Kuala Lumpur, Jan 21 (PTI) Asserting that diversity is the strength of Malaysia, Premier Najib Razak has said his government understands and respects the needs and culture of the minority ethnic Indian community.
The least one could do was to tolerate the diversity of the races as even this would help keep many problems at bay, he said while attending celebrations for the Hindu festival of ”Thaipusam” yesterday.
“Diversity is the strength of this nation,” he said, adding the government had been fair to all ethnic communities.
Najib said his government had also contributed by launching the ”Little India” enclave near here.
The area houses Indian restaurants and grocery and clothes” shops and was launched when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was here on an official visit in October last year.
Najib also stressed the need for the people to move as one.
Stressing on the ”1Malaysia concept”, he said it was not a mere slogan or political rhetoric. For Malaysia to succeed, it can only be done through the unity of all who respect diversity.
Muslim majority Malaysia is made up of 60 per cent Malays, 25 per cent ethnic Chinese and eight per cent ethnic Indians.
The Malaysian government had also allocated more than Rs 10 crore to upgrade and beautify the Sri Maha Mariamaan temple in Batu Caves, the area known for cave temples housing lord Murugan.
Najib, who was attending the Thaipusam festival celebrations at the Batu Caves, said the government would work closely with Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) leaders to improve the livelihood of the Indian community.
He called on Hindus to embrace the good values taught by their religion.
“My visit here can be seen as a sign of respect for the Hindus,” Najib said at the function attended by Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Vijay Gokhale, MIC president G Palanivel, his deputy S Subramaniam and Special Infrastructure Ambassador to India and South Asia S Samy Vellu.
He also announced that a cable car was proposed to be set up to reach the cave temple. At present, visitors have to climb 272 steps to reach the caves. Work on the USD 3.26 million project is expected to begin within a month.
Meanwhile, Thousands of Hindus across Malaysia celebrated Thaipusam yesterday, bathing various sites nationwide in a riot of colours.
Source : Press Trust of India