The Chinese lunar calendar’s most important festival, Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Already, Malaysia has begun easing into the festive mood, with beautiful red decorations and Chinese New Year music being played by vendors.
Some families have even begun decorating their porches with red lanterns in anticipation. Soon, we can look forward to another merry celebration. I myself am looking forward to having some yeesang, a truly marvellous dish soon. During this time of year, numerous dishes from different origins are savoured. Yee Sang is one such traditional dish which is symbolic of good luck, prosperity and health.
To me, this also serves as a reminder of how important the Chinese community is to Malaysia. My father, the late Tun Abdul Razak, was very clear on his stance towards the Chinese community, who have helped in the development of our country in many ways since we achieved independence – and I share in his vision. I cannot imagine a Malaysia lacking the Chinese culture that is so tightly interwoven into our society. I think it’s fair to say this enthusiasm has passed on to another generation now that my son Ashman speaks fluent Mandarin!
The Barisan National Government recognises the importance of having open channels with the Chinese community to better understand its needs. Through my Ah Jib Gor page alone, we sifted through many suggestions which have formed part of the basis of Budget 2013.
One area of real importance is education, where we have allocated an additional RM100 million in the #bajet2013, on top of the RM100 million given last year, under the Building, Improvement and Maintenance of School to national-type Chinese schools – money which will help refurbish school buildings and buy new school equipment. Through the National Education Blueprint, we are also aiming to increase the number of Chinese language teachers so that we can meet student demand. And the top students of Chinese secondary schools have been given scholarships to ensure the most diligent minds can continue to serve our society once they have graduated.
There is much more work for us to do in 2013, and I am looking forward to seeing how much more we can help support the Chinese community. It is my hope that the Chinese community will continue to support the Government towards this goal. So in the spirit of 1Malaysia, I would like to wish all Chinese Malaysians Gong Xi Fa Cai. Happy Chinese New Year.