KUALA LUMPUR: Despite the economic challenges, 2015 can still be a good year for Malaysia - provided the people remain united and pursue a common goal to see the country move forward and progress, said the Prime Minister.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that while the economy was on a strong footing, the drop in oil prices would make it very challenging for the country.
"But I am confident that if all of us stay and work together, and pursue our common goal for Malaysia, we can make this a good year for all of us," he said after attending MCA's Chinese New Year open house at Wisma MCA on Thursday.
Najib expressed hope that the Year of the Goat would be a better year for the country, stressing that Malaysia's future depended on the cooperation and good relations of its multi-racial society.
He said for the nation to continue to grow and prosper, the people needed to live in harmony and relations among the different ethnics must be good.
"Let us usher the Chinese New Year with a renewed commitment to this beloved nation. Let us strengthen our resolve to improve relations between all races," Najib said.
He said according to Chinese belief, the Year of the Goat would bring success, happiness and prosperity.
"It is my fervent wish to see a peaceful and successful Malaysia which has the strong support of all its people, regardless of race," he added.
Like previous years, the Prime Minister and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor joined Malaysians from various walks of life to usher in Chinese New Year at the open houses hosted by MCA and Gerakan.
MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong played host to Cabinet ministers, foreign dignitaries, party veterans and as well as scores of people who came as early as 8am to join in the celebrations.
Also present were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman, MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel and Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.
Guests were greeted by lion dance and traditional drum performances, with the "God of Pros-perity" going around the crowd, wishing everyone a prosperous new year.
Inside Dewan San Choon, Najib and Rosmah joined Liow, Dr Wee and other dignitaries on stage to perform the tossing of the yee sang, which symbolises abundance, prosperity and vigour.
As the guests were feted to an array of Malaysian dishes - satay, nasi briyani and chicken kurma, bahulu and kuih kapit and ang ku - they were entertained with songs and dances of various ethnicity from Malay songs to Kadazan and Indian dances.
The Prime Minister and his deputy also attended the Gerakan Chinese New Year open house at Menara PGRM.
Najib visited the food stalls that were set up around the building compound for the public before taking part in tossing the yee sang with Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong and party leaders.