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Religious contingent marches in National Day Parade

KUALA LUMPUR – Merdeka, merdeka, merdeka, merdeka, merdeka, merdeka, merdeka! Tunku Abdul Rahman shouted in joy and triumph on 31 August 1957.  Now, 60 years have passed and the people are still filled with the same spirit of merdeka joy and jubilation in celebrating the birth of  Malaya.

This year, the nation celebrated merdeka in a very unique way by calling religious leaders of all faiths to play an active role at Dataran Merdeka. A contingent of all faiths, comprising some 100 members was formed. Special thanks to the Unity Department of the PM’s office under the leadership of Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, the minister of unity and national integration.

After practices at different locations and at the Dataran, the march past finally took place on Merdeka morning.

In this contingent, there were representatives from the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Taoist and Bahai faiths.

There were two Catholic priests, three nuns, a pastor, lay Catholics and a few youths in the Christian group. Thanks to the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) for coordinating the Christian group for the march. The atmosphere was very conducive for everyone to interact and promote peace and harmony.

Pastor Juining of the Anglican Church had this to say, “This historical march has enabled all of us to build bridges and be agents of peace and harmony.”

Ms Chong Hui Jun, Buddhist youth, expressed deep love and reverence in working and walking together with people of all faiths here.

“We are all now flowers of one garden,” said Mrs Mariamah from the Hindu group.

Overall, this year’s Merdeka celebrations, especially the march past and the presence of church leaders like Archbishop Julian Leow, Archbishop Emeritus Murphy Pakiam and hundreds of Christians with their pastors, was truly a remarkable experience for all to go on building the nation through dialogue and bridge building in daily life. – herald


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