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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 25: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his wife, Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, made Christmas visits to several open houses to extend season’s greetings today.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of Welfare, Community Well-Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and her husband, Datu Dr Adi Badiozaman Tuah, as well as acting State Secretary Datu Jaul Samion and his wife, Datin Evelyn Ritikos Jaul, were among those present.
Abang Johari and Juma’ani first visited the house of Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak chief executive Datu Aloysius Dris and wife, Datin Teresa Bateman, at Petra Jaya. This was followed by a visit to Bishop of the Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei, the Right Reverend Danald Jude, at the Bishop House in Jalan McDougall here.
Thereafter, they proceeded to visit Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching the Most Revd Simon Poh, at the Archdiocesan Curia and Cathedral Pastoral Centre (ACCPC) in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg here.
Addressing the warm reception at ACCPC, Abang Johari emphasised that Christmas is a time for people to strengthen relationships and for everyone to share the responsibility in building and maintaining the understanding and relationships between cultures.
“We, in Sarawak, have been fortunate as people are able to mix together and share the joy of celebrations as well as share responsibility to maintain the understanding among us, where all regardless of faith, contribute to the strength of our community.
“With this understanding, I think the future of Sarawak is very bright because the core of our social fabric is there — to freely practise our faith, respect for community and mutual respect among us,” he added.
He pointed out that these were core social ethics that should always be upheld even in the face of challenges as well as in view of urbanisation and technology surrounding people’s lives today.
“This is the basic in all our religious teachings, which is towards universal peace. Morally, it is our obligation. We must make sure that everybody has a share in maintaining the environment we are in and, at the same time, we are able to serve our community,” he said.
On behalf of the state government, Abang Johari expressed appreciation to the Roman Catholic community for their contributions to the development of the society not only in terms of education but also in terms of social well-being.
He reiterated that Sarawak is the only state to have established the Unit for Other Religions (unifor) to look after the affairs of other religions in Sarawak, including education of non-Muslim Sarawakians.
“With RM30 million worth of allocation approved for Unifor next year as well as the rich resources found in Sarawak, including oil and gas, we must make sure that Sarawakians can reap the benefits.
“This (understanding) will definitely cement our mutual respect and relationship as we move forward together to develop Sarawak as well as our society towards becoming an advanced and developed state by 2030,” he concluded.
The final home Abang Johari and his entourage visited was the residence of Tasik Biru assemblyman Dato Henry Harry Jinep in Bau. — DayakDaily