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Sunday, December 30, 2018

Kaamatan, Gawai to be included in National Open House calendar

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and other dignitaries, including Sabah governor Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife, at the National Christmas Open House. (Bernama pic)
KOTA KINABALU: The federal government has decided to include Kaamatan and Gawai as part of Malaysia’s National Open House events.
Announcing this last night, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government realised the importance of maintaining unity and harmony among the people.
“For this reason, the government has decided to celebrate six major events at the national level, known as the Malaysia Open House day.
“These events are Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Kaamatan, Gawai, Deepavali and Christmas,” she said at the national-level Christmas open house here.
Kaamatan and Gawai are celebrated in Sabah and Sarawak respectively to mark the end of the harvest season.
Kaamatan is celebrated in the state on May 30 and 31.
Gawai, on the other hand, begins on May 31 and ends on June 1.
Wan Azizah said among the objectives of the Christmas open house was to promote unity and understanding among the multiracial society and to inspire the spirit of New Malaysia.
“It also aims to establish friendly relations between leaders and the people, and to highlight the tradition of celebrating Christmas,” she said.
She urged Malaysians to reject extreme elements which threatened unity.
Wan Azizah reminded the ‘rakyat’ that the government was doing all it could for the benefit of the people.
“The government will remain committed to ensure the needs and hopes of the citizens are fulfilled. This is not a talk-only government but one that works,” she said.
Meanwhile, in his speech, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said Sabah was able to resist efforts aimed at creating animosity among its multiracial society because the people have always succeeded in rising above extremist elements.
“I believe that this has got to do with the way of life in Sabah and the very fact that inter-ethnic and inter-religious marriages over the decades have bonded communities together and they now see themselves as one,” he said in his speech.
Shafie’s speech was read by Deputy Chief Minister Christina Liew, who is also Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister.
Shafie pointed out that lately, there had been various forms of extremists trying to disrupt the unity in Malaysia.
“I believe that as we herald in the new Malaysia, it is important for every Malaysian irrespective of their race and religion to celebrate our unity in diversity to develop and bring our country to greater heights.
“Race and religion have continuously been used by certain political parties to separate and create fear among the people.
“Sadly, as we see in some parts of our beloved Malaysia, this has created a certain degree of racial and religious distrust among some groups,” he said.
He urged the ‘rakyat’ to steer away from communal politics and work towards building a peaceful and harmonious Malaysia irrespective of location, religion and race.
Today, he said the Pakatan Harapan government at the national level and Warisan together with PKR, DAP and Upko in Sabah are working closely together to bring about a true sense of unity among Malaysians.
“We have promised to bring change and break away from the racially divisive policies of the previous government led by Umno.
“This pledge is already being fulfilled and we will continue to work on it to bring about the promised change, not only here in Sabah but in the country,” he added. - FMT

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