KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must sow the seeds of ‘moments of unity’ in order to preserve its sovereignty and independence.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysians have the ability to come together thanks to these moments of unity, which symbolise the bond between the nation’s various races.
Addressing a packed Dewan Merdeka at the Putra World Trade Centre tonight, Najib, in his Merdeka message, said such moments can be seen in episodes such as the recent Rio Olympics men’s badminton singles final involving Datuk Lee Chong Wei.
Najib, who watched the match at Dataran Putrajaya with other Malaysians, said it was an example of one moment being able to bring all Malaysians together, regardless of colour or creed.
“What was interesting and special was that the majority of Lee’s supporters were Malays who cheered loudly for Malaysia’s ‘King of Badminton’,” he said, to rapturous applause from the audience.
The audience also roared their approval for Chong Wei, who was present at the event tonight.
Najib, in his heartfelt speech, also cited the example of Ipoh’s famous ‘nasi vanggey’, frequently patronised by Malaysians from all walks of life.
“This Nasi Kandar stall is unique because it operates in a Chinese-owned restaurant that has existed since 1957.
“What is special is that all of its customers are made up of various races and backgrounds,” Najib said, adding that such eateries were another example of national unity.
The prime minister said that while Malaysians have taken great pains to foster solidarity and unity, they must also now allow ‘moments of disunity’ to destroy what they have built.
“Are we willing to let this country disintegrate and disappear in an instant because of a handful of greedy traitors?
“People back in the day would say, ‘biar putih tulang, jangan putih mata’ (it is better to die fighting than to live in regret).
He cited a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, who said that the meaning of freedom is discipline and adherence to the rule of law.
Najib expressed regret that some are trying to topple the government through undemocratic means, referendums, declarations and street protests.
He also noted that Malaysia now faces not only an external enemy, but a new form of colonialism which permeates and poisons the minds of the people, involving 'dirty hands’ from those in the country.
“Merdeka means standing on one's own feet, on one’s own volition. Merdeka means being free from foreign interference.
"More than that, Merdeka means a shift and transformation from backwardness to progress and excellence.”