KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak paid tribute to the people for their sacrifices and hard work in making Malaysia what it is today.
In a message on his 1Malaysia blog to mark the 50th anniversary of the nation's formation, the Prime Minister said at such a young age, Malaysia had successfully built a country, respected in political, economical and social development aspects.
"The sacrifices and hard work of everyone in making this nation and defending its peace and prosperity will always be appreciated," he said. "For all Malaysians, let's all work together in building economic prosperity, defend our sovereignty and preserve the harmony in our country."
Najib said this year's Malaysia Day was historic, recalling the 1963 announcement by the then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur, which was witnessed by the King, the Malay rulers and the governors of Sabah and Sarawak, Penang and Malacca, and 30,000 people.
"The announcement gave a ray of hope to everyone. At that time, Malaysians, of various religions and races, dreamed of independence, freedom and prosperity in a sovereign country," Najib said. "A compromise was achieved with the Federation of the Malaya then to protect the interests of Sabah and Sarawak. The rights of autonomy and their status were stated in the Item 20 of the Cobbold Commission," he pointed out.
Najib said Sabah and Sarawak had never been marginalised by the Federal Government in the administration of the country.
"As the Prime Minister, I will always strive to ensure equal development for all the states in the country," he said, adding that since 2010, the Government had allocated RM2bil (S$772 million),to implement 79 rural infrastructure development projects in Sabah and Sarawak.
"In 2012 alone, RM62.3mil from this was set aside for several projects under the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy (Score), including the design of the roads in the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub, the supply of water in Samalaju and the feasibility study for a science park in Mukah.
"A total of RM207mil was channelled into the Sabah Development Corridor for several infrastructure and agricultural projects," he said.
Najib said the continuous efforts to develop Sabah and Sarawak's economy, would always remain a priority of the Government.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said it was vital for harmony and tolerance to be nurtured as the foundation of a strong, credible and respected Malaysia.
He said without these, development efforts could not be implemented effectively.
"We have to acknowledge and give due recognition to the Government efforts in developing the country and meeting the wide-ranging needs of the people," Muhyiddin said.
"The task is not easy and demands commitment and sacrifices," he said in his Malaysia Day message here.
Muhyiddin said from Tunku's era till today, the Government had never neglected the rights of the people.
He said the Federal Constitution was the foundation to ensure that the peoples' rights were not ignored.