CEL­E­BRATE DIVER­SITY,

Cul­tural, re­li­gious dif­fer­ences do not af­fect na­tional se­cu­rity, says DPM

New Straits Times - - News -

SU­LAIMAN JAA­FAR

AND SHAR­I­FAH MAHSINAH PASIR PUTEH news@nst.com.my

MALAYSIANS should cel­e­brate the diver­sity in religion and cul­ture of the peo­ple in the coun­try, says Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi.

He said Malaysia was lucky that such diver­sity did not be­come an is­sue or af­fect na­tional se­cu­rity.

“In some coun­tries, these dif­fer­ences are not re­spected and this has led to civil wars.

“In Iraq and Syria, these con­flicts changed the democ­racy sys­tem to ‘demo-crazy’,” he said at the launch of the state-level “Ek­spresi Ne­garaku” pro­gramme at SMK Sun­gai Pe­tai here yes­ter­day.

Present were In­ter­na­tional, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mustapa Mo­hamed, Deputy Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment Datuk Dr Asyraf Wa­jdi Dusuki, mem­bers of par­lia­ment, state as­sem­bly­men and se­nior depart­ment heads.

Zahid said at the same time, the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees had a hard time re­lo­cat­ing refugees from the war­ring na­tions and find­ing a third coun­try that was will­ing to ac­cept them.

He said hope­fully, the same thing would not oc­cur in Malaysia as peo­ple had nowhere to go to es­cape.

“Malaysians have to main­tain the peace in the coun­try as they do not want to move some­where else.”

Zahid said Malaysians should be grate­ful that the coun­try was peace­ful.

Main­tain­ing the coun­try’s peace was para­mount, as well as en­sur­ing re­li­gious har­mony and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and re­spect, he said.

The deputy prime min­is­ter said the coun­try’s democ­racy was func­tion­ing well de­spite the diver­sity of the peo­ple.

Zahid said the “Ek­spresi Ne­garaku” pro­gramme here was part of the na­tional-level event launched by Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak re­cently.

“This pro­gramme has been held in other states, but Ke­lan­tan has seen a large turnout.”

Zahid and del­e­gates then vis­ited ex­hi­bi­tion booths set up by fed­eral agen­cies and de­part­ments at the event.

Ear­lier, Mustapa flagged off 5,000 par­tic­i­pants of the Ek­spresi Ne­garaku 3.7km run.

PIC BY GHAZ­ALI KORI

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi at the ‘Jali­nan Rakyat Plus’ pro­gramme in Marang yes­ter­day. With him is Menteri Be­sar Datuk Seri Ah­mad Razif Ab­dul Rah­man (se­cond from right).

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