MALACCA: It was a Christmas wish come true for the country’s only traditional Portuguese village in Ujong Pasir when they received an RM480,000 gift from the government to repair the chapel in their village.
The news was greeted with cheers from residents of the 1,200-strong community who were playing host to the national-level Christmas celebrations here on Sunday night.
“The government is fulfilling its promise and the money is to be used by the community to repair their chapel or church,” said Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said he was personally instructed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to bring the good news to the community.
The 1,200-strong community had previously sought funds to build a church in the village which was approved under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
Earlier in his speech, Dr Rais reminded the people to hold on to values shared by all Malaysians irrespective of race or culture.
“Values of respecting the feelings, rights and needs of others are the core fundamentals to ensure unity and solidarity,” he said.
Over 20,000 visitors converged on the traditional fishing village for the national-level Christmas celebrations, which kicked off at about 9pm when Malacca Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob arrived with his consort Toh Puan Zurina Kassim.
They visited several homes during a brief walkabout in the village before Mohd Khalil launched the celebration by lighting up a Christmas tree and presenting aid to 10 charities.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam and Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum were also present.
A total of 55 Miss International Tourism contestants from around the world also paraded Malaysian batik designs during the celebration.