KOTA KINABALU: All Malaysians should emulate Sabahans and Sarawakians in celebrating each other’s festivals without reservation to reflect harmony and unity in diversity.
Upko president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the free mixing of various races and people of different faiths at various celebrations in Sabah and Sarawak should be adopted by all Malaysians.
He said Sabahans and Sarawakians mixed freely but there were some people in other parts of the country who went around telling others not to even say “Merry Christmas” to their Christian friends.
“I was invited to a Christmas open house hosted by Papar MP Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin (Deputy Works Minister) where people of various religious backgrounds, including Muslims, freely sang Christmas songs together.
“This is the harmony and unity needed,” said Tangau, who is Science, Technology and Innovation Minister.
His ministry’s Christmas open house in Tuaran was attended by Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.
“It is important for us to seek to understand others and when we do so, others will begin to understand and respect each other,” he said.
Tangau said such unity was necessary as the country faced more challenges next year, particularly on the economic front.
Meanwhile, he said 2016 was the Year for Commercialisation of Innovative Products and his ministry would be encouraging people to not only create new technologies or come up with new approaches but also to commercialise them.
He said Universiti Putra Malaysia had come up with a digital autopsy machine that scanned bodies instead of pathologists having to cut them open.
This machine is now being used by hospitals in Britain.
“This is one of the many innovations from Malaysia that has been marketed,” he said.
Citing another example, Tangau said SMK Tamparuli students in Sabah had created a simple flood warning system which would warn the police station if the Tamparuli bridge was flooded.
“It is a simple approach that can be adopted in other flood-prone parts of the country,” he said.