KUANTAN - The multi-racial population of Malaysia is not an obstacle but a source of strength for the country, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"This strength and unique feature must be defended so that our nation will continue to be successful in facing the globalised economy that is getting more complex and challenging," said the Prime Minister.
He reminded Malaysians that peace and harmony in the country did not come about naturally but through efforts to find a middle path in nation-building.
Despite that, there were still Malaysians who did not appreciate the harmony enjoyed by all and viewed it as something frivolous, he added.
"Social peace and racial harmony should be preserved so that we will not run out of this capital one day.
"We must make it 'The Malaysian Way', a heritage to be inherited by our future generations," said Najib in a speech read out by MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai at the opening of the 32nd Chinese Cultural Festival here last night.
The event, organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Hua Zong) and the Pahang Federation of Chinese Associations, features a host of activities, competitions, cultural shows and exhibitions until tomorrow.
Earlier in Kulim, Liow, who is also Transport Minister, said he had directed the ministry to be on high alert during the haze.
"We have issued a circular that if the visibility is less than one nautical mile, small boats will need to stop operation until the situation improves.
"Today (yesterday), the visibility in some areas dropped to only 600m.
"Two flights were delayed while another from Singapore had to be diverted from its landing point.
"We are also getting the meteorological report every six hours in order to advise all vessels in the Strait of Malacca, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Port Klang," he said after opening the 38th Kedah MCA delegates' meeting in SJK (C) Chong Cheng yesterday.
Also present at the meeting was MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.
Liow, who started the day in Kangar, said the victory of the People's Action Party (PAP) in the Singapore general election would motivate the Malaysian Government to continue to ensure unity among the people and improve the economy.