Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BN, SAPP fighting similar battle

10th November, 2008 (New Sabah Times)

KOTA KINABALU: Despite the fact that Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) is now an opposition party in the State, a senior State Barisan Nasional (BN) leader nonetheless recognizes its struggles for Sabah.

Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebrations cum fund raising dinner of Ranau's famous Chon Chu Kung Temple held here on Saturday, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi said he was convinced that even though SAPP is no longer in BN, its struggles are the same as those of BN – seeking a better future for Sabah.

Also present at the occasion were several SAPP leaders including its President Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee, its Women Chief cum Luyang Assemblywoman Melanie Chia and its Information Chief Chong Pit Fah.

Masidi also stressed that even though Yong and Melanie are no longer in the ruling coalition, it nonetheless had not affected their friendship.

"I think what is important here is that, our political struggles are the same, that is, to strive for a better future for Sabah," he reiterated.

Masidi who is also the Karanaan Assemblyman also noted that although Ranau's community consists of people of different races with different religions and cultural background, it is nonetheless a very closely-knit community with everyone identifying themselves as the people of Ranau, rather than their race.

"I have always maintained a close rapport with the people of Ranau and would do my best to help them in any way that I could, regardless of their race and religion," he stressed.

He noted that in fact this is also what Islam is preaching about – to treat all human beings equally.

While proudly noting that Ranau's community is probably the most harmonious in the country, Masidi gave the due credit to its community leaders for constantly making an effort to preserve and promote racial harmony.

Besides this, he also said he would continue to lobby for more developments for Ranau, with the ultimate hope of transforming the district into a leading tourist destination in the State.

He also promised to secure annual development grant for Chon Chu Kung Temple which has been recognized as a leading tourist destination in Ranau district, so as to spur a greater economic development that would ultimately benefit the people there.

"I sincerely hope our Datuk Edward Khoo who is in charge of the State's Chinese affairs could also give us a helping hand in securing more development funds for the temple. I believe we can do it," he said.

Khoo was also present at the occasion.

Meanwhile, in his speech earlier, Yong emphatically called on both political and community leaders in the state to emulate the fine example of Masidi, who has always been liberal and moderate when dealing with the various communities in Sabah thus, significantly contributed towards the creation of a 'harmonious society' in the country.

"I really hope the other leaders in the country too could be like our Datuk Masidi who had always adopted a liberal and moderate approach in dealing with the multiracial society. Only then, Malaysia will truly be harmonious," he said.

He too concurred with Masidi that the community of Ranau is a fine example of 'racial harmony' by citing for example that among the committee of the Chon Chu Kung Temple were the native Bumiputeras.

He also commended Khoo for his continued effort in helping the Chinese society of Sabah, especially in securing development funds for the various Chinese temples.

The Chon Chu Kung Temple was established back in 1983 by a group of Chinese traders from the town of Ranau.

Legend had it that prior to the construction of the new temple, the Guangzhe Jun-Wang had instructed the temple committee to build a 'sacred fountain' by boring 108 feet deep into the ground at a designated spot within the construction site.

And miraculously, as the workers' drill hit the mark of 108-ft exactly, a fountain of crystal-clear underground water shot up from the hole.

The said fountain is now been preserved by the temple by building an octagonal well on it. Legend also had it that water from the fountain could improve a person's health if taken regularly.

A lab test conducted by the temple committee on the sample taken from the fountain several years ago also indicated that it was pure and clean and contained no harmful items in it, and was thus safe for consumption.

As the 'miraculous effect' of the fountain became well-known among the local community as well as those from other parts of Sabah, the legend of the '108-ft fountain' had now become a major tourist attraction in the town of Ranau, especially for those who made their trip to the Mt Kinabalu.

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