SEREMBAN: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali joined several thousand Malaysians at the national level Chinese New Year open house here on Sunday (Feb 17) night.
A fireworks show and a lion dance performance was held when the Prime Minister arrived at Dataran Centrio in Seremban 2 to join in the celebration just before 9pm.
The event - jointly organised by the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and Negri Sembilan government - is the first under the Pakatan Harapan government.
"I am happy that we are able to celebrate such events together despite our differences.
"You do not see such celebrations in other countries," he said in his speech.
Dr Mahathir said being tolerant of one another was a blessing for the nation.
"We Malaysians have benefited immensely by accepting one another.
"Today the whole world acknowledges the fact that Malaysia is truly Asia," he said.
Dr Mahathir also commended the organisers for hosting the event which he described as an extravaganza.
"It is my hope that such events will be held on an even greater scale in future as a testament to how multiracial Malaysians can live together in harmony," he said, adding that he was glad to see a non-Chinese being a member of the lion dance performance.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Among the other Cabinet ministers present were Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P. Waythamoorthy.
Meanwhile, Loke thanked the federal government for picking the state to host the event.
"We in Negri Sembilan are proud to be given the honour to hold this event after Pakatan took over Putrajaya. It is also our hope that such events will help strengthen unity among multi-racial Malaysians," said the Seremban MP.
Several events were held to mark the event such as CNY Idol, a cheongsam show and a line dance competition.
Guests were also treated to traditional Chinese dishes as early as 6pm as well as to lion and dragon dance performances from renowned groups.
The event was carried live over RTM.