THE spirit of harmony reigned during a Chinese New Year open house at Penang Harmony Centre.
Some 100 Chinese Muslims and non-Muslims attended the event organised by Penang Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma), Penang Harmony Corporation and the state Islamic Religious Affairs Department.
Nur Marina Ling Abdullah, 38, said the event created a festive mood among the community after two years of restrictions because of the pandemic.
“This is a happy occasion. It has been a while since we were able to hold events to celebrate festivals,” said Nur Marina who has been a Muslim convert for more than 10 years.
Housewife Juraini Saidin, 41, attended with her son and two daughters. Her husband is a Penang Macma member.
She was happy to see her children celebrating Chinese New Year and said the open house helped to foster unity among Penangites of different races and religions.
Her son Muhammad Danish Mikail Lee, 14, was thankful he could celebrate Chinese New Year with the community.
“I hope Covid-19 can be controlled so we can also celebrate Hari Raya Puasa soon,” said the Form Two student of SMK Tun Hussein Onn in Seberang Jaya.
Guests were treated to a lion dance and they enjoyed dishes such as halal wantan mee and halal loh bak.
Among the guests of honour were Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin, Penang social development and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Chong Eng, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, Teluk Bahang assemblyman Zolkifly Md Lazim and Penang Macma chairman Muhammad Faiz Ghan Abdullah.
In his speech, Ahmad said that the event was in line with the Penang2030 vision of building a harmonious society.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Faiz said the open house was aimed at fostering togetherness.
“Although we are of different religions and races, God has taught us to get to know and love each other,” he said.
The event was held with standard operating procedures in place.