SIBU: Malaysia Day celebrations should be a unifying force to bring people of diverse races together for a common goal and for the success of the country.
Trustee of Malaysia Unity Foundation, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said Sabah and Sarawak are practical and visible examples of unity in diversity where Malaysians of diverse ethnic groups are able to live, learn, work and play together harmoniously.
“As a matter of fact, Malaysia Day should rightly be declared as ‘Unity Day’ to reflect the aspiration of all Malaysians to stand united in the face of whatever odds,” he said in a press statement here yesterday in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebrations.
“As we commemorate the 55th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, the Malaysia Unity Foundation calls on all Malaysians to continue fostering inter-racial harmony, integration and unity which are vital ingredients for the success of our multi-racial country.
“Through the celebration of Malaysia Day, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia are brought closer together in the spirit of regional integration and national unity. It is occasions such as the Malaysia Day celebrations that enable Malaysians to rekindle their patriotic spirit which is most crucial in the building of unity in a multi-racial nation like ours,” he pointed out.
Adding on, he said: “I always believe that being a Malaysian does not make anyone less a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban among others.
“We should start accepting each other as Malaysians regardless of race and religion and should be proud to identify ourselves first as Malaysians, for such identification fosters patriotism and develops unity.”
Lee noted that although ethnic relations in the country are generally satisfactory, they must certainly not take the inter-racial and inter-religious harmony for granted.
“Malaysians of different ethnic origin must always be conscious of the need to have mutual respect for one another. They must always remain vigilant and be conscious of the sensitivities of our respective religions and cultures for the sake of inter-racial harmony.”
He further mentioned that the process of establishing a united Malaysian nation is a continuous one, and what has been achieved so far must be nurtured and reinforced.
“Let us include every Malaysian in the building of unity. We must start speaking with one voice, one that is inclusive of Malaysians of every ethnic background based on moderation and mutual respect for one another. We all contribute to the stability and economic prosperity of this country. Let us all be committed to promote a culture of moderation, harmony and unity.
“The Rukun Negara is our guide for nation-building and should be respected by all. It is a shared vision for national unity. Its principles should always be upheld and practised for we must never take for granted the stability, peace and harmony we have attained so far,” Lee stressed.