KOTA KINABALU: Overcast skies and intermittent rains had failed to dampen the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations here in Sabah.
Scores of people from all walks of life braved the drizzle to stream to Istana Negeri to attend the open house Yang Di Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and his wife Toh Puan Norlidah Jasni here.
Among the important guests were Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman, members of cabinet and other senior state civil and federal civil servants as people walked up to the Istana to be treated to a Raya fair.
“It is my chance to greet our Yang DiPertua Negeri and also see the Istana,” said a port worker Philip Pangadadu who hails from Sabah’s northern Kota Marudu.
Pangadadu said that celebrations like Hari Raya was a chance for hin visit his Muslim friends and socialise.
“I will be going to many of my friends houses after this (Istana),” he added.
Like Pangadadu, many Sabahans had criss–crossed the homes of family and friends as they marked the first day of Hari Raya.
In a brief address, Juhar urged Sabah’s multi-ethnic population of Sabah to continue with the open house tradition as it was an opportunity to visit each other.
He added that this would forge relations among themselves and thus strengthening unity in line with the 1Malaysia concept.
Juhar and Norlidah delighted the crowd by going around and chatting with their visitors.
On the second day of Hari Raya, scores of people headed for the Likas Sports Complex multi purpose hall that was the venue of the joint Aidilfitri open house of the Muslim state cabinet members headed by Musa and wife Datin Faridah Tussin
Musa and his wife Datin Faridah Tussin personally greeted and shook hands with the crowd.
He later told reporters that he was touched with the overwhelming response to the Hari Raya open house.
“The people who came were from all walks of life. This reflects the people’s acceptance of our diversity,” said Musa.
In the city, people on holiday had also packed shopping complexes with families as the few eateries that were opened for business struggled to cope with large number of customers.
“Our workers are off for Hari Raya, we did not expect large number of people to turn up,” said a coffeeshop operator, who wanted to be known only as ‘Ling’.
He said many other eateries decided to close as all their workers mostly Muslims had taken off for the Hari Raya holidays.
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