KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on the people to remain united to defend the sovereignty of Malaysia which has gained independence and free from the clutches of colonialism for decades.

In his message in conjunction with the 56th anniversary of the country’s independence today, the Prime Minister pointed out that now was not the time for Malaysians to be disunited.

“Whatever challenges there are, we must not despair.

“We must move forward to develop the country based on national solidarity,” said Najib when delivering the message which was aired by local television stations last night.

He said that being a sovereign nation, the people had full rights in all matters pertaining to the administration of the country and decide for themselves the direction the country was heading for.

“In fact, in animating the independence and the incidents involved in attaining it, we must also continue to preserve and defend matters pertaining to the Malay Rulers, the position of the Islamic religion as well as the special privileges of the Malays and bumiputras as had been enshrined by our forefathers in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

The Independence Day parade this year with the theme ‘Malaysiaku Berdaulat: Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku’ (‘My Sovereign Malaysia: My Native Land’) will be held at the Merdeka Square, here today.

Najib also reminded the people that sovereignty as a factor that buttressed Malaysia’s independence did not come on a silver platter.

“Too much sweat had been shed, too much blood had been sacrificed. All these were due to the struggles of the leaders together with that of the past generation, and continued until today,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the young generation must continue to be guided and prepared to strengthen their identity and patriotic spirit.

“Only then would Malaysia with its high-minded people remain as a sovereign nation in its real meaning,” he said.

Referring to the armed intrusion incident in Lahad Datu, Sabah recently, Najib said the bloody incident was a lesson that Malaysia was not spared from exposure to external threat.

“The tragic incident is a reminder to Malaysians on the importance of remaining united for the sake of defending the country’s sovereignty,” he said.

Referring to Malaysia as a nation of various races that has made the country unique in the world, he said: “This uniqueness has made us special and an asset that will help us to achieve the developed nation status with high income in the next few years.”

source:The Star Online