Sabah govt to organise state-level CNY and Christmas celebrations starting this year

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government will officially host the state-level Chinese New Year (CNY) and Christmas celebrations this year.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the decision was part of the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government's celebration of diversity.

"It will also foster and maintain harmony as well as cooperation among multiracial and multi-religion communities," he said while officiating the Sandakan district-level Chinese New Year open house on Sunday (Feb 11).

"The state government has decided to officially organise the state-level Chinese New Year celebration, similar to what is being done for Aidilfitri and Kaamatan (Harvest) Festival," he said at the open house at Hakka Hall in Sandakan that was organised by Sabah DAP chairman Datuk Frankie Poon.

"Let us take advantage of this kind of celebration, not only to celebrate Chinese New Year but also to become a platform for strengthening unity among the people of various races and religious beliefs in this state," he said.

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, Hajiji, together with Yang DiPertua Negeri, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, joined the State Government and Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) Chinese New Year Open House at Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).

More than 10,000 people from all walks of life joined in the celebrations, during which guests were entertained by lion dance performances spiced with cultural and modern performances.

A 350-foot-long replica of the dragon was placed at SICC plaza to mark the occasion.

Datuk Christina Liew, the event's organising chairman, said it was unique because some 400 people from Sabah's 38 native ethnic groups and 15 Chinese clan associations were present in traditional costumes.

"We had several hundred tourists present to enjoy Sabah's unique celebration," she said, adding that Tun Juhar was given the honour of distributing Ang Pows to the elderly and needy.

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