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Come visit Kelantan, a model of harmony and inclusivity

A myth-shattering trip by a group of ethnic Chinese from Penang.

Zamakhshari Muhamad
2 minute read

As part of the "Visit Kelantan 2024" campaign, a group of 40 people from Penang undertook a two-day tour of Kelantan on June 29.

The trip aims to break the stereotypes about Kelantan, which is often labelled as regressive and divisive as part of a campaign to discredit PAS.

Instead, the group witnessed a beacon of inclusivity and cultural harmony that filled them with deep admiration.

Kelantan is predominantly Malay (95%), but there are also Chinese, Indian, Siamese and Orang Asli minorities, making it a rich place of cultural exchange.

The visitors explored various iconic sites, including the well-preserved Buddhist temples, and were particularly impressed by the Standing Buddha statue in Tumpat, which was once the largest in Southeast Asia.

But it was the social cohesion of the people of all races in Kelantan that caught the group's attention.

For example, people of all backgrounds eat together harmoniously, even in Chinese restaurants, which is in stark contrast to the image that is often painted of Kelantan.

Then they saw halal meat vendors and pork vendors working in the markets, a testament to inclusivity and tolerance.

Kelantan’s commitment to inclusion is also evident in the appointment of a Chinese special envoy to the menteri besar.

In addition, a department under the Youth, Sports, NGO and Unity exco chaired by Lim Guan Seng, looks after the welfare of non-Malays in the state.

Kelantan has also appointed 17 councillors and 67 village heads from among the non-Malay residents.

The trip to Kelantan has left a deep impression on the Penang group, dispelling the negative stereotypes about Kelantan and the claims made by some political parties such as DAP.

The visit opened their eyes to the unique cultures and traditions of Kelantan that blend together as one.

Kelantan is a testimony to the harmonious co-existence of different cultures and faiths.

Kelantan invites all Malaysians to visit this beautiful state and experience first-hand how inclusive and harmonious it is, and discover its warmth and its rich cultural diversity.

Zamakhshari Muhamad is the Kelantan state exco for Youth, Sports, NGO and Unity.