KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia, which has more than 80 ethnic groups, is famous in the eyes of the world because of the uniqueness of its nation and people of many cultures and religions, living in peace and harmony.
Former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak said this showed the plural society in the country prioritised national unity.
“This includes understanding each other’s origins, respecting and accepting the culture, language, religion and way of life of each race,” he said.
Salleh said this when interviewed by The Malaysian Insight on the country’s post -independence accomplishments.
Excerpts from the interview were uploaded on Youtube today.
Salleh said the success in uniting people of various races and religions was a pride for Malaysians who celebrate Malaysia Day on September 16 (Thursday).
In addition, he highlighted the significance of freedom of speech practised in the country.
“As the former Minister of Communications and Multimedia I feel that freedom of speech is important to accord the people the right to express their views on various issues, including political issues
“Malaysia is a democratic country and there should be no obstacles for the people to express their views.
“The most significant changes are the provision of the live broadcast of parliamentary sitting…. the media are freer to report, including “reprimanding” the government, and expressions or ideas channeled by the people on social media are also heard and taken into account by leaders or the government,” he said.
However, Salleh hoped that no party would abuse the platform under the guise of freedom of speech.
He also expressed the hope that the formation of Malaysian could overcome the strategic challenges faced since gaining independence.
Salleh said this included ensuring equality in the economic field.
“It means a fair balance in terms of participation and contribution of all races – including Sabah and Sarawak Bumiputeras – in our fast- growing and modern economic sector. In addition, fair distribution in terms of control, management and ownership of the modern economy,” he said.