JOHOR BARU: Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (pic) will create a first when he attends the upcoming annual chingay procession to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The Sultan will be the first Johor Ruler to attend the traditional parade – to be held for the 144th time this year on Feb 28 – and culmination of the spring festival in the state.
“Sultan Ibrahim, who ascended the throne in 2010, will be the first Sultan to attend the procession,” said Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong yesterday
The Sultan, said Tee, had attended the procession 10 years ago when he was the Tunku Mahkota Johor.
The invitation to the Ruler was extended on Jan 11 when he granted an audience at the palace to an entourage comprising leaders from the Johor Baru Tiong-Hua Association and the five main Chinese dialect clans.
A delighted Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai, the association’s president, said: “It further shows Sultan Ibrahim’s Bangsa Johor spirit and one that embraces all cultures and backgrounds in our state.”
“We were surprised that Sultan Ibrahim immediately signed his attendance on the invitation letter.
“He also informed his personal assistant that he would be joining our event,” said Tey, who was among those at the meeting with the Ruler.
Sultan Ibrahim also gave his guests permission to inform the public of his attendance, he added.
The chingay procession, held on the 21st day of the Lunar New Year, is a highly anticipated event among the Chinese community. A common saying has it that one has not truly celebrated Chinese New Year if he has not witnessed the procession.
The streets of the Johor Baru city centre will be closed to traffic and will come alive from 7pm for at least six hours where colourful cultural dances, joyous music and brightly decorated floats will parade along a 10km route.
On the day, the iconic five deities, Yuan Tian Shang Di (Teochew), Hong Xian Da Di (Hokkien), Gan Tian Da Di (Hakka), Hua Guang Da Di (Cantonese) and Zhao Da Yuan Shuai (Hainan), will be brought on a tour of the city to bless the people in the city.