PENAMPANG: Religious extremism and racism in a diverse society like Sabah must be rejected, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
The Sabah Chief Minister said that differences should instead be seen as a strength in today’s world.
“We realised there are many different cultures but it is not a barrier for us to know and love each other.
"We should not be thinking that only our own culture should be celebrated.
“When we do know our neighbours, we will practise moderation and respect towards each other.
“By having the right mindset, we can rise together as Sabahans to develop Sabah as an industrial state,” he said at the state-level Kaamatan celebrations closing ceremony on Friday (May 31).
Shafie added that Sabah can develop like Japan and Korea as the state is rich in resources.
At the event, Shafie conducted the annual ritual of mongomot (harvesting ceremony) with invited guests, and proceeded with a symbolic homing the padi into a barn set up on stage.
With seven beats of the gong by Shafie, the month-long Kaamatan was officially closed.
Shafie, event main committee chairman Datuk Peter Anthony, Huguan Siou (Kadazandusun Murut paramount leader) Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and state Cabinet ministers as well as guests later sang "Tadau Tagazo do Kaamatan" (Harvest Festival Day song) with the choir.
Shafie’s wife, Datin Seri Shuryani Shuaib made a surprising move by performing the sumazau (traditional dance) along with Deputy Chief Minister and Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew, and Unduk Ngadau competition committee joint chairperson Joanna Kitingan.
Shafie later visited the stalls and traditional houses accompanied by other delegates.
The Unduk Ngadau or Harvest beauty queen is expected to be crowned out of the 64 representatives from districts across the state as well as four from Putrajaya, Klang Valley, Johor and Penang on Friday evening.