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PUTRAJAYA, Aug 23 — The spirit of unity and solidarity must continue to be ingrained among the people so that they do not easily give up on setting the country free from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

Launching the ‘Semarak Perpaduan Bulan Kebangsaan 2021’ programme organised by the National Unity Ministry virtually today, he said the pandemic that had hit Malaysia for the past two years had put the country in a critical situation and hampered the normal lives of the people.

“We need to ensure the country is free from the Covid-19 pandemic. We must win this war and not give up,” he said.

Emphasising the need to inculcate the spirit of solidarity which is the backbone to the stability of a country, Mohd Zuki said: As the saying goes ‘United we stand, divided we fall’.

He said the theme of the 2021 National Day celebration, ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, was maintained, as it was in line with the government’s intention to instill love for the country among all levels of society, as well as to inspire a spirit of togetherness, especially in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also reminded the people not to tarnish the struggles of the country’s independence by being divided, but instead, celebrate the differences by working together to build a developed, flourishing and prosperous country.

“Don’t be divided because of those who are jealous of the harmony of this beloved country. Together, we strengthen and enhance our equal status as citizens. The independence that we have achieved today is based on consensus and tolerance in celebrating the diversity that exists in our country,” he said.

Mohd Zuki added that negative elements need to be eradicated to maintain the spirit of loyalty and patriotism towards the country regardless of race, religion and ethnicity, which is an important factor for the younger generation to embrace to preserve the country’s independence.

On the 64th National Day celebration, he said it would be held in moderation this year under the new norm based on standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council (MKN) as the country was still under the National Recovery Plan (PPN).

He said various programmes based on patriotism and the spirit of unity have been planned by the Ministry of National Unity in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

He said all the programmes were aimed at boosting the spirit of independence as well as appreciating the contribution of the people, especially the frontliners in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have been informed that there are 93 programmes that have been lined up to be implemented throughout the country under the theme ‘Semarak Perpaduan Bulan Kebangsaan 2021’,” said Mohd Zuki.

To ensure all the programmes are a success, he welcomed the participation of various parties including the neighbourhood watch unity communities, teachers and the kindergarten unity coordinating committees.

“I hope that the working committees at all levels will be able to carry out their roles successfully to ensure all programmes can attract maximum participation, especially from the local communities at the grassroots level,” he said.

He cited the element of unity manifested through the recent Tokyo Olympics, and praised the spirit and success of the country’s athletes as well as admired the unity of the people in supporting athletes who make the country proud through sports.

“This is what is meant by ‘sports brings us together’ in the spirit of unity. If this spirit is applied in every aspect of life, surely whatever we go through, be it easy or difficult, we can succeed together,” he said. — Bernama

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