IT WAS heartening to see politicians from both sides of the political divide sharing the same stage and enjoying the Miri Christmas Parade on Saturday night together.
Sarawak Pakatan Harapan and Gabungan Parti Sarawak leaders standing side by side – without their politics.
“Next time, invite the Federal leaders, including the Prime Minister,” I said to Sarawak Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin at the event.
I am sure the Federal ministers would have been impressed with the racial and religious mutual respect and harmony demonstrated by the 40,000 participants of the parade.
The unity shown by all of them was outstanding, and it comes so naturally. Sarawak and Miri in particular have indeed become a beacon of harmony and unity.
The Sarawak government must never alter its policy of equal rights and religious freedom to every race and there must be zero tolerance for any religious bigots trying to sow discord in this state.
The state government has been giving equal treatment to all religions in terms of land allocation, financial assistance, freedom to practise their faith and freedom of language use.
These values and policies must be preserved.
The chief ministers of Sarawak have so far managed to make sure the rights of everyone are protected and preserved.
Nobody in this state has faced any form of religious or racial persecution or been subjected to any such injustices.
State ministers have exercised control over immigration to bar several individuals from the peninsula who are known for their extremist views.
Many different races are created so that we can learn to live together in peace.
That is also the Christmas spirit and it is good to see Miri shining like a beacon in this aspect.
Miri not only has an annual public parade for Christians but also for Muslims and those from other faiths.
As rightly pointed out by Miri mayor Adam Yii, this city is very open when it comes to allowing public display of faith.
Yii said the city council was proud to be able to work with the different communities in Miri to stage religious public celebrations.
He thanked the people of Miri who came to take part in this Christmas Parade that reflected the unique blend of multracial and multireligious harmony among the 30 ethnic groups living in the city.
The annual parade was organised jointly by the Miri City Council and all the 15 churches in Miri.
I hope the various communities, including native groups, expatriates and international students will also hold similar public parades to add colour and joy to the city atmosphere.