Every major religious celebration observed in Malaysia is an opportunity for me to appreciate the wonderful diversity of our country and to learn more about the Rakyat. I have witnessed massive congregations of Hindu devotees make their pilgrimage to Batu Caves for Thaipusam. I have enjoyed the hospitality of Chinese friends during the Lunar New Year. Of course, every Aidilfitri I personally meet and greet thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life who come as guests at my open house.
Wesak Day is no different. For the past two years as Prime Minister, I have been fortunate to attend the Wesak Day celebrations with Malaysian Buddhists, first at Fo Guang Shan Dong Zen Temple in Kuala Langat and last year at Asoka Hall in Brickfields.
In visiting these communities, I am constantly reminded that all religions share common values of humanity and moderation. Most importantly, all religions teach the value of kindness and respect towards each other regardless of race, ethnicity, creed and background. Although occasionally, disputes and misunderstandings may threaten to dislodge the peaceful environment we live in, I sincerely believe that we can overcome them by reminding ourselves of this simple value that all religions cherish and take the route of moderation.
To Malaysian Buddhists, have a happy and meaningful Wesak Day.