KUCHING: On the brink of the Lunar New Year, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has urged Sarawakians to go from strength to strength in embracing their differences and not letting it divide them.
“Our Sarawak is a place where the respective races are free to practice their culture, tradition, and religion without hindrance.
“We celebrate and find strength in our differences rather than letting them divide us. For us, diversity is beauty and strength, and not division,” he said in his Chinese New Year message released by his office on Wednesday.
He hoped that the festive season would be a time for the Chinese to indulge in simpler things and rekindle ties with family members and friends.
“Make it also a time for us to connect with one another and bring cheer to people who have less than us and those who are unfortunate in one way or another,” he said.
He described the Lunar New Year as a much-awaited occasion every year and that before the actual day, one cannot but feel and notice the anticipation in the air.
“Malls and shops are adorned with traditional decorations mainly in the colour red and we can see our Chinese friends busy around the house with their sprucing up, cleaning and painting,” he added.
Abang Johari said that in celebrating the New Year, it is timely to look back at the past where Sarawak’s multi-racial society was more closely-knitted in the way its people conduct their everyday lives.
“We played, went to picnic, frequent the same coffee shops and have fun together, not caring very much whether one is Malay, Chinese, Dayak or Orang Ulu.
“We must relive this spirit of togetherness and trust in each other in order for Sarawak to continue to be a harmonious and a happy place for all of us.
“I wish all our Chinese friends a happy Lunar New Year and may the New Year, which is Year of the Rat according to the Chinese Zodiac, bring prosperity, unity and good health to all of us in our beloved Land of the Hornbills,” he said.