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Put country’s interest first, says PM

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians should move forward and put the country’s interest before any “narrowly defined demands”, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In his Christmas message to all, he said the peace that has prevailed in the country over most of the past 50 years of independence was due to sheer hard work from the people and a strong sense of responsibility among Malaysians.

“Over the last few months, narrow-mindedness and intolerance, propounded by a small group, have served to test our faith in each other.

“Therefore, in celebrating Christmas today, I am happy to note that Malaysians of all faiths continue the tradition of sharing and caring – a tradition that we have practised all these years,” he said.

Abdullah said Malaysians have seen over the years how love and compassion helped them break down racial barriers.

Love and compassion, he said, also helped Malaysians understand the adversity faced by the less fortunate and the marginalised.

“Despite all the rhetoric, the great religions of the world practised across Malaysia share many universal beliefs.

“None is more evident than our central belief in the power of love and compassion,” he said, adding that Malaysians must believe that the country was truly greater than the sum of her parts.

The Prime Minister urged all Malaysians to lend a helping hand to those who have to spend the festive season in great hardship.

“In this spirit and as we celebrate Christmas with all who are important to us, our thoughts also go out to the unfortunate and all who face hardship at this time – such as the flood victims in our country.

“Lastly, let me take this opportunity to wish my fellow Malaysians of the Christian faith a very happy Christmas,” he said.

Abdullah will be the guest of honour at the Christmas high-tea reception here today hosted by KL Archbishop Datuk Murphy Pakiam. The prime minister will be accompanied by his wife, Datin Paduka Seri Jeanne Abdullah.

Heads of churches, Cabinet members, leaders of other religious groups and foreign dignitaries are expected to be at the event.

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