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Grand Chinese New Year, Christmas events starting this year: Hajiji
Published on: Tuesday, February 13, 2024
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Grand Chinese New Year, Christmas events starting this year: Hajiji
Juhar (middle), Norlidah, Hajiji and others at the Yee Sang ceremony.
Kota Kinabalu: The State Government will organise state-level celebrations for Chinese New Year and Christmas starting this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS)-led government has resolved to have these two celebrations organised by the state, similar to Aidilfitri and Pesta Kaamatan celebrations as a testament to the state’s dedication to ensuring equality for all celebrations, irrespective of ethnicity or religion. 

“Open houses for all celebrations should foster unity and collaboration among the diverse ethnic and religious communities in the state,” he said at a Chinese New Year 2024 open house for Sandakan district.

The event was organised by the Tanjong Papat State Assemblyman’s Office in collaboration with the Sandakan Municipal Council.

Hajiji also called on the people to work closely with the state government to realise the objectives outlined in the Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) development plan. 

“This plan, initiated in 2021, is currently progressing well and with sustained backing from the people, the state’s economy is poised for further growth, consequently drawing increased interest from potential investors to invest in Sabah. 

“Our primary focus remains on advancing the state development and improving the welfare of the people through economic initiatives,” he said adding that if the momentum is maintained, more programmes could be implemented to enhance the well-being of the people. 

In KOTA  KINABALU, more than 10,000 people from all walks of life thronged the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) to join in the Chinese New Year Open House celebration organised by the State Government and Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) on Saturday.

Head of State Tun Datuk Seri Panglima (Dr) Haji Juhar Datuk Haji Mahiruddin and His Consort, Toh Puan Datuk Seri Panglima (Dr) Hajah Norlidah Tan Sri Datuk R.M. Jasni graced the auspicious occasion, together with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and his wife, Datuk Juliah Salag.  

Juhar and Norlidah distributed “ang pows” to members of the Sabah Association of Senior Citizens, and Persatuan Kecergasan dan Pembangunan Orang Tua Kota Kinabalu (Koat).

Organising Chairman Datuk Christina Liew, who is also State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, described the celebration as one with a difference. 

She said the presence of about 400 people from 38 native ethnic groups in Sabah clad in their respective traditional costumes, added to the festive atmosphere, not to mention those of 15 Chinese clan associations as well as several hundred international tourists. 

Among the guests were Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu Dr Huang Shifang, Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, Bapa Rafail, Federal Secretary to Sabah Dato’ Makhzan Mahyuddin, Sabah’s Deputy Speakers Datuk Al Hambra Tun Juhar and Datuk Richard Yong, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Datuk Mustapha Sakmud and Deputy Minister of Plantations and Commodities Datuk Chan Foong Hin.

Also present were State Secretary Datuk Ir Safar Untong, Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Ir Shahelmey Yahya, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam, Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, Minister of Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Datuk Ginger Phoong, Minister of Rural Development Datuk Jahid Jahim, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Mohd Arifin Mohd Arif, President of FCAS Tan Sri T.C. Goh, and President of the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK), Datuk Susan Wong.

“The State Government is putting its heart into the celebration because we want to be with the people. With the people’s support as reflected in their overwhelming response to government-organised events, we will celebrate every single festival, including Hari Raya, Pesta Kaamatan and Christmas, on a big scale from now onwards.

“This is the beauty of Sabah where all communities, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion, congregate under one roof to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and other fests,” she said.

Highlight of the celebration included dances staged by 75 lions, unicorns and dragons, a firecrackers display, a welcoming dance by the Sabah Cultural Board depicting the racial and cultural diversity of Sabah, Yee Sang (or Prosperity Toss) ceremony, cultural dances by secondary school students, and an impressive instrumental performance by 14-year-old budding saxophonist Zara Goh Flintoft.

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