UNIFYING FORCE: Malaysia Day celebrations should bring people of diverse races together
KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday called on Malaysians to protect themselves against those who are out to destroy the country's sovereignty and achievements.
"We are in the same ship. If the ship springs a leak, we all drown, so we must keep the boat afloat," he said in his Malaysia Day greetings yesterday.
Malaysia Day, he said, held great significance tracing back to the struggles of a country which has progressed from an agricultural-based economy to that of a highly-industrialised nation.
Chua said economic expansion and the improved well-being of the people should take precedence over rallies and street demonstrations.
"We do not want such activities to be a common feature in Malaysia's political calendar. Our country's image is tarnished if it is dubbed as a city of demonstrations instead of a city of economic transformation."
In his Malaysia Day message, Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said Peninsular Malaysians could learn from their counterparts in Sabah and Sarawak in embodying the spirit of 1Malaysia.
"I was recently in Labuan, and I was struck by how the people there did not see race or religion as an issue. One family may contain Christians and Muslims, Malays and Kadazans and Chinese.
"But here in the peninsula, sometimes we see certain issues too easily through a racial or religious lens. We need to embrace 1Malaysia in its whole form, not just through our words," he said at the ministry's Federal Territories Hari Raya celebration here yesterday.
1Malaysia Foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said Malaysia Day celebrations should be a unifying force to bring people of diverse races together for a common goal and for the country's success.
"I always believe that being Malaysian does not make anyone less a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban, etc.
"Malaysians should start accepting each other as Malaysians regardless of race and religion. (They) should be proud to identify themselves first as Malaysians, as such identification fosters patriotism and develops unity."
In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, in his message, reminded the people to embrace the strength that cultural diversity offered the nation.
He called on everyone to make an effort to understand the different cultural practices each community brought.
"We must accept that each individual is different, and that every ethnic group has its own traditions and customs, many of which are age old.
"The state government is committed to ensuring peace and racial harmony is safeguarded as the bigger task at hand is to create a successful nation, and one that all Malaysians can be proud of."
He said Malaysia Day marked an an important day in history where the formation of the nation brought together regions separated by sea.
Musa said that Malaysia had transformed greatly in many aspects, ranging from economic diversity to improvements in healthcare and education and an overall enhanced standard of living.
"Almost five decades on, Malaysia continues to thrive and remains a resilient country.
"Collectively, Malaysians are capable of great things, and I am sure we will see our citizens charting more success stories in future," he added.