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‘Focus on similarities, not differences’ call
Published on: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
By: Mohd Izham Bin Hashim
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‘Focus on similarities, not differences’ call
Masidi seen during the ‘Lou Sang’ ceremony with the Macma members.
Kota Kinabalu: Fostering inclusivity and harmony in society is attainable by focusing on the similarities between people of diverse cultures, said Macma President, Datuk Tawfiq Yap Yan Hin. 

He noted Sabah’s blossoming multicultural harmony which serves as an example that should be emulated by other communities in the country. 

Tawfiq believes Sabah’s model can be emulated by other societies, where people can live together peacefully and harmoniously despite their differences and diverse cultures. 

“An effective way to create a harmonious multicultural society is to emphasise on similarities rather than differences between people of various cultures, ethnicities or religious backgrounds,” said Tawfiq when met by reporters after the Harmony Chinese New Year celebration organised by the Sabah Branch of the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma) at Hilton Hotel, here, recently.  

The dinner was attended by over 1,000 guests who were wowed by a medley of singing and a captivating glow-in-the-dark lion dance performance. The event was officiated by State Minister of Finance, Datuk Masidi Manjun.

Tawfiq underlined the focus on similarities is key to building bridges between diverse communities which promotes mutual respect for each other’s cultures, fosters unity and a brighter future together. 

“With this as the foundation, we can build a strong, united society that accepts each other’s differences,” he added. 

Tawfiq mentioned that besides promoting better understanding of religious institutions, the association aims to establish stronger connections between individuals from diverse cultures. 

Macma has over 1,000 members in Sabah, which is the largest membership of its total 5,000 members nationally. 

He also emphasised the importance of noble values in Chinese culture, such as encouraging family dinner gatherings. 

“Such activities not only provide the opportunity to reconnect, it also strengthen familial bonds and promote respect for the elderly which is also promoted in all faiths,” said Tawiq. 

On the proposed Sabah Chinese Muslim Cultural Centre, Tawfiq noted a suitable piece of land in Karamunsing which has been acquired for the project and will cost under RM10 million. 

Tawfiq said the Cultural Centre’s design will be influenced by Chinese culture and will also incorporate elements unique to Sabah’s native communities.

“The building will serve as a hub for individuals of different faiths and cultures to engage in various activities together,” said Tawfiq, who expressed hope the project can commence next year. Among those who attended the programme included President of Sabah Macma, Ritchie Jay Cheng. 

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