Malaysian PM calls for racial unity on EidBy IANS
Friday, September 10, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR - Tear down the walls of suspicion and discard prejudices, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has said while greeting his countrymen on Eid, which is known as ‘Hari Raya Aidilfitri’ in Malaysia.
In his message to the country of 28 million people, including Malay Muslims, ethnic Chinese and Indians, the prime minister urged people to check themselves from getting dragged into “extremist activities and ignorance”.
“If we allow these to take root, it will only mean that we are sowing the seeds of destruction to destroy everything we have built thus far,” he said.
Encouraging Muslims to carry on the tradition of holding open houses, the prime minister said it was a unique Malaysian custom in which friends of various races and religions could call on Muslims without any hindrance or apprehension, The Star newspaper said Friday.
“We are free from wars, conflicts, oppression and natural disasters which some of our brethren elsewhere in this world suffer from,” Najib said.
Najib’s call for unity and solidarity was echoed by his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and leaders of the ruling alliance, Barisan Nasional, including Chua Soi Lek who heads the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) President S. Samy Vellu.
Chua said Malaysians should not let themselves be trapped “by religious bigotry, hatred or suspicion”.
Samy Vellu said the celebration was “a good time for people to forget their differences and renew the community spirit,” the official news agency, Bernama, reported.
Najib said this moderate approach had enabled Malaysia to emerge as one of the most developed among the Islamic nations in the world, and had placed the people and country on the right track towards becoming a developed and high-income Islamic nation by 2020.
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad also called on people of all religions “not to discuss sensitive issues openly on the internet as it could result in conflict”, according to Harian Metro newspaper.
Mahathir, who ruled the country for 23 years, said that open discussions could invite emotionally-charged comments that hurt feelings of others and that such remarks posted on blogs as well as on online social networks could not be retracted.
Estimated at 1.7 million, ethnic Indians form seven percent of the country’s population.