Published on: Sunday, February 03, 2013
"Our Chief Minister is an open-minded leader and this is proven with the big annual allocation for the Chinese schools, temples, churches as well as non-governmental organisations.
"Apart from that, the State Government has also been giving annual contributions of lion heads to us and associations.
Besides providing funding, the State Government also gave assistance such as allocating land to build temples and cemeteries," he said.
In his welcoming speech at the Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival in conjunction with the 2013 Chinese New Year at the Padang Merdeka, Saturday, Lim said under the leadership of Musa who is also State Finance Minister, Sabah had been acknowledged by the Audit and Malaysia Assessment Services as among the states with the best financial management.
In this respect, the USCCA, which comprises 15 associations from around the State Capital and with about 20,000 members is the biggest association here, thanked Musa and the State Government for the contributions.
On another note, Lim said USCCA had been organising the Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Festival as well as other events such as the Dragon Boat race, Moon Cake Festival and many others for quite a number of years.
Since all these events required a big amount of funds, he hoped the Chief Minister would consider listing the USCCA as one of the recipients of the annual grant from the State Government in order to lessen its burden.
For the Festival, he said the participating troupes came not only from the surrounding area of the city but also from the interior.
In reply, Musa assured that the State Government would consider the USCCA's request for funding to make up for some of the cost of bringing teams to Kota Kinabalu for this Festival.
He said age-old cultural festivities like the dragon, unicorn and lion dance are not only popular among locals, but have become an attraction for tourists keen to learn and experience Malaysia's diversity.
"We must not allow modernity and progress to turn us away from appreciating and further strengthening our respective cultures.
"There is a lot of wisdom in culture, and we can tap into the many lessons that culture offers us including unity, sustainable ways of life, protection of natural resources and preservation of ethnic languages," he said.
The Chief Minister said the Chinese New Year celebration that is just round the corner is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about one another, and to celebrate diversity, instead of viewing it as an obstacle.
"Sabah is a showcase of 1Malaysia, and it is my hope that the harmony and understanding we have today will continue to prevail.
"We are blessed to live in a peaceful nation, and one that allows everyone to earn a living regardless of background or location.
Improvements are constantly made for the benefit of the people, and we continue to listen to feedback in order to address issues.
Let us remain united as we move into the future," he said.
In this respect, Musa said Sabah and the people were grateful to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his sensitivity towards the State's needs by continuously providing priority to its development as reflected by the big funding in the National Budget each year.
About 20,000 people thronged Padang Merdeka to see the opening of the festival participated by 86 Dragon, Unicorn and Lion dance troupes.
Musa also beat the drum together with Chinese political, business and community leaders at the centre stage.