BINTULU, Sept 16 2012 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today called for a stop to debate over Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day, saying both the dates were meaningful and important in the country's history.
"Aug 31 (1957) and Sept 16 (1963) are sacred dates," he said at the Malaysia Day open house in Kampung Assyakirin, here.
Najib said it was more important to look ahead and not back in the interests of the people and country, with the federal government's assurance of continued development for Sarawak in line with the state government's vision to become a high-income state.
The prime minister said that from the time Sarawak gained independence within Malaysia, the federal and state governments had together brought about continuous change without the need for a new declaration.
"Many possibilities became realities for Sarawak," he said, adding that it was important to maintain the good understanding between the federal and state governments.
Earlier, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud called for continuity in the national leadership established since independence to ensure that Sarawak became a high-income state. He said Najib's father, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, with the cooperation of the state government led by Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub in the 1970's, had laid the foundation for Bintulu to become a progressive town through the development of petroleum and gas resources.
"Now, we want to step up our development, not depending only on natural resources but through the development of high-technology industries," he said.
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim was also present at the event, which was attended by more than 10,000 people.