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MESSAGE OF HOPE: Najib says Palestinians can count on Malaysia, but for there to be lasting peace, Hamas and Fatah must unite
SEPANG: MALAYSIA will give Palestine the moral, financial and political support it needs to rise above its struggles, but securing a future of lasting peace hinges on the Palestinians being united.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said for Palestine to move towards having a future it envisioned, Palestinians would have to take the first step — to unite among themselves.
Najib said it was crucial for Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government.
"This is a reality that they (the Palestinians) must accept, as through a unity government, their struggles will bear fruit.
"Otherwise, things will remain the same for the Palestinians.
"I want to relay the message that the Palestinians are not alone in their struggles, which are also very close to the heart of Malaysians," Najib said.
The prime minister, who last week made a historic visit to war-ravaged Gaza, said his trip was a humanitarian one and that Kuala Lumpur would never meddle in Palestine's internal affairs.
Najib, who was accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor during the trip, said they were both saddened by the devastation and suffering Palestinians, especially the children, had to endure.
He said while the core solution to the Palestinians' struggles was unity, Malaysians could also take a leaf from the Palestinian cause and the strength a nation could draw from being united.
Greeted by about 10,000 people who eagerly awaited his arrival from Davos, Switzerland, where he had attended the World Economic Forum straight from his visit to Gaza, Najib told his scores of "fans" who came with placards emblazoned with the words "We Love PM", that his trips abroad were partly to raise the nation's image.
"They (the overseas trips) are not for my sake... they are ultimately for the people," he said, adding that Malaysians deserved the best leaders and not leaders who constantly put down every achievement the nation had accomplished for their own political mileage.
"God has given us so much. We must also admit that our nation is blessed that Malaysians had made the right choice (of leaders), by being with us (Barisan Nasional) all this while.
"God willing, the time (general election) will soon come again to make a choice and God willing, our country will continue to be blessed."
Najib, who is also finance minister, told the enthralled crowd that as the world continued to reel from economic uncertainties, Malaysia remained as one of the few countries which still shone brightly.
"They (the world community) are saying that Malaysia is one of the brighter spots in a world of uncertainties. This goes to show that the global community acknowledges our successes and development plans that will push Malaysia to be a fully developed nation by 2020," Najib said, adding that he told the WEF that his cabinet colleagues would continue to work hard to achieve Vision 2020.
As Najib, who arrived at the Bunga Raya Complex of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 11.05am, made his way into the complex, he was visibly surprised and moved by the sheer number of those present, including youths and senior citizens, who were chanting his name.
Present at the complex were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, as well as former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.
Muhyiddin described Najib's trip to Gaza as not only a bold and brave move, but a sincere gesture by a caring leader who empathised with the sufferings of the Palestinians.
"He (Najib) is a national hero. We, Malaysians, want to see the Palestinians free from the shackles of misery," said Muhyiddin.
Felcra settler Maarof Puteh, 78, and his wife Saadiah Husin, 74, who were holding the Jalur Gemilang and a placard expressing their love for the prime minister high above their heads, said they were proud of Najib and excited to see him in person for the first time.
"He has set a good example as leader of the country and we are proud of his achievements.
"Both of us made our way here early this morning from Kampung Sungai Dua at Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan to tell him that we are thankful for what he has done for the country and ensuring our wellbeing," Maarof said.
For Balamurugan Ramalingam, although it was Thaipusam yesterday, he said he had to meet Najib first, as he wanted the prime minister to know that he had the support of various races and levels of society.
"I will offer my prayers to Lord Murugan later in the day as I want to welcome the prime minister home first," he said.