resources but the State Government would do what it could to assist victims of the coronavirus.

“We will be organizing a charity dinner with 1,000 guests on February 18.

“Our goal is to raise RM1 million for the Red Cross Society of China,” she said when gracing the Sabah China Chamber of Commerce (SCCC) Chinese New Year dinner here on Monday.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment has formed a special committee with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the State for the fund-raising dinner.

The special committee is co-chaired by Liew and the Federation of the Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) president Tan Sri Dr TC Goh.

Meanwhile, Goh, who is also the president of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong), said the State Government had made the right call in suspending incoming flights from China to Sabah in retrospect.

He said the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, Liang Caide, had expressed his disappointment while China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, was also saddened by the State Government’s decision to bar direct flights from China from entering Sabah.

“I hope they understand the reason for the State Government’s decision.

“In retrospect, the State Government had made the right call because we did not know the extent or severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak then.

“The State Government had to make the painful decision to protect the people of Sabah.”

Goh acknowledged that there were pros and cons in the temporary flight suspension.

Nevertheless, he said Malaysian Chinese regarded China as their ancestral home and people of Sabah would support China in the face of adversity.

“We hope to complete the mission together with the State Government in organizing the fund-raising dinner to show our support for China.”

He added that the dinner was held in collaboration with SCCC, Sabah United Chinese Chambers of Commerce (SUCCC), United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK), Kota Kinabalu Hokkien Association and Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Satta).

Also present were Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Junz Wong, SCCC president Datuk Frankie Liew, honorary advisors Tan Sri Joseph Lo, Tan Sri Paul Lim, Datuk Lau Kok Sing, Datuk Clement Yeh, Datuk James Hwong, Datuk Harry Teo, Dato’ Wilson Yong, Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) president Datuk Michael Lui, SCCC deputy president Datuk Soh Poh Soon, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Sabah branch president Michael Chin and Small and Medium Enterprise Association of Sabah (SME Sabah) president Foo Ngee Kee.