Hakka communities of KK, Heyuan City, China have much in common


PENAMPANG: Kota Kinabalu and Heyuan City, in Guangdong, China have much in common especially when it comes to Hakka communities.

The two cities will soon tie the knot after KK City Hall (DBKK) finalises the working papers for the formalisation of “Sister City” between Kota Kinabalu City and Heyuan City, Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said.

“When the working papers are completed, they will be submitted to the State Cabinet for approval, in order to initiate the formalisation process,” Abidin Madingkir said when speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for the 2nd Executive Committee (2012 – 2014) of Heyuan Association of Malaysia (HAM), at a Chinese seafood restaurant here, on Sunday.

“The two cities have been ‘engaged’ for the past two years and it’s time for them to officially ‘tie the knot’. We (in DBKK) shall do our best to expedite this much-anticipated happy occasion,” he said.

The two cities had on Dec 13 2010 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote friendly exchanges through establishment of “Sister City”. The MoU was signed by Abidin’s predecessor Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim on behalf of DBKK, while Liu XioHua, former Mayor of Heyuan City signed on its behalf.

Abidin thus thanked HAM for their role and relentless effort in helping the two cities to continue to maintain close ties.

He also noted that he had visited Heyuan City and Huizhou City, both in the Guangdong Province, in a delegation led by HAM President, Datuk Jimmy Tham Yuk Leong, in February this year.

Prominent Sabah businessman Lo Chee Soon, who is the Honorary Life Adviser for HAM cum the guest-of-honour for the occasion, in his speech urged the Association to capitalize on the rapid growth of China to help attract investors from China, Heyuan City especially, to come to invest in Sabah.

“And I hope the association could also strive to promote a greater cultural and educational exchange between Malaysia and China,’ he added.

He urged the Heyuan and Hakka clan members in the country, Sabah in particular, to actively come forward to participate in the Hakka song singing competition that the association is going to organize soon, as part of its efforts to reintroduce the Hakka folk and contemporary songs.

On the political front, he urged members of the Heyuan clan to actively participate in politics of the nation. Nonetheless, he cautioned them against bringing politics into the association, so as to avoid unnecessary disputes later.

He was also glad to note that the said competition is being supported by the Guangdong Provincial Government, and the Heyuan City municipal government.

Besides this, he also called on the newly-sworn-in committee to strive to elevate the position of the Association to a greater height.

Meanwhile, in his speech, Jimmy gave a brief rundown of the historical background of the Association, noting that it was officially launched by former Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Yong Teck Lee on Nov 23 2008.

“Its establishment was prompted by the findings made by the Office of Foreign Affairs of Overseas Chinese of the Heyuan City, which revealed that Sabah has the highest number of Hakkas in Malaysia, who mostly descended from the Long Chuan and Zhi Jin counties in Heyuan,” he explained.

He further explained that Heyuan is made up of six districts namely Long Chuan, Zhi Jin, He Ping, Lian Ping, Dong Yuan and Yuan Cheng, in which the Heyuan municipal government is located.

Jimmy was also optimistic that the establishment of the sister city would facilitate and propel a greater exchange and cooperation in the various fields like bilateral trade, technology, education, culture, agriculture and farming, and tourism, between Malaysia and China.

He also emphasized that being part of the Hakka clan, the association would continue to maintain a close cooperation and rapport with the various Hakka clan associations in the country, to better preserve and promote the clan’s heritage and culture.

Also present in the occasion were local dignitaries and Chinese community leaders like Datuk Tham Nyip Shen who is also a former deputy chief minister of Sabah cum Advisor to the Association, Datuk Liew Teck Chan, Likas State Assemblyman, Datuk Jimmy Yong Kok Ming, President of Kota Kinabalu Hakka Association, Juprin Wong-Adamal, State Senior Counsel, Lo Su Ping, Advisor of HAM, and its deputy president Yong Chen Lip.

New Sabah Times