PM: A prosperous Malaysia depends on goodwill, understanding

By The Star

PUTRAJAYA: Goodwill and understanding among the races and religions are the core foundation to build a strong, prosperous and harmonious Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

“This is the Malaysia as envisioned in the Government Trans­formation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Pro­gramme (ETP),” the Prime Minister said.

He said the country would not grow if there was a lack of understanding among its citizens of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“The Government cannot transform (the country) and achieve what is planned under GTP and ETP if there is no unity and harmony. These two points are the essence of this nation and we must work hard, not only to preserve this but bring unity and harmony among the races to a new level,” he said at a muhibbah gathering with religious leaders and members of the Committee to Promote Religious Understanding and Harmony, held in conjunction with Hari Malaysia.

Najib said the root cause of apprehension, conflict and misunderstanding among people of different ethnicities and religions was ignorance and lack of knowledge.

“When there is ignorance, one cannot have goodwill and understanding,” he said.

Najib said the nation’s founding fathers had found a formula which was not only unique but also inclusive for all Malaysians, where although Bahasa Melayu was the official language, the use of other mother tongue languages was not prohibited and while Islam was the official religion, one had the right to practice his religion of choice.

“Even though the rights of Bumiputras are stated in the Constitution, the non-Bumiputras also have rights under the Consti­tution. This understanding is what has carried us forward and allowed us to bring about changes and development to the country,” he added.

The Prime Minister said the setting up of the Committee to Promote Religious Understanding and Harmony was timely as it served as a mechanism or platform to discuss racial and religious issues “heart-to-heart” in the spirit of muhibbah and behind closed doors.

“As the leader of this Govern­ment, I support their cause and will give some allocations to enable the committee to carry out its plans and programmes. I hope the work of this committee will be used as an example by all Malaysians to work together irrespective racial and religious differences,” Najib added.