It is important for the rakyat to prioritise the nation in order to promote unity and further develop the country, said former Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) chairperson Daim Zainuddin.
"I believe, number one, the constitution is important. We must respect the constitution and the Rukun Negara.
"Aside from that, we must remember and prioritise the fact that we are Malaysians.
"If we put Malaysia first, then Insha’Allah, our country will be safe," he said in an interview with Astro Awani.
Though there are those who are championing Sabah and Sarawak rights, as well as those who say religion is important, Daim stressed that the country is even more important.
"It is true that religion is important, but the country is more important. As Malaysians, we should prioritise Malaysia as a country more," he said.
He was responding to a question from the interviewer who compared the post-election riots in Indonesia to rising political tension in Malaysia.
On a separate issue, Daim reminded ministers to discuss with their colleagues and officers first before releasing any public statements as they may shake the confidence of the people.
"Discuss with your press secretaries, what is the effect of our statement? How will the rakyat react? Negatively or positively?
"If it is negative, then don't (release the statement). If they still release it, then that is stupid.
"That is why they must discuss with their officers and also among the ministers themselves," he said.
It seems that right now, the ministers are not doing so and are issuing statements by themselves, he said.
When that happens, rectifying the effect of the statement will be difficult as negative effects, he said, spread faster than positive effects.
"That is why I hope, before making any statements, they should discuss first," he said.