KUCHING: A multiracial gathering of over 2,000 singers at Padang Merdeka here has been recognised as the country's largest Christmas carol gathering in the Malaysia Book of Records (MBOR).
Some 2,479 participants from the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), cultural associations and other religious organisations gathered to sing "O Holy Night", "Feliz Navidad" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to set the record, surpassing the initial target of 1,500 carollers.
The carol singing on Sunday (Dec 3) was part of the "A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity" programme organised by state-owned television station TVS.
Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian, representing Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, lit a Christmas tree at Padang Merdeka to mark the start of the programme.
A representative from MBOR later handed over the record certificate to Dr Sim.
The programme proceeded with a performance of "Carol of the Bells", "Deck the Halls" and "12 Days of Christmas" by Sarawak choral group Dolce Chanticleer.
It ended with "Last Christmas" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" by the MSS and Ukas Choir.
The Christmas programme will be broadcast on TVS on Dec 23.
It had initially attracted controversy when TVS turned down ACS' request to sing "O Holy Night" instead of "Jingle Bell Rock", but the matter was resolved following intervention by Abang Johari and Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
Those present at the event included state Cabinet members Datuk Seri John Sikie Tayai, Datuk Gerawat Gala, Datuk Liwan Lagang, Datuk Gerald Rentap Jabu and Datuk Snowdan Lawan, deputy state secretary Datuk Hii Chang Kee, Kuching South mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng, Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) director Datuk Jack Aman and Kuching Catholic Archbishop Simon Poh.