|Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (centre) visited and extended New Year wishes to monks and students of the Khmer Theravada Buddhist Academy in the Mekong Delta city of Cần Thơ on Sunday to mark the Chol Chnam Thmay festival. VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất
SÓC TRĂNG – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has extended best wishes to Khmer Theravada Buddhist dignitaries and followers in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang to mark Chol Chnam Thmay – the traditional New Year Festival of Khmer people in the south.
The Government leader visited the provincial Association for Solidarity of Patriotic Buddhist Monks and Pali school, and offered incense at Khleang pagoda in the province on April 6.
He told local Khmer people that thanks to joint efforts of the entire Party, army and people, Vietnam had gained great achievements in the fields of socio-economics, defence, security and diplomacy. The national great unity had been consolidated, and people’s material and spiritual lives improved continuously.
These achievements were made possible partly thanks to the contribution by the Khmer community in the south, he said.
The leader appreciated efforts by Khmer Buddhist dignitaries and followers and people to implement socio-economic development goals and ensure the locality’s security and order.
He asked local authorities to pay more attention to Khmer people in underprivileged areas.
PM Phuc visited and presented gifts to Khmer welfare policy beneficiaries.
Chol Chnam Thmay festival
On the same day, the PM joined a gathering in Cần Thơ to celebrate the Chol Chnam Thmay – the traditional New Year Festival of Khmer people in the south, which falls from April 14-16 this year.
The majority of Khmer people in the south live in nine Mekong Delta localities of Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Kien Giang, An Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, and Can Tho. There are also Khmer people living in Ho Chi Minh City and southeastern localities.
During the festival, there are many traditional rituals such as pagoda visiting and Buddha bathing, as well as prays for good weather and good luck for family members, as well as showing gratitude to parents and ancestors.
Addressing the event, PM Phuc extended his New Year wishes to the Khmer community, which number around 1.3 million.
He underlined that Vietnam is a united country with a large number of ethnic groups. The Party and State always pay special attention to ethnic minority groups, including the Khmer.
He said that the Government has prioritised resources for many national schemes designed to support the disadvantaged groups, including ethnic minority people, such as the sustainable poverty reduction programme and the new-style rural area building programme.
The Government leader expressed his delight at improvements in the living conditions of the Khmer community, as well as in education and human resources quality.
The political system in Khmer-inhabited areas had been reinforced with increasing number of Khmer officials, he said. The solidarity among religions and ethnic groups had been promoted, while political security and social order and safety have been ensured.
However, the PM pointed out that the socio-economic infrastructure system in the southern region had yet to meet development requirements. The incomes and livelihoods of part of the Khmer community, especially those in remote and mountainous regions, had been unstable.
The human resource quality had yet to meet the requirements for industrialisation and modernisation, he said, adding that there were still activities of abusing religions to harm solidarity among Khmer people.
He requested ministries, sectors and regional localities to actively carry out policies related to ethnic and religious affairs to meet aspirations.
It is necessary to give more resources to localities that are home to ethnic minority groups to boost socio-economic growth and climate change, he said, stressing the need to encourage startups and job generation so as not to leave any one behind.
The PM asked authorised agencies to promote the popularisation of policy and legal regulations among Khmer people, while creating favourable conditions for religious activities of the group.
Local authorities should offer support to poor households, ensuring all Khmer people enjoy a warm festival, the PM said.-VNS