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Malaysian PM Joins Buddhists Nationwide To Usher In Vesak Day Celebration

Bernama, May 28, 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Buddhist devotees in Malaysia, from all walks of life, celebrated Vesak Day in the spirit of 1Malaysia, offering prayers and alms Friday.

<< Special treat: Television personality and restaurateur Gordon Ramsey presenting Rosmah with a vegetarian dish which he prepared at the Buddhist Mahavihara temple in Brickfields yesterday. Looking on (from left) are Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Sri Dhammaratana and Najib.

Vesak Day is the most important and sacred day for Buddhists throughout the world who observe the day of the birth, enlightenment and the passing of Gautama Buddha.

In Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor joined thousands of devotees who celebrated the holy day at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields.

Najib and Rosmah's arrival at 9.30am was greeted by Chief High Priest of Malaysia, Most Venerable K. Dhammaratana Thera and a performance troupe that represented the multi-cultural ethnicity in the country.

Several Cabinet Ministers including Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, Deputy Information Communication and Culture Minister as well as representatives from other faiths and foreign dignitaries were also joined in the celebration.

Celebrity British chef Gordon Ramsey was also invited to prepare a special vegetarian lunch for the VIPs.

Various programmes are also planned at the temple, including blood donation, distribution of free vegetarian food, exhibition, mass prayers and procession in the city during the evening.

Ong and Liow later joined celebrations at the Buddhist Temple in Jalan Klang Lama and Air Panas in Setapak respectively.

During the celebrations in Setapak, organised by the Miao You Buddhist Association, Ong contributed eight computers to two schools in the area, namely Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) St Joseph Sentul and Sekolah Kebangsaan Marian Convent Air Panas.

In KUCHING, deputy Works Minister Datuk Yong Khoong Seng launched Sarawak's Vesak Day celebrations at the Sarawak Buddha Association in Kuching this morning.

In Miri, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan attended the Vesak Day celebrations held at the Miri Buddhist Society in Jalan Chong Poh, Miri.

Those who are not Buddhists, also took the opportunity to join in the celebrations or took the opportunity to spend their time with their families at shopping complexes or other vacation spots.

In KOTA KINABALU, Sabah assistant minister of Infrastructure Development Pang Yuk Min and his family joined thousands of Sabahans who celebrated Vesak Day in the 1Malaysia spirit.

Pang said unity among Malaysians when ushering in the spirit of such celebrations would be vital for the development of the country and Sabah in particular.

In Johor, an estimated 2,000 people gathered at the Fo Guang Buddhist Centre in Johor Baharu to usher in the auspicious Vesak Day celebrations.

"It's a day of remembrance and reflection and to celebrate the birth and death of Lord Buddha," said Steven Shum, the president of the Johor chapter of the Buddhist Light International Association.

In IPOH, Buddhist devotees in the state thronged the Tibetan-style Enlightened Heart Buddhist Centre in Tambun to offer their prayers and alms for the Vesak Day celebrations.

Perak state Exco for Health Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon meanwhile, joined the celebrations held at the Perak branch of the Malaysian Buddha Association in Jalan Pasir Putih and handed over a RM50,000 allocation to the association.

In SEREMBAN, celebrations were centred at the Buddhist Vihara in Lobak where about 3,000 devotees gathered to offer their prayers while a procession is scheduled at 7pm.

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