Malaysia is grateful that it can celebrate the various festivals in a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere following the efforts of the people who practiced tolerance and accepted the differences in race and religion.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the solidarity inculcated by the people from small until adulthood had enabled national prosperity to be achieved within a short period since the establishment of Malaysia.
“There are other nations in the world that are still facing problems concerning racial issues and power struggles but we in this country are enjoying rapid development and close inter-racial relations.
“If we look closely and carefully, no country in the world with a plural society and various religions, various languages and various culture like Malaysia, which had grown rapidly and peacefully within a short period of time like our country,” he said.
Mahathir disclosed this in a recording of his speech in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration at the Prime Minister’s Office, Putrajaya recently.
Thus, the Prime Minister wanted the young and future generation to be moulded into a Malaysian community that lived together and cooperated to achieve success.
He added that this was the key to national solidarity in line with the aspiration and objectives stated in the Rukun Negara.
“They include the aspiration to achieve closer unity among all the people, the aspiration to create a just community where national prosperity could be shared together in a fair and equitable manner and the aspiration that the people would form an open attitude in accepting the various cultures in Malaysia,” he said.
Realising the presence of unhealthy elements that could jeopardise national harmony, Mahathir believed that it only involved a handful of people while the majority of Malaysians were mature and rational and were more keen on universal peace.
“This attitude was driven by the feeling of love for the country. This is our own country, there is no other place that is as unique as Malaysia,” he added.
In the speech, the prime minister and wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali took the opportunity to wish Happy Deepavali to all Malaysians of Hindu faith.
He hoped that during the festive season, the Open House tradition would continue to be maintained so that every level of the community could mingle with one another and enjoy the delicacies and practice healthy relationship in a peaceful manner.
“I hope that in conjunction with the day that brings the good elements that defeat the bad, we discard the bad elements for the common good. Let us utilise this special day to bring closer relations among us,” he said.