KUCHING: Thousands of people from all walks of life flocked to Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.
Abang Johari and his wife Datin Amar Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang welcomed visitors to the open house on the first and second days of the festival.
On both days the crowd began queuing up well before the doors opened at 10am.
Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud headed the list of guests on the second day, arriving at 12.30pm with his wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib.
Other visitors included state and Federal ministers, assemblymen, community leaders and foreign students.
They were served a wide range of Raya delicacies and local dishes including lemang, rendang, Sarawak laksa and kek lapis.
On stage, a live band entertained the crowd with Raya songs.
PhD student Abdul Kadir Lawan, 28, from Nigeria said the open house was “amazing and colourful”.
“This is my first time attending an open house in Sarawak although I’ve had a taste of the hospitality in peninsular Malaysia before.
“What I enjoy most is the warmth of the people, they are very inviting. It’s a really nice attiude and makes people feel welcome,” he said.
He added that there were similarities in celebrating Aidilfitri in Malaysia and Nigeria.
“Having food is common, the smiles are common. We also wear cultural attire and visit people’s homes.”
For fellow student Marouf Marajabov, 22, from Tajikistan, the open house was a new experience.
“It’s very nice. The best thing is the welcoming people and the variety of food.
“In my country we don’t have this. We would go for prayers, then go to our families and relatives,” he said.