GEORGE TOWN, Feb 11 — Thousands of Malaysians of various races thronged the Chinese New Year open house hosted by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow at the Setia SPICE Arena Bayan Baru today.

Guests, including tourists, were treated to a sumptuous spread of local delicacies.

The open house was also attended by Penang Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak and his wife Toh Puan Khadijah Moha Nor.


Also present were Human Resource Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong, who is also Bukit Mertajam MP; Deputy Finance Minister Lim Hui Ying, who is also Tanjong MP; DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng and DAP veteran Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang.

In addition to tossing the ‘Yee Sang’, the guests were entertained by various cultural performances, lion and dragon dances, as well as performances by local artistes.

Speaking to reporters, Chow said the annual event was not only to celebrate the Chinese New Year but, more importantly, to serve as a platform to bring leaders closer to the community.


Meanwhile, people from all walks of life expressed their joy at being able to celebrate Chinese New Year together.

M. Barethi, 41, from Simpang Ampang said she was touched by the unity of those present, which exemplified the spirit of Malaysia Madani, which was introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“Although this is a celebration of the Chinese community, many people of other races are also present. This shows that we live in a harmonious multiracial society,” said Barethi who attended the open house with her 41-year-old husband Ananda Raj.

Mazidah Musa, 41, was pleased to see the spirit of goodwill evident in the presence of different sections of society, regardless of race and background.

Russian couple Anastasia, 34, and Dmytro, 40, who has been living in Penang for seven years, said such an event is indeed eagerly anticipated as they get to enjoy a variety of local food alongside the performances. — Bernama