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Upko's Christmas open house draws 5,000 in Ranau
Published on: Friday, December 27, 2019
By: Clarence GD


Tangau and others at the Upko Open House in Ranau.
RANAU: More than 5,000 people from various cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds attended the State-level Upko Christmas Open House 2019 at the community hall here on Wednesday.

The event was made merrier by the presence of Deputy Chief Minister cum Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Ranau Member of Parliament Jonathan Yasin, Ranau Division Upko Chief Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin and several State Cabinet Ministers.

Also present were Ranau Hakka Association President cum Chinese Kapitan Paginatan, Datuk Jimmy Tham Yuk Leong, and Kundasang Chinese Kapitan Yap Fook Loi.

Madius expressed gratitude and congratulated Upko Ranau for successfully organising the State-level Upko Christmas Open House.

Others present who congratulated Upko were its Deputy President Senator Datuk Donald Mojuntin, Rural Development Minister Datuk Ewon Benidect, Upko Central Women Head Datin Juliana Jni and Upko Central Youth Chief Felix Joseph Saang.

The event, which began at 10am until 2.30pm, was packed with Christmas song performances by invited artistes, choir performances and Christmas cake-cutting.

Meanwhile, the declaration of an additional public holiday on Dec 24 in conjunction with Christmas by the State Government this year has been met with gratitude among the people of the State.

Upko Youth Chief Felix Joseph Saang, 45, said the extra holiday, which was given for the first time, was meaningful to those celebrating the occasion.

“Today, we see many visitors to this Christmas Open House, which shows that in this country, especially in Sabah, we are very fortunate, that despite being from different religions, we celebrate Christmas Day together,” he said.

Medical assistant, Chyrill Gules John, said the extra day off gave him more time to spend Christmas with his family in Kampung Marakau.

Affectionately known as Aril, the 30-year-old who works at the Jalan Perak Health Clinic in Penang, makes it a point to return home for Christmas Day every year.

“Although I have only been in Penang for two years, I definitely plan to be with my family every Christmas, because it is more fun, and I can help them prepare for the celebration,” he said.

Nancy Lau, 40, who is from Keningau district, said it was fair that an extra holiday was allocated for Christmas as other festivals were given two days’ holiday, and this year’s Christmas celebration felt more festive.

She said the two-day holiday allowed her to come to Ranau to meet her friends and celebrate Christmas together, as well as share the joy with other members of the community.

On Dec 11, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal announced Dec 24 as an additional public holiday in conjunction with the Christmas celebrations, beginning this year.

 



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