PETALING JAYA: The spirit of tolerance and diversity shared among Malaysians is the nation's primary source of strength, says Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
The King said that in order to build a strong, prosperous, respectable and dignified nation, everyone must discard all forms of divisive rhetoric and unite to steer the country towards a better future.
"In conjunction with the celebration of my official birthday, allow me to express my deepest gratitude to all Malaysians, whom I truly admire, for all the congratulatory wishes and prayers offered in conjunction with my official birthday.
"Indeed, those messages and prayers will increase my commitment and determination to continue to protect all Malaysians with full justice and equality," the King said in a special message on Sunday (June 4).
Sultan Abdullah said this year would be the fifth time he and the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah celebrated his birthday with all Malaysians.
"I am grateful that my official birthday this year is celebrated in a stable and peaceful landscape.
"Last year, the 15th General Election and the process to form the Federal Government had progressed in a peaceful and orderly manner.
"This clearly demonstrates that democratic practices, which had been observed over the past seven decades, continue to remain strong in the country.
"These democratic practices should continue to be the core foundation of the stability and harmony of the country," the King said.
He added that Malaysia had tremendous potential to become a modern and respected nation.
"Malaysia is blessed with peace, diversity, various resources and high-quality human capital with a high fighting spirit.
"In fact, the main strength of the country is actually its people," Sultan Abdullah said.
Malaysians, he added, had a strong desire for peace, harmony and unity in their daily lives and embraced their diversity with full tolerance.
"Our people have long been able to make a name for themselves on the global stage including in various fields, as well as to shape the geopolitical and regional landscape," he said.
His Majesty also reminded all Malaysians not to turn religious issues into a polemic or any political disputes.
"All parties must respect the position of Islam as the religion of the federation as stated under Article 3 of the Federal Constitution and must always respect the position of the Malay Rulers as the head of Islam," Sultan Abdullah said.
However, the King stressed that other religions could still be practised peacefully.
He also thanked the members of the government, civil servants and security forces who contributed to the prosperity and stability of the country.
"I would like to invite the country's leadership to continue to serve faithfully, increase efforts to build an efficient national administration system that is people-friendly and with integrity in order to protect the future of the people and the country," Sultan Abdullah added.
He also invited all Malaysians to come together to pray that Malaysia would remain peaceful, prosperous and be protected by God from challenges or natural disasters.