Malaysians cannot take the unity and peace achieved as a nation and enjoyed by all for granted, said Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.
He said sincere efforts had been put in for everyone to maintain unity and to strengthen it, so as not to allow the sacrifices of those who had struggled for independence and sovereignty of the nation to be in vain.
"Information sharing within seconds through the advancement of social media platforms has to some extent undermined unity and harmony in Malaysia. Those with their own agendas use such platforms to spread messages that create unease among Malaysians.
"As consumers of social media information, it is our responsibility to stop sharing stories that are not verified and those which only create a fragmented society," he said in his Christmas message in Kota Kinabalu today.
Musa reminded Malaysians to not succumb to narrow minded rhetoric that is aimed at sowing hatred and disunity among the different races and culture, both in Sabah and in Malaysia.
On the Christmas celebration tomorrow, he said it was an occasion that provided an opportunity for the people to come together to exchange greetings to strengthen their bond.
"We may be diverse in terms of faith and culture, especially here in Sabah, yet we are able to focus on our common values as we share a strong desire to see peace and harmony prevail and open houses foster the true spirit of oneness," he said.
Musa also noted that Sabah has grown in terms of development, both through physical and socio-economic related programmes and that the state government continued to address regional gaps, bringing improvements and progress to those who needed it the most, ensuring that no one was left out in the long run.
He said the state government had achieved milestones by creating a balance in regional development due to its ability to look beyond differences and to focus on similarities.
"I wish to also take this opportunity to state that we must not let those with hidden agenda or politically-led motives to disrupt what Sabah and Malaysia are built on.
"There are some irresponsible quarters that would do anything to sow feelings of distrust with the aim of tearing the fabric that has held us all together," he said.
Musa also reminded the people to include the less fortunate during the festivity by playing a role in creating a joyous occasion for them.
He also thanked the security forces, many of whom sacrificed their family time for extended periods in order to maintain the country's security, so that the people could continue to live in peace.
"Security measures such as the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) and Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) provide the confidence we need to ensure further economic growth, including through tourism, agriculture and the oil and gas sector," he added.