Community leaders call for unity, togetherness in Wesak Day celebration

KUALA LUMPUR – Community leaders in the country have called for the practice of unity and togetherness in line with tomorrow’s Wesak Day celebration after three years of moderate revelry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young Buddhist Association Malaysia (YBAM) president Yong Kuei Yoong said that due to the impact of COVID-19, regular worship activities like morning and evening (prayer) chanting, Buddhist rituals and festivals, planned performances and group activities had to be suspended.

“Although many events shifted to online platforms, their effectiveness and interaction could not be compared with on-site activities.

“As social operations and the order of international flights return to normal, Buddhists and Buddhist youths who have adapted to the period of movement control orders, it is now time for us to go out and be active,” he said in a statement today.

He also called on orthodox Buddhist organisations and Buddhists of different traditions to unite, share the blessings and hardship and work together to herald a new era of Malaysian Buddhism.

The Buddhist community will celebrate Wesak Day tomorrow as a remembrance of the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha.

Meanwhile, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang commented on the uniqueness of Malaysia as the only Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member country that celebrates the religious festivals of four major religions, thus making it especially suited to be a role model for world inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-cultural and inter-civilisation dialogue for understanding, tolerance and harmony.

“We must dare to envision a global role for Malaysia and not end up as a divided, failed and kleptocratic state in the next few decades,” he said.

Gerakan president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai, meanwhile, said the practice of respecting the culture of others is very important in building a harmonious society and, as such, called on the communities to unite and work together to achieve peace and prosperity.

“In Buddhist teachings, love is one of the most important qualities. Buddha calls on the people, who are good and wise, to spread love.

“That’s why we must provide love and support to those who give help to show the spirit of love and unity as we deal with challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession,” he said. – Bernama