Leaders call for peace and goodwill

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should streng­then ties between races and religions this Christmas season and reject attempts to harm harmony, said the country’s leaders.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the inclusive nature of Malaysians is what makes the country unique, united and strong.

“Malaysia is a peaceful country where people from all races and religions come to­­gether to celebrate each other’s holiday festivities.

“It is a manifestation of the inclusiveness of Malaysian culture that has been celebrated over the years,” the Prime Minister said in his Christmas message.

He expressed hope that the mutual regard Malaysians had for each other despite their different races and religions would continue and be passed on to the younger generation.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail urged all Malaysians to “uphold the peaceful co-existence and bonds of friendship” this festive season.

“In conjunction with Christmas this year, let us continue to cherish the respect, understanding and love that exist between our fellow Malaysians. This is not something that can easily be torn apart. United we stand, divided we fall,” she said.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Malay­sia’s economic growth could only be sustained if the people remained united.

Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, hit out at opposition parties, which he said adopted a racist line or extremist position based on religion in order to remain relevant.

“Not only will non-Muslims and non-Malays not be given the right to serve as ministers, but their rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution will be further undermined and diminished to the extent that Christmas celebrations are unacceptable,” he said without naming the parties in question.

The DAP, said Lim, urged Malay­sians to unite and reject such racists and religious ex­­tre­­­­mists by upholding the Federal Consti­tution.

“Should these racists and religious extre­mists succeed, Malaysia would face not just ruin and deprivation, but our children’s future would also be destroyed,” he said.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Sha­fie Apdal urged the people to bravely reject all plans and actions that were detrimental to Malaysia’s peaceful and harmonious way of life.

“Let this love for peace be deeply planted in our hearts and let us tirelessly promote peace and harmony,” he said.

He added that Christmas is a time when the ­message of joy and peace is loudly heard and widely spread.

“We also see this as an opportune moment for us to pause and reflect on the many divine blessings we have received.

“This year has indeed been an extraordinary one for our state and nation,” Mohd Shafie said.

“Therefore, we happily join ­members of Christian churches in the state in their celebration of Christmas.”

Melaka Chief Minister Adly Za­­hari said the people of the state should uphold the harmonious bond among races and continue to respect each other.

“Melaka is known as a melting pot with a multi-ethnic society and we should set a good example for future generations,” Adly said.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said Christ­mas should be an occasion to strengthen bonds between family and friends.

He also hoped that the people would continue to be united and respect each other’s races and religions.

Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud said the people of Sarawak, comprising at least 30 ethnic groups with diverse religious beliefs, had colourful backgrounds and a long tradition of living in peace and harmony.

He said they respected each other’s religions, including Chris­tianity with its universal value of peace to the world and peace and goodwill among mankind.

“Therefore, it is not a surprise that we are often referred to as a model of friendly and harmonious society,” Bernama reported Abdul Taib as saying.

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