Sabah has made meaningful and tangible progress as a harmonious state, says the chief minister.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is proud to be seen as a model state for its multiracial makeup and religious tolerance, Chief Minister Musa Aman said.
Speaking while attending a Christmas celebration here today, Musa said the state wished to ensure religious freedom is further enhanced.
“Sabah proudly stands out today as a model state where we embrace our rich cultural diversity through community carnivals like this Christmas celebration and others, such as the Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and the Tadau Kaamatan carnival,” he said in his speech.
“These are some of the solid benchmarks of nation-building and meaningful progress as a peaceful and harmonious Malaysian society.
“I am pleased to see tonight the rich cultural mix of local and international visitors attending this Christmas celebration.”
The Christmas gathering was organized by the Kota Kinabalu (KK) City Hall, Sabah Council of Churches and KK Christmas Celebration Organising Committee.
Musa, who is also Sabah BN liaison chairman, said the conflict is rife in many parts of the world these days. Therefore, Malaysians, particularly Sabahans, should strive to ensure harmony and peace.
“The state government does have a high commitment to ensure freedom of religion and culture in this state,” he said.
“In this context, the state government, together with the community and religious leaders, will find a solution to any issue related to religion and culture.”
Musa who is also finance minister said every year, the state government distributes allocations to churches for them to fund projects and community programmes.
“This is done in a spirit of sincerity and we are glad to note these annual allocations have helped those who received funding to make a difference in their communities,” he said.
In September, Musa won praise for allocating another RM31.4 million this year for schools and non-Islamic religious bodies in the state.
In Sabah, it is normal to find an extended family with members embracing all the nation’s major religions as well as animistic beliefs.
However, a socio-political analyst has warned that Sabah, which has been widely held as an example of ethnic and religious harmony, is losing its tolerant multiracial character as politicians, especially oppositions, sow seeds of insecurity among the people for their own ends.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said he was saddened to see partisan politics beginning to create ethnoreligious divisions among Sabahans.