PETALING JAYA: Malaysia could not have given her people prosperity, progress and peace without acts of selflessness and the willingness to sacrifice for the country’s interests, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said the nation was built on noble values – tolerance, high moral values, mutual respect and the willingness to share and give and take.
Without these values, Malaysia would not have been able to attain success and growth and her people could not enjoy comfort and progress, he said.
In his National Day message, Dr Mahathir emphasised tolerance and understanding among Malaysians of different race and religion amid tensions in relations.
“The values that we practise should not stop just because we achieved independence and enjoy prosperity.
“Instead, the more successful we become, the more we should realise the importance of these values.
“As much as it was important for our forefathers to have embraced these values to shape this country, it is more important for us to uphold them, ” said the Prime Minister.
Dr Mahathir said sadly, as the people became engrossed with digitalisation and communications, all these values were ignored and replaced by bad attitudes.
“This is blatant when faced with sensitive issues regarding race and religion.
“When defending these issues, certain parties insulted others with derogatory words, so much so that it angered and distressed other races, ” he said.
Describing this behaviour as perplexing, Prime Minister pointed out that for one to uphold religion, he should set an example through acts and words.
“It is my wish that as we celebrate Merdeka Day, people regardless their ethnicity, faith or culture come together in the same spirit that helped us achieve independence, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the government was focused on the vision of shared prosperity aimed at ensuring that the country enjoy sustainable development with fair and inclusive economic distribution by 2030.
The vision was also to bring greater excellence to the country and for Malaysia to be an important economic power in Asia, he said.
“The vision as well as government policies will be unsuccessful if the administrative system does not support these efforts.
“Among country’s greatest disasters is corruption, which also involves the civil service.
To ensure our policies are not sabotaged by abuses of power and position, we have put in place efforts to fight these menaces, ” he said.
The Prime Minister said this was why this year’s Merdeka Day celebration was themed “Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih”, as it was the government’s hope to rid the nation of corruption, which could fail efforts meant for the people to enjoy shared prosperity.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stressed upon Malaysians the importance of upholding national unity and opposing discord.
“Malaysia would be at a loss if it failed to focus on economic issues, the cost of living and economic welfare of the people.
“This is why the ongoing Budget 2020 consultation sessions focus on shared prosperity and the entrepreneurial economy that will help Malaysians reaffirm the belief that we can only be stronger when we are together.
“Let us celebrate our National Day by renewing our trust in one another, that only when we are united, will we not fail, ” he said.
In Kota Kinabalu, Parti Solidariti Tanah Air Ku (Sabah STAR) president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan called on the Federal Government to put an end to the attitude of dominance on Sabah and Sarawak and “practise the true spirit of unity in diversity”.
“In conjunction with this year’s independence celebrations, we should also rid the nation of internal strife caused by struggles of racial superiority and the belittling of minorities, ” said the Opposition MP for Keningau.
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