(From left) Paralympians Siti Noor Radiah Ismail, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli, Abdul Latif Romly and Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi with their Paralympics medals. Sportsmen and women make the country proud when they win medals in international competitions. FILE PIC

AUG 31 will mark the 60th anniversary of Malaya’s independence, while Sept 16 will be the 54th commemoration of Malaysia Day.

These occasions enable Malay-sians to rekindle their patriotic spirit and foster interracial harmony, which are vital for nation-building.

Patriotism is not a short and frenzied display or show of emotion, but a lifetime commitment.

The love for our nation should not germinate and grow only in August.

On the contrary, we should keep the love strong, and take pride in our nation.

These two events should bring people together for a common goal, which is unity in diversity.

Malaysia can be a role model for the world if we can respect and celebrate our differences.

Differences of opinion are a fact of life. It is not our differences that cause disunity, but the intolerance of such differences.

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

Malaysians should accept each other as Malaysians and should identify themselves first as Ma-laysians, for such identification fosters patriotism and develops unity.

Malaysians must remain vigilant and be conscious of the sensitivities of other religions and cultures for the sake of interracial harmony.

The most urgent task of Malay-sians is to ensure racial and religious harmony, and reject extremism.

To prevent Malaysians from drifting apart, they must be ethnic bridge builders, not ethnic heroes.

It is our duty to work for peace and harmony and refrain from acts of provocation and violence.

Multiracial living and communities have become a source of racial integration for years, and have played a part in making Ma-laysia a harmonious place to live, learn, work and play.

We have a role to play by giving greater emphasis to the idea of Malaysian oneness and togetherness, based on values and virtues taught by all religions and races, instead of exploiting ethnic sentiments.

Malaysian should be committed to promoting peace, harmony and unity.

The “Ekspresi Negaraku” campaign should be supported by Malaysians since its goal is to inculcate patriotism in us.

It is a platform to promote the noble goal in conjunction with National Day, which carries
the theme “Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa”, or “My country, one heart, one soul”.

Malaysians express their love for the nation in many ways.

Those who join the military and police, for example, are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country. We have sportsmen and women who made our country proud when they won medals in international competitions.

Malaysians have shown their love for the country by paying taxes, which help others and develop the country.

Subscribing to the sovereignty of the law also shows our love for the country, as it is one of the five principles of Rukun Negara.

We can champion environmental causes or help the authorities tackle vandalism, littering, drug abuse and crime.

People can organise and participate in gotong-royong or Rukun Tetangga.

Malaysians can show their love for the nation by resisting attempts to polarise and divide people. There are many other ways to show our love for our country if we practise the Rukun Negara principles.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE,

Kuala Lumpur

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