KOTA KINABALU: The celebration of diversity through the cultivation of unity is Sabah's unique way of uniting the multi-ethnic people in the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said it was important for the existing spirit of unity to be nurtured at all times and also "upgraded" from time to time to instil a spirit of love for the state and country.
He said that Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) constantly emphasised unity as the existing unity among the multi-ethnic people of Sabah should be defended at all times.
“We need to continue to maintain this spirit of goodwill and consensus because it is the backbone of our strength to continue to live in a climate of peace, security and prosperity," he said when speaking at the state level Deepavali celebration at a hotel here on Saturday (Nov 27).
Hajiji said such celebrations added to the uniqueness of Sabah which is known for harmony in a multiracial and multi-ethnic society.
“That is why in the context of a festival, we can see everyone from various cultures coming together to celebrate festivals such as Deepavali, Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, and Christmas, among others.
“In the context of the Malaysian Family, a culture of partnership and consensus is necessary, and not just in the context of sharing festivities, but something to practise in our daily lives.
"This will ensure that the country's peace and stability will continue to remain strong and harmonious," he said in his speech read by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Abidin Madingkir.
This year's state-level Deepavali celebrations were themed "Cultivating Unity, Celebrating Diversity."
Hajiji also thanked the Executive Committee of the Sabah State-Level Deepavali Celebration 2021, which included the state's National Unity and National Integration Department, Sabah Cultural Board and Indian community associations in Sabah and Labuan for organising the event.
In his speech, he also reminded all organisations to adopt the new norm as a culture for every public event as the Covid-19 epidemic continues to remain a threat.