Tiong: Temple celebration symbolises Sarawak’s harmonious society

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Teo (second left) burns one of the incense poles to mark the start of the celebration, as Lau (fourth left) and others look on.

SIBU (Nov 18): Persatuan Penganut Da Wang Gong Salim Zone 3 celebrated the 121st birthday of its Da Wang Gong deity at the Jalan Kong Yit Khim temple here yesterday.

In his speech for the event, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing hailed the celebration as ‘a symbol of gratitude, harmony, well-being and blessings for the local community’.

“I have been told that among the objectives of this celebration is to promote your association, along with the temple, as a tourism destination.

“The aim is to bring about socio-economic changes among the local people in Sibu.

“Sarawak, renowned for its unique blend of cultures and religions, stands out as a harmonious society where beliefs and religions coexist without causing tension.

“The freedom of religious practices is not only upheld, but also celebrated,” he said in his text, which was delivered by Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) Dudong division chairman Datuk Teo Boon Siew.

Tiong, who is Bintulu MP and also Dudong assemblyman, said it was for this very reason that the Sarawak government established the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) in 2017, meant to provide financial support to the temples, churches and other places of worship for non-Muslims in the state.

He added that towards this end, the government had allocated a total of RM333,118,000 to Unifor since 2017.

Meanwhile Temenggong Vincent Lau, who was among the dignitaries present, called upon the local community to work together and show their support meant to facilitate the association in completing the construction of the new temple.