Feature: Dragon-themed festivities, economic optimism mark Chinese New Year in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's Chinese community welcomes the Chinese New Year as the country continues to see its economy moving forward with the anticipation of more prosperous times ahead.
In Kuala Lumpur, positive sentiments prevail as the capital city is adorned with gold and red decorations, prominently featuring this year's zodiac animal, the dragon. Dragon-themed decorations including a display at the Petronas Twin Towers, captivate a large number of visitors.
Among the Malaysians celebrating the festival is marketing manager Tan Hui Yun, who said this year is one of optimism with the expectation that economic recovery is proceeding at an acceptable pace.
"Things are looking up. There are some things that could be better but there is a clear improvement. I will return to join my family for our reunion dinner without as many worries as the past few years. There is an uptick in business and I do not feel as pressured or worried about my expenses," she said.
Reflecting these sentiments is the country's wholesale and retail trade which hit an all-time high of 143.9 billion ringgit (30.21 billion U.S. dollars) in December, according to the Department of Statistics, driven by expanded activity in the retail trade sub-sector, wholesale trade and even the motor vehicle sector.
Tourism operator Jimmy Thoo Choy expressed hope that the visa-free entry granted to nationals from China starting Dec. 1 last year would boost Malaysia's tourism industry with an increase in arrivals expected in 2024.
"Feedback from inbound travel agencies and tour operators shows that they have not seen any significant increase in 2023 but are looking at steady growth going into 2024," he said, highlighting the upcoming 50th anniversary of the China-Malaysia diplomatic relationship as a catalyst for travel.
Meanwhile, the country's new king, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, and the queen extended their greetings to Malaysians celebrating the New Year.
"The King and Queen also express hope that the Chinese New Year festivities will further bolster unity among Malaysians, irrespective of their race, religion or culture," they said in a statement.
For his part, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim wished the Chinese community a happy and prosperous new year.
"The Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac, means strength and charisma, as well as creativity and confidence."
"Therefore, in order to boost the spirit of these universal principles, we as Malaysians must continue to be determined to become an advanced and madani (civilized) society," he said in Chinese.