MELAKA: The principles of national harmony must be defended and translated into the nation’s multi-religious society.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the uniqueness and strength of the nation lie in the nation’s diverse communities and freedom of religious practice.
He said the country’s previous leaders had worked hard to achieve harmony within a multiracial spectrum, which endeavour was undoubtedly difficult.
“Even though Islam is the official religion of the country, all religious celebrations are openly celebrated here and in fact, organised by the Malaysian government.
“This shows our commitment and concern to uphold the principles of unity in our country. It also shows that we respect all faiths,” Zahid said in his speech to launch the national-level Christmas Open house 2017 at the Proclamation of Independence Memorial here, tonight.
Zahid said the freedom to celebrate various religious festivals should not be misconstrued in any way.
He said Malaysia was fortunate to be able to enjoy peace and harmony, unlike some other countries that were currently restive due to religious strife.
“Some countries had to deploy police and armed forces to monitor churches during Christmas celebrations. Some even have to face civil wars as they cannot accept the freedom of religious practice.
Zahid also called for the people to remain united as demonstrated during the recent Solidarity Rally for Jerusalem last Friday.
“The participation of leaders from various races and religions, including those from Catholic associations displayed our unity in defending the holy land. Harmony and unity have become the foundation of Malaysians.
“This is the beauty and uniqueness of Malaysia. We must thank God for this gift, and work together to defend and preserve it,” he said.
Zahid, who had arrived at the celebration venue at 9pm, was accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Deputy Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed among others.
About 10,000 guests both local and foreign were treated with various delicacies as well as performances by guest artistes such as Datuk David Arumugam, Dasha Logan, Douglas Lim, and Hael Husaini among others.