Dr Mahathir said firstly, Malaysians should count their blessings as there were no riots or wars in this country, unlike other parts of the world.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged Malaysians to count their blessings and preserve the country’s harmony and peace as it would help the people to prosper.

In a statement issued in conjunction with Chinese New Year, the prime minister said that 2020 was highly anticipated by everyone, especially the Chinese.

“Even 30 years ago, people have looked forward for the year 2020. It was supposed to be the year for our Vision to become a developed nation to materialise.”

Almost a month into the new year, he said there were several things that the people should be grateful for.

He said Malaysians were better off than people elsewhere in the world as there were uncertainties in the global economy and political climate.

Dr Mahathir said firstly, Malaysians should count their blessings as there were no riots or wars in this country, unlike other parts of the world.

“We manage to defend our sovereignity without much dependence on any quarter. In reality, Malaysia is a peaceful country and the public can live harmoniously with one another.

“This is the biggest victory to all Malaysian citizens. Our people are united, and people from all walks of life are able to help and work with each other regardless of their racial and religious backgrounds.

“We can work in an organisation without looking at our racial background because all of us love peace. This is a blessing in disguise,” he said.

However, Dr Mahathir cautioned against any prolonged racial conflicts which could get in the way of continued peace.

He then touched on the country’s stable economy, and described the projected growth between 4.3 per cent and 4.8 per cent as something encouraging.

“Malaysia is among the nations which have the highest growth in comparison to other countries in Asia.”

He said despite Malaysia having a small economy, the growth rate proved that the people could cooperate with each other to ensure the nation’s prosperity.

“When the country is stable and the workforce is skilled, it will attract local and foreign investors.”

He said as a result of this Malaysia’s approved investments between January and September last year were higher than the value of approved investments from the same period in 2018.

“The government had approved RM149 billion worth of investments during the nine-month period.”

Dr Mahathir said the government has its own way to strengthen the country’s economy, but it may require time and patience especially from the private sectors.

He said Malaysia’s strength also lies in the people’s maturity as they do not buy into instigations that were intended to sow hatred within society.

He said the existence of such malicious agenda was aimed at dividing the people and disrupting the harmony enjoyed by the various races. He warned the people against allowing this group to influence society.

“If we become irrational and begin to be hateful of each other over petty matters, then this despicable group would have won.”

Instead, Dr Mahathir reminded Malaysians to practice tolerance and mutual respect.

He also hoped that the Lunar New Year would encourage every Malaysian to work towards strengthening racial ties, while holding on to the ‘Muhibbah’ spirit by visiting their friends and hosting open houses.

“To all in the Chinese community, my wife and I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai,” he said.