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Christmas Eve public holiday a gift to local Christian community

13th December, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) says the additional public holiday on Dec 24 is a special gift to the Christian community here and another reflection of how the diverse state lives harmoniously.

SCC president Bishop Dr James Wong expressed hope that the Christmas holidays would be used in a meaningful manner to take friendship seriously and “accept one another”.

“On behalf of the churches, I would like to thank Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and the state Cabinet for making such a decision.

“As far as I know, this is the first time we have had two public holidays for Christmas. It is really surprising news to have an additional holiday, it is a big thing… I don’t think this kind of gift came easily.

“Dec 24 is actually a busy day for churches because of Christmas eve, so when it is also a holiday it will give time for churches to prepare.

“Since we have this gift of a holiday, I hope there will be more open houses, interactions and invitation of friends and families to visit each other, to make it meaningful,” he said.

During the Kota Kinabalu Christmas Celebration 2019 downtown on Wednesday night, Shafie announced the additional public holiday on Dec 24 to allow those celebrating more time to make it home for the holidays.

In his speech, he also said division will only be bad for the state, while peace and harmony will ensure good things to come.

Shafie reminded Sabahans that regardless of religion, what was important is not who has the biggest or tallest building or prayer house, but that their doctrine promotes good values such as harmony and tolerance among its followers.

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