SPEECH BY THE HONORABLE
CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
YAB TUAN CHOW KON YEOW
VASAKHI FESTIVAL 2019
27 APRIL 2019
I am very delighted to be with all of you for this joyous and glorious celebration – The Vasakhi Festival 2019. What started out as a small celebration by the Sikh community in Penang many years ago has now grown to be a state level event that is organized with great pomp and show.
I have been made to understand that this year marks the 19th year the State Level Vasakhi Open House is being organized. I would like to wish the Sikh community of Penang a Happy Vasakhi. I would also like to congratulate the Persatuan Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang under the abled leadership of Sardar Daljit Singh and his organizing team for coming together in organizing this wonderful event, so people from all walks of life can experience the Sikh culture and way of life.
The State Government has always supported such efforts to enable the various ethnic groups to organize such events, so as to foster greater unity amongst Penangites whilst preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of Penang. Such events also open doors for us to learn about each other’s cultural practices and traditions which form the bedrock for a mutually respecting, cooperative, vibrant and a productive society. This is what Penang needs; a society that is accepting of each other and that is able to work in harmony with each other and most importantly remains productive in this highly competitive and challenging times.
Diversity is a great source of pride, a great source of creativity and if used as a uniting force it can transform into a source of economic prosperity. Even global corporations are deliberately trying to infuse diversity into their workforce for they see diversity as a source of creativity that can drive greater innovation. Penang must remain competitive and for that we need a highly productive and performing society. Not one that is divided by differences, intolerance and incompetence. Divisiveness in our multi cultural and multi religious nation will only tear the social fabric apart and create chaos.
It is precisely with this in mind, that the State Government in our vision Penang2030 to make Penang a Family-focused Green and Smart State that Inspires the Nation, has adopted as one of our strategic initiatives – diversify recreation, sports, arts and culture facilities – to increase liveability to enhance the quality of life. Do take note that culture like the other mentioned areas of sports and arts loved so much by Malaysians, is an effective platform to celebrate our uniqueness and differences rather than to be made use of as a tool by the heartless to cause disunity and segregation like what’s happening elsewhere.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Despite being a small community, the Sikhs have contributed much towards the political, social and economical development of this nation. This Vasakhi Festival is going to bring you vibrant cultural performances and there is also an exhibition section to allow people from other communities to learn about the Sikh traditions, culture and religion. Finally, the most important and fundamental part of our Malaysian culture is the food. An event is considered incomplete without food and food is the soul of a culture. So be sure to enjoy the scrumptious Punjabi food that has been prepared by the Sikh community for everyone to enjoy.
I would like once again congratulate the organizing committee and thank all of you for having me here to be part of this wonderful and colourful celebration.
A very Happy Vasakhi to all of you and have a wonderful evening to the sound of the Punjabi drum or what is referred to as the dhol and mesmerizing cultural performances.