KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Malaysian tradition of hosting open houses during festivals has become a medium through which its people unite for the continuity of the country’s harmony and progress.
Every one of the political party leaders met by Bernama at the Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia’s (Gerakan) Chinese New Year open house at its headquarters here today, felt that the tradition should be upheld for all festivals.
Gerakan President Datuk Mah Siew Keong said this year’s open house organised by the party’s new leadership drew a crowd of about 5,000 people from all walks of life and races.
“Today we witness a harmonious and joyous gathering of Malaysians. This proves that we are a united country,” he said while thanking the guests for their presence.
Mah also urged the people to continue supporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for the sake of peace and progress.
Umno Secretary-General Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Malaysians needed to be more dynamic and united in their diversity to create a stronger and progressive nation.
“I hope Malaysia continues to progress just like the year of the horse which symbolises harmony, well-being and courage for the Chinese community,” he said.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) President Datuk M. Kayveas, who described open houses as a uniquely Malaysian culture said: “Open houses are where we mingle and get to know each other. And of course the traditional food is the best part.”
Meanwhile, Gerakan National Unity Bureau chief V. Prabagaran felt that the high turn out showed Malaysians were still united despite political differences, adding,” We’re moving towards developed status so it’s time we practiced mature politics.”
His opinion was echoed by PPP Federal Territory chairman Datuk A.Chandrakumanan, who described this year’s celebration as grander, saying: Such events also allow leaders to meet the people and prove that the 1Malaysia unity concept is not mere rhetoric.”
Gerakan’s CNY open house was also attended by Najib and his Deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who were accompanied by their respective wives.
Also present were former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wife Tun Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali as well as former ministers Tan Sri S. Sammy Vellu and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon.
They participated in tossing ‘Yee Sang’, a dish made of fish and a variety of vegetables, which is a must during Chinese New Year to symbolise good luck.
The guests were served an array of traditional delicacies including kuih bakul, kuih bahulu, kuih kapit, ‘Mi Bing’ and mandarin oranges. — Bernama