KUALA LUMPUR: King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has again called on all Malaysians to maintain social cohesion, national integration and racial unity as key for the country to overcome all its challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued on the occasion of Malaysia’s 64th national day celebrations on Tuesday (Aug 31), the king said that the unity and harmony among Malaysians is the solid foundation in ensuring the country’s stability, peace and prosperity.
“This is the second time the people celebrate Independence Day amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but this will not dampen the spirit of patriotism and unity among us to commemorate this historic day,” said the statement issued by the Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin.
If this fighting spirit, nurtured over the last six decades, is still cultivated and strengthened today, then the country should be able to free itself from the threat of COVID-19, said the statement.
The king also called on all Malaysians to take care of their health and to remain united in creating a safe environment to end the pandemic.
According to the statement, the behaviour of a small number of individuals who violated the standard operating procedures and regulations that have been put in place in the fight against the pandemic, can jeopardise society and undermine the national recovery efforts.
“The king would like to advise the people that the effort to fight the pandemic requires solidarity and unity among the people, leaders and the government, by putting aside their differences and political conflicts, so that a strong symbiosis can be created among all to pull the country out of the pandemic,” added the statement.
The king said that the government should continue working on its action plan to help those affected by the pandemic and to restore the country’s economic health again.
He also called for the COVID-19 national immunisation programme to be further boosted so that the country can achieve herd immunity.
“On the part of the people, they should uphold the principle of Malaysia Prihatin (Caring Malaysia), by quickly getting themselves vaccinated in order to protect themselves, their families and the community,” said the statement.
In his televised address on Monday, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob also urged Malaysians to get vaccinated immediately to help the country recover from COVID-19.
“We must continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as our main enemy," he said in the address ahead of Malaysia’s national day celebrations.
Mr Ismail Sabri said that the success in the fight against the pandemic would pave the way for economic recovery in Malaysia and allow the people to live in the new normal.
“The economy should be restored, the well-being of the people should be improved, investor confidence should return,” said Mr Ismail Sabri.
Mr Ismail Sabri was sworn in as prime minister on Aug 21 following the resignation of his predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin.
His Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers took their oaths of office on Monday, but Mr Ismail Sabri had to miss the swearing-in ceremony after being declared close contact of COVID-19 patient.
The prime minister witnessed Malaysia’s national day celebrations in Putrajaya on Tuesday virtually.
The king has repeatedly called for national unity amid political turbulence and the pandemic.
In an audience with leaders of major political parties on Aug 18, the king had decreed that all should work as one team. He also said that the new prime minister should also seek a confidence vote in the parliament as soon as possible.
It was reported on Monday that the next parliamentary sitting originally set for Sep 6 has been postponed to Sep 13.
Reports also indicated the absence of a confidence vote on the agenda, drawing the ire of several opposition lawmakers.