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Malaysian PM, DPM urge solidarity, unity in National Day message

In a National Day speech on Saturday (Aug 30), Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak called for a strenghtening of solidarity among Malaysians, including unity in the face of challenges and tests.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for a strenghtening of solidarity among Malaysians, including unity in the face of challenges and tests.

In his speech at the 57th National Day celebrations on Saturday (Aug 30) at the Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman in the Malaysian Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur, he said solidarity among the people who united in grief, for instance, was witnessed during the ceremony to honour the victims of the MH17 tragedy, which was the highest honour never before accorded to civilians.

The prime minister added that confidence and unity are also needed for the nation to achieve its ambitions and be competitive on the international arena. He also urged Malaysians to leave behind a prosperous and peaceful Malaysia for future generations. 

Elaborating on his first point, Mr Najib said people throughout the country observed a simultaneous minute of silence as a mark of solidarity and spirit of unity in building a nation - IMalaysia. "The point is, ladies and gentlemen, we showed our unity during the Day of Mourning throughout the nation, and we will continue this spirit of unity during good times as well as bad, for always," he said.

Regarding fostering the confidence of the people, he said everyone would have a bright future if Malaysians had strong ideas and lived in harmony to achieve a noble objective. He added that his administration would continue making the best decisions for the Malaysian people based on the needs, demands and capabilities of the government.

On his third point, which is to leave behind a prosperous and peaceful Malaysia, the prime minister said: "Whatever the challenges, whatever the tests, we will continue marching ahead, building a peaceful Malaysia for our children's future." Mr Najib then urged the people to work together towards success for the benefit of future generations.

Mr Najib also touched on the efforts of the opposition to divide the people during the times when his administration had a heavy responsibility and had to prioritise the welfare of the people. "Whatever the opposition did and whatever accusations they made, our agenda to look out for the people will be maintained," he said. 

It was the first time Prime Minister Najib gave his National Day message 'live' in front of an audience, and it was telecast by radio and television stations. The location where he delivered his address had been specially selected as it had historical significance since it was the location for the first Parliamentary sitting in 1959 as well as the place where three installations of the King were held.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the tragic loss of Malaysia Airlines flights MH370 and MH17 have united the people of Malaysia regardless of race and religion in getting through the difficult moments. He said this spirit would not exist if Malaysians did not have a strong identity and patriotic spirit to stand together when the country was facing such terrible tragedies.

In his National Day message, Mr Muhyiddin said it was not easy to maintain the unity and harmony of a multi-racial society. "However, after 57 years, we have done it and have succeeded, in the name of 1Malaysia," he said in his message ahead of the 57th Merdeka Day on Sunday (Aug 31).

He said despite their differences, Malaysians were united in their diversity and mutual respect, and should not be suspicious in their relations with one another. Mr Muhyiddin said Malaysians should be proud that in five decades, the country had gone through many challenges and emerged as a progressive and united nation.

"Trust me, if this united spirit continues, we will go far together with our spirit and patriotism as patriotism," he said. He added that tolerance and acceptance of differences in society were the main ingredients for Malaysia's success in building a nation with a plural society.

At the same time, Mr Muhyiddin said, Malaysians should always remember that the country's independence was not theirs alone but had to be passed on to the younger generation. "We have not only been entrusted by our freedom fighters to guard the peace of the country but we also have to pass on the true meaning of independence to the next generation," he said.

Muhyiddin said surely Malaysians did not want their descendants to inherit a country that was in upheaval. "Because just like the freedom fighters in the past, just like us today, and also for the future generations, it is in this nation called Malaysia "Where Love Begins," he said.

"Malaysia: Here, Where Love Begins" is the theme of the Merdeka Day celebrations this year. Mr Muhyiddin said from a poor country during the time of independence in 1957, Malaysia today was in the group of middle-income countries and was moving towards becoming a developed nation in the next six years.

On Malaysia's success, he said the country's economic growth of 6.4 per cent during the second quarter of 2014 was the best among Asean countries of 10 South East nations. He added that the unemployment rate had also been successfully maintained at a low rate of 2.8 per cent.

He stressed that they were the results of the success of the economic transformation programmes. He said if the encouraging results continue in the coming years, Malaysia would become a developed nation by 2020.