KUCHING, Sept 16 — In his Malaysia Day address to the nation tonight, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stressed that Malaysians must be conscious of their responsibility to protect national unity and inter-ethnic harmony, and not leave it to federal and state governments.
The prime minister noted that his administration remembers and values the uneven and difficult routes taken by those in the past to achieve Independence for the Federated Malay States, followed by the efforts to form Malaysia together with Sabah and Sarawak.
“If we remember what they had gone through, we will not take unity and cooperation among the various races lightly, and that we should even be prepared to rise up to defend our unity if there are elements attempting to disrupt our unity,” he said during the celebration here.
Dr Mahathir admitted that the spirit of unity will undergo ups and downs depending on situations and conditions, but it should not be allowed to remain in the trough permanently.
He said Malaysians must continue the spirit of love for unity, explaining the reason why “Sayangi Malaysiau: Malaysia Bersih” was chosen as theme for the Malaysia Day celebration.
He said he is confident that when Malaysians love their country, they will follow it with the love for its people.
“By on its own, unity will exist. This is what we hope to aspire,” Dr Mahathir said.
He said whenever unity is achieved, political political stability will exist.
“Political stability will give us a chance to administer and implement policies and programmes for the development of the country and prosperity of the people,” he said, adding that unity will also lead to rise in economic activities that will create wealth for all to share.
He said Malaysians should take as an example the destruction experienced by other countries due to disunity which later developed into conflicts and wars.
The prime minister also warned of efforts by fellow Malaysians themselves to weaken unity among the citizens, adding that those involved are resorting to stoking emotional issues, such as ethno-religious tension, in their narratives.
He said it is easy for Malaysians to get trapped by such issues, but stressed that they can get over it by having confidence in themselves.