Let’s continue to foster spirit of unity


(STAND ALONE)Visitors joining Sarawak Cultural Village performers in a traditional dance to celebrate Malaysia Day at Sarawak Culture Village in Santubong, Kuching. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR

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 multiracial Malaysia.

Through the celebration of Malaysia Day, Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia are brought closer together in the spirit of integration and national unity. Sabah and Sarawak are practical and visible examples of unity in diversity where Malaysians of diverse ethnic groups 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 all odds. It is occasions such as the Malaysia Day celebrations that enable Malaysians to rekindle their patriotic spirit. 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.

I always believe that being a Malaysian does not make anyone less Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban etc.

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.

Although ethnic relations in the country are generally satisfactory, we must certainly not take our 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.

The process of establishing a united Malaysian nation is a continuous one, and what has been achieved so far must be nurtured and reinforced. Unity is a priceless gift and a symbol of our humanity. It is the foundation upon which we build relationships, families, communities and a nation. It is the bond that seals our nationhood.

Unity must first start with the individual. If there is unity in a person’s thoughts, emotions and actions, it will be reflected in how they treat others. Many people are taking unity for granted. This is not a healthy development for a multi-racial, multi-religious and multicultural country like Malaysia. Continuous efforts must be made by all Malaysians to nurture and reinforce unity.

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 his country.

The Rukunegara 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.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Trustee

Malaysia Unity Foundation

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