A CEL­E­BRA­TION OF DI­VER­SITY

With­out com­mon val­ues that unite us, we will not have po­lit­i­cal and so­cial sta­bil­ity, says PM

New Straits Times - - Front Page - HARIZ MOHD SHAH ALAM harizm@nst.com.my

MALAYSIA’S fu­ture as a multi-racial and multi-re­li­gious coun­try de­pends on its po­lit­i­cal and so­cial sta­bil­ity. Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said sta­bil­ity could only be re­alised if the coun­try had in­ter­faith har­mony, which re­quired mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and re­spect among cit­i­zens.

“I be­lieve if we want to take our coun­try for­ward to re­alise its po­ten­tial as a na­tion, where ev­ery ci­ti­zen, re­gard­less of their re­li­gion or cul­ture, can work to­gether to fight for a bet­ter fu­ture, we must have sta­bil­ity, both po­lit­i­cal and so­cial, as the foun­da­tion of our na­tion.

“When we touch on the sub­ject of sta­bil­ity, the core of it is our com­mon val­ues. With­out com­mon val­ues that bind and unite us, we will not achieve po­lit­i­cal and so­cial sta­bil­ity.

“This can only be­come a reality if we have in­ter­faith har­mony, which is based on mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and re­spect.

“This is one of the in­trin­sic val­ues we need to prop­a­gate and strengthen,” he said in his speech at the Na­tional We­sak Day Hi-Tea event here yes­ter­day,

More than 1,000 peo­ple at­tended the re­cep­tion at Sa­madhi Vi­hara in Bukit Raja.

Present were Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment Tan Sri Joseph Ku­rup, Malaysia Bud­dhists As­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Sit Chan Liang and Joint We­sak Cel­e­bra­tion Com­mit­tee chair­man Ng Hong Pau, as well as lead­ers from dif­fer­ent re­li­gious bod­ies.

Na­jib said the na­tion’s found­ing fa­thers — Tunku Ab­dul Rah­man, Tun Ab­dul Razak Hus­sein, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Sam­ban­than — had laid a foun­da­tion to forge in­ter­faith har­mony through the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion, shared val­ues and pol­i­tics.

“To­day, as we cel­e­brate We­sak, let us com­mit to these val­ues, which are im­por­tant for us to fur­ther strengthen the unity among us to achieve the as­pi­ra­tion of a stronger and greater Malaysia.

“Malaysia is unique be­cause it is the only na­tion that has links with the Malay ar­chi­pel­ago, the Chi­nese civil­i­sa­tion, In­dian civil­i­sa­tion and oth­ers.

“We are a great cul­mi­na­tion of all the teach­ings, val­ues, cul­tures, reli­gions, lan­guages, from these great civil­i­sa­tions.”

He said Malaysia was re­spected in­ter­na­tion­ally as an ex­em­plary and di­verse na­tion, free of con­flict and vi­o­lence.

Na­jib said his of­fi­cial vis­its to other na­tions, in­clud­ing China and In­dia, would not be suc­cess­ful if Malaysia was not a good model unity in di­ver­sity.

“They re­spect us be­cause we are ex­em­plary. We don’t have the ten­sion, con­flict and vi­o­lence that other coun­tries have.

“They say Malaysia is a land of peace and har­mony. So, let us ensure that this con­tin­ues.”

Na­jib ad­vised Malaysians to re­ject ex­trem­ism, and not let ex­trem­ists in­flu­ence the peo­ple.

In his speech, he also praised the Bud­dhist com­mu­nity at the func­tion for re­spect­ing the Is­lamic call to prayer — the azan — which started shortly af­ter he be­gan his speech.

At­ten­dees ob­served a mo­ment of si­lence out of re­spect for the azan . This prompted Na­jib to pause his speech.

“Ladies and gen­tle­men, thank you for the re­spect you showed dur­ing the azan, which is so close to the heart of Mus­lims.

“This is an­other ex­am­ple of how we all re­spect each other’s re­li­gion in our coun­try,” he said to thun­der­ous ap­plause.

PIC BY ROSLIN MAT TAHIR

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak and Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at the Na­tional We­sak Day Hi-Tea event at Sa­madhi Vi­hara in Shah Alam yes­ter­day.

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