JOHOR BAHARU, March 12 (Bernama) — The Tourism and Culture Ministry is to get UNESCO to recognise the Chingay annual street parade of the ‘Tiong Hua’ (Chinese) community here as a world cultural heritage, said Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said he would instruct the National Heritage Department under the ministry to work closely with UNESCO in the matter.
“I promise to instruct the National Heritage Department to fully cooperate with UNESCO to make the recognition a reality one day,” he said at the launch of the Chingay celebration here Wednesday night.
Also present were Johor Tourism, Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong and Johor Baharu Tiong Hua Federation president Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai.
The Chingay festival, celebrated on the 21st day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar every year, attracted about 300,000 spectators from within and outside the country this year.
Mohamed Nazri also said that he would ensure that Chingay was included in the annual national tourism calendar beginning this year.
“Chingay is a festival that allows the Chinese community to showcase freedom of religion and its culture.
“However, it could also foster unity as well as invite other people to jointly celebrate and sustain the 1Malaysia concept,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tey said it was hoped that Chingay would be given world cultural heritage status by UNESCO in accordance with its uniqueness.
“This is indeed the dream of the people of Johor and also all Malaysians as Chingay is a Chinese religious activity and cultural event that has been celebrated in Johor Baharu since 1870,” he said.
This year’s celebration saw a total of 11 vehicles in the float parade, along with lion dance performances, cultural dance performances, fireworks and martial arts performances.