(From left) Saifuddin and Dr Rundi at the press conference.
SIBU: Malaysia is witnessing the emergence of ‘new patriots’ in the fight against Covid-19, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
At a press conference at Sibu Indoor Stadium yesterday, he said the spirit of patriotism remained the same, albeit with a slight difference in focus.
“The spirit of patriotism is still the same, but the focus is slightly different. In times like this, ‘new patriots’ are born. For example, the frontliners are the new patriots.
“In times of national war, the people in uniform, which we always understand are soldiers, the military, the armed forces, they are the patriots, but when we are at war with Covid-19, the new patriots are born.
“We are very proud of our new patriots. The frontliners are nurses, doctors, people working at the hospitals, police and even journalists.
“They serve the country well and some of them died in this fight. They gave their life for the livelihood of fellow Malaysians,” he pointed out.
On the Malaysia Day 2020 celebration at Sibu Indoor Stadium tomorrow, Saifuddin said due to the pandemic, the crowd had to be limited.
“If we could, we’d want it to be ‘full house’, we want to have thousands of people, but due to the circumstances, we cannot do that.”
Thus, he urged all Malaysians to watch the celebration live on television, broadcast by RTM.
He said Malaysia Day celebrated the richness of cultures and traditions of ethnic groups in the country, among them the cultural arts of the natives, which every Malaysian should try to understand.
“Malaysians in these three regions (Sarawak, Sabah, Peninsular Malaysia) must learn to understand one another. For example, people in Peninsular Malaysia only know that we have Orang Ulu in Sarawak, but they do not know that there are many sub-ethnics among Orang Ulu.
“This is the richness of the culture that we want to focus on,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Utilities Minister of Sarawak Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom said the theme for this year’s Malaysia Day celebration, ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, aimed to showcase the love for the country, as well as for teh spirit of harmony and unity of the people in Malaysia.
“Why are we celebrating Malaysia Day? We want people to know how it was formed without bloodshed, how it was formed with negotiations and through the efforts of our forefathers,” he said.
He added that about 200 people would be involved in the performances.
He said the formation of Malaysia had brought about security and development in the state, and this was part of history that should be known by the younger generation.
He also said the fight against Covid-19 had shown the unity of all Malaysians.
“You can see that a country such as the United States of America that is so developed has so many cases and they are not able to control the disease.
“That means without discipline, we would not be able to sustain success.
“Similarly, what we want to show in this celebration is our achievement as Malaysians and how we can sustain this achievement so that it can be a legacy for the younger generation,” he said.