Kepala Batas, Dec 17: In the wake of protests by ethnic Indians demanding rights for their community, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called upon all the races to share the task of ensuring peace and harmony for continued economic development of the country.
Speaking to leaders and members of the Indian community here, Badawi said the responsibility for maintaining peace and harmony in the country did not rest on his shoulders alone but on all races. We should respect one another and not make baseless accusations against each other," The Staronline quoted Badawi, as saying.
"I want us to continue to live peacefully and harmoniously as citizens of this country," he added. He went on to say that "I will strive to ensure that no race will lag behind in any field."
Badawi said the Government balanced its help on the basis of the country's racial composition, where the Malay community was the largest, followed by the Chinese and Indians.
Sixty per cent of Malaysia's 27 million people are Malay Muslims, 25 per cent Chinese and 7.8 per cent ethnic Indians, mostly Hindus from Tamil Nadu.
"The Government will help whatever it can but to do my job, the country needs to peaceful and safe. That is why I had to take action recently," he said, referring to the arrest of five Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Front) leaders under the stringent Internal Security Act, which allows long detention without trial.
During the meeting, 14 Indian associations in Kepala Batas also handed a letter to Badawi highlighting the needs of the community there.