IPOH: The participation of the royalty at state celebrations has helped to foster closer relations among the various ethnic groups, said Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali.
Perak is a state which is liberal and multi-racial. The royalty has always been liberal on the various cultures and religions in the state and without their participation, functions cannot be made possible,'' he said at the first state-level Christmas celebrations at the town hall here on Monday night.
Also present were Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik, Datuk Bandar Sirajuddin Salleh, organising chairman of the celebration Datuk Lee Oi Hian and executive councillors.
About 1,000 people attended the function. Among the highlights was the cutting of a 4m-high cake by Raja Nazrin. The cake, in the shape of a Christmas tree, weighed 250kg
Tajol Rosli said peace and harmony could only be achieved if the people were united and reject terrorism and confrontation among countries, races and ethnic groups.
He promised that future state-level Christmas celebrations would be held on a large scale.
Dr Ling said Malaysia was made up of a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and bilingual society of people practising the same values.
He said Malaysians who were once living in a conflict-prone society were now living in harmony.
Our forefathers came from different backgrounds. They spoke different languages. Some ate chilly while some did not. Some ate with fingers while others ate with chopsticks.
When the British brought a few ethnic groups to Malaysia, they kept them apart from the indigenous people.
The Indians were brought to work in the estates and railways, the Chinese to mine tin while the Malays were kept in the rural areas.
Then from the position of no contact they were brought to positions of contact (with one another).
Today, through the new economic policy and policies such as having people of various races living together in housing estates to learn, play, share, enjoy and care for each other, we have reached a stage of coalescence into one common society.
And this is what we and the Government have been building since the day of independence, he added.
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