Malaysia guided by moderation: Najib

Prime Minister, Najib presenting the Tokoh Maal Hijrah Award to Sheikh Ghazali.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Malaysia's mission to become a developed nation is constantly guided by the approach of wasatiyyah (moderation) to ensure unity is preserved, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

This principle, adopted by the nation's founding fathers, had been the key to almost all of Malaysia's success stories, the Prime Minister said.

"Many had been cynical that our multi-racial, multi-religious nation could grow in harmony, but it is clear that we have done it, and will continue to do so.

"Our secret to this is the wasatiyyah courage, which is the best approach to a holistic development based on Islamic principles, leading to an excellent future," he said at the national Maal Hijrah celebrations at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre yesterday.

Also present was Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

This year's Maal Hijrah, or Islamic New Year, carries the theme "Unity, the Pulse of National Transformation".

At the event, syariah legal adviser in the Attorney-General's Chambers, Tan Sri Sheikh Ghazali Abdul Rahman, was named "Tokoh Maal Hijrah 1436H/2014M".

In his opening remarks, Najib called on Muslims not to be too rigid and extreme, while staying within religious borders.

"True victory is finding the best for the afterlife, while also making a name for oneself in this temporary world we inhabit now," he added.

Najib said Malaysia's practice of moderation had made it a role model for other countries.

He cited two achievements this year that were proof of the world's recognition of the Government and Malaysians.

One was Malaysia's brokering of a peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March, and the other was Malaysia's recent success in securing a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council.

"Malaysia upholds the practices of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah and follows the teachings of the Shafie school of Islam, but this does not mean we reject other schools of thought such as Imam Hambali, Maliki and Hanafi.

"However, we must continue to reject attempts by some groups to push forward thoughts of liberalism and pluralism, which are not in line with Islamic teachings."

On unity, Najib also invited Muslims to emulate the moderation approach taken by Prophet Muhammad in Madinah, where Muslims and non-Muslims were united in diversity.