On behalf of my wife Faridah Haji Tussin and our family, I wish to extend Christmas greetings to Christians in Sabah, and in Malaysia. Today, Malaysians from all walks of life join relatives, neighbours and friends in welcoming this festivity. Malaysians are blessed that we can celebrate our respective religious and cultural celebrations without fear.
This is an occasion for friends and relatives to visit one another to exchange greetings and strengthen kinship. Though we are diverse in terms of faith and culture, we are able to focus on common values and desire to see peace and harmony prevail. It is my hope that open houses continue to be held in their true spirit of fostering oneness.
It is my wish to see us in Sabah remain resilient in the face of efforts of certain quarters to undermine unity. We must not succumb to narrow minded rhetoric aimed at sowing hatred and suspicion among the different races and cultures both in Sabah and in Malaysia. We cannot allow the sacrifices of those who struggled for independence and sovereignty to be in vain.
Sabah can be proud of the fact that we are able to look beyond differences that come with diversity, focusing instead on similarities. This is one of the reasons Sabah has progressed well over the years. Together, we must work towards bringing Sabah to new and greater heights. Let us build Sabah together and create better livelihoods for all while ensuring that we are able to contribute to this state, the country and the region.
We must not allow hidden agendas or political motives to disrupt what Sabah and Malaysia are built on. There are some irresponsible quarters that would do anything to sow feelings of distrust with the aim of tearing the fabric that has held us all together. The government of the day has continuously pushed for not just tolerance, but acceptance of diversity in race and religions. The government is taking care of the interests of every Malaysian. This is our commitment.
In celebrating this joyous occasion, let us remember the less fortunate and do our bit by lending a hand. I am pleased to note that many continue to spread Christmas cheer at welfare homes, orphanages and centres for the disabled. Kind hearted people take time off their hectic schedules to share Christmas joy, in line with our pledge to be a society that cares for all.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank our security forces, many of whom leave their families for extended periods so that we can continue to live in peace. Security measures such as the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) provide confidence we need to ensure further economic growth.
On this note, I wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration.