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KOTA KINABALU - Malaysia will pave its own way towards becoming a developed nation without losing its religious values and while continuing to celebrate the multicultural communities, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister admitted that there might be concerns on the direction of the country in reaching developed status.
"Some might worry about losing Islamic values.
"But it is obvious that the progress and prosperity we are trying to reach, are much related to celebrating the diverse races and religions, while the teachings of Islam continue to grow rapidly and become the catalyst for development.
"This kind of balance can be reached and maintained if we stick to the basis of Islam namely 'addeen', which is a way of life," said Dr Mahathir.
He said this when opening the 63rd national-level Quran Recital and Memorisation Competition at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here Sunday (Feb 16) night.
He reminded the audience that every action and behaviour should be based on religious values.
He said therefore no Muslims should practise anything against the Quran and hadis, which would be detrimental and prevent them from gaining development.
"In our efforts towards a developed nation, the roles of family, school and the community must be strengthened so that good values are instilled among the younger generation.
"This is also in line with Islam as 'addeen'.
"There are many challenges in the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and we must be more innovative and bring progress to Malaysia based on our own mould.
"This is our country. We are the ones who will determine our fate. No one else would be able to outline our future except us," said the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the ta'aruf concept among diversity, that is getting rid of misconception or harbouring ill thoughts while accepting each other, could create a united nation.
"The people needs to find a common ground and reduce differences, which would strengthen the country's solidarity and boost nation transformation," Mohd Shafie added.
The text of his speech was read out by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong.