Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has vowed to fight "racism and extremism" and appealed for public cooperation by being "calm and rational".
In a message posted on his blog on Malaysia Day on September 16, the Prime Minister said he was "sad" that despite living in an independent multi-cultural nation for over 50 years, there were still those who could not tolerate, much less accept, the benefits of our society.
While these groups were often small in number, Najib said their presence was amplified through their extreme sentiments and acts, The Star newspaper reported.
He said the government will continue to protect people from "destructive acts of racism and extremism".
"I strongly oppose these types of behaviour," said Najib.
He added that the government kept a watchful eye on such groups and would continue to protect the rakyat (polity) from threats -- whether from outside the nation or within.
"I urge all Malaysians to be calm and rational in the face of such extremism," he said.
"To respond like with like only serves to escalate tensions and becomes a hindrance to our own progress," Najib said in his blog entry titled `Our Fight Against Extremism`.
Though Malays are in majority, a significant part of Malaysia`s 28 million multi-racial population are ethnic Chinese and Indians. Indians account for 1.7 million.
Other political leaders reflected Najib`s sentiments.
"It is a day when we celebrate the unification of all races. It symbolises the country`s diversity and strength," said Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) president S Samy Vellu in his Malaysia Day message.
"There is no longer room for extremists or religious intolerance in this country," he added.