Multi-ethnic harmony due to leadership, says Ong


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 25 Dec 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting is confident that Malaysians will continue to enjoy freedom of religion under the good, fair and moderate leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

“Malaysia is a model country for its multi-ethnic society and this is due to the country’s leadership,” he said in his Christmas Day message. 

Ong urged Malaysians to take the opportunity to visit each other during the festive season as a way to further enhance the mutual respect, understanding and tolerance among one another.  

“May all Malaysians be blessed with good health and continue to enjoy the stability, peace and harmony in our multi-ethnic society and have an even better year ahead.” 

Ong, who is also Housing and Local Government Minister, said he hoped Malaysians would continue to strive to uphold the Federal Constitution which has enshrined among others, the freedom of religion, freedom to learn mother tongues and freedom to participate in politics.  

He hoped people around the world would also enjoy the blessings which Malaysians had been enjoying all this while.  

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk M. Kayveas said the Christmas celebration showed that Malaysians were free to choose their religion without any discrimination. 

He said Malaysians should take the initiative to understand the cultures of the various races and practise tolerance in order to strengthen relationships. 

In Kuching, Sarawak Governor Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin called on the people to preserve the good relationships among the various ethnic groups. 

He said unity should not be taken for granted but should be maintained through the efforts of everyone from the government to individuals. 

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said the diversity of religions and traditions in Malaysia had become the basis for nation building and unity. 

He said the national Christmas open house in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday was a clear indication that the Government not only valued religious freedom but also the faiths of every community as an important dimension of national unity. 

“We should be proud that in Malaysia we have a tolerant society that remains united,” he said. 

In Penang, DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang urged Malaysians to be conscious of their constitutional birth rights to defend the 46-year Merdeka “social contract” of Malaysia as a secular multi-religious nation. 

“Let us work towards the establishment of a National Inter-Religious Council for representatives of all major religions to come together to promote inter-religious and inter-civilisational understanding, tolerance and respect not only in Malaysia but also in the world,” he said in his Christmas Day message. 

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