Preserve our “open house” culture, says Zahid

PUTRAJAYA, April 27: The tradition and culture of open houses during Hari Raya Aidilfitri must be preserved because it fosters unity among the various ethnic groups in the country, says  Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In his view, he said the culture of open houses during festive seasons is unique to Malaysia.

“My friends from Indonesia came and told me that they only celebrate Aidilfitri for a day, while we celebrate for 30 days throughout (the month of) Syawal.

“What is important is not how long the celebration lasts, but how social assimilation among the various ethnic groups, with different religions and cultural backgrounds, can happen at an event with a unique sense of camaraderie,” he said when met at the Santunan Kasih Syawal with the Deputy Prime Minister event at his official residence, Sri Satria, here today.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Minister of Rural and Regional Development, said that open house events also serve as a platform for leaders to connect with the people.

“My guests aren’t just from Putrajaya and the Klang Valley, but from across the country. For example, friends from Sabah and Sarawak came because we’ve known each other for so long.

“As a political party leader, we also have branches and divisions across the country, so they take the opportunity to meet me, even if it’s just briefly,” he said.

Among the guests in attendance were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Datuk R Ramanan, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan and UMNO Secretary-General Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.