Monday March 4, 2013
MB: Johoreans remember their cultural roots
By YEE XIANG YUN
JOHOR BARU: The people of Johor have not forgotten their deep cultural roots despite the state’s rapid growth, such as the development of the Iskandar Malaysia region and the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project in Pengerang.
Stating this, Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the annual Chingay procession here is an example of celebrating such cultural heritage, which has been observed by the local Chinese community for more than a century.
“While we live in a multi-racial society, we respect each other’s cultures and beliefs and participate in some of them.
“This shows Johor is able to grow economically and socially as one,” he said, when addressing the crowd at the 143rd Chingay procession here on Saturday.
Abdul Ghani said the state government supported the bid by the Johor Baru Ancient Temple to get a Unesco World Heritage status for the procession, which annually covers a 10km route in the city.
He added that the event had been observed since the reign of the late Sultan Abu Bakar.
“The world needs to recognise the Chingay, which is colourful, grand and showcases the Chinese community’s culture and religion,” he said, adding that the state government would convey the idea of the Unesco listing to the Federal Government and the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.
Abdul Ghani said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was here to witness the event last year, had declared it as a national heritage.
The Chingay procession, held annually on the 21st day of the Chinese lunar calendar, features the five deities that represent the main dialect clans in a six-hour parade starting at the Johor Baru Ancient Temple along with colourful floats as well as lion and dragon dance troupes.
It marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebration for the locals.