I am honoured to be able to address such a distinguished crowd of Christian religious leaders and laymen on the joyous occasion of Christmas. I am pleased to note that the host for this year’s joint Christmas celebration is the supreme head of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church worldwide, the Most Reverend Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, the Metropolitan. I am gratified that all the main church organizations—the Christian Council of Churches, and the Christian Federation of Malaysia—are also represented by church elders and members of all denominations.
I am sorry I am unable to be with you personally but the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dato Seri Idris Jala, is representing me. His presence here represents the strong commitment of the Barisan Government to the freedom of worship that has been practiced in Malaysia since Independence.
The true message of Christmas is goodwill towards men. Malaysia has always advocated peace and goodwill among all nations at all international forums. It has supported the resolution of conflicts through peaceful means.
We are strongly committed to upholding the true values of all religions. Religion teaches us to be tolerant, caring and respectful of the beliefs and practices of others. In our multi-racial society, we must constantly remind ourselves of the values that bind us together.
We are bound by our common destiny as 1 Malaysia. We are bound by our common heritage. We are bound by our need to forge ahead as one nation to face the challenges that lie ahead.
I am happy to note that the people are responding to the many initiatives introduced by the Government to provide a better future for the current and future generations. Our People First Performance Now campaign is not a mere slogan. It is a commitment to action.
In a sense, your gathering today is part of this 1 Malaysia Christmas celebration.
At Christmas time, we particularly want to remember the less fortunate in society. Religious festivities become much more meaningful when we focus our attention to helping the disadvantaged.
Christmas is a time for giving. Let’s give generously so that no Malaysian will be left behind. My Government has identified all the hardcore poor throughout the country. We will redouble our efforts to help every Malaysian out of the poverty cycle.
We will bring speedy economic development to all communities regardless of their ethnic origins, their religions, they cultures or their geographical locations.
I take this opportunity to thank all Christians for your prayers in Churches everywhere for peace and joy in our beloved Malaysia.
I would like to congratulate the organizers of this event for their effort to spread the spirit of Christmas to all Malaysians. This event has now become an annual event in the Malaysian Christian calendar.
Such an event will help us tell the world that we are all Malaysians. We are 1Malaysia.
On behalf of myself, my wife, Datin Sri Rosmah, We wish all Christians, a joyous Christmas.