KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Every effort will be taken to stop any group from playing with fire by spreading lies and trying to overthrow the government through street rallies, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
"It is not right to organise rallies dominated by one race, with the expressed aim of toppling the Government. As we have seen, this then leads to rallies by other races.
"This can be more dangerous, and risks tearing apart the fabric of our democracy, our harmony, our unity," he said in his keynote address at the "Enhancing National Unity and Integration" conference here on Wednesday (Sept 16).
The Prime Minister said it was sad that there were those conspiring with blackmailers, forgers and foreigners who wanted to interfere with the country just as they did in colonial times.
"There is no lie they will not tell, no rumour they will not spread, so that they can say Malaysia is on a dangerous course.
"But they are the danger. In their desperate wish to overthrow a democratically elected government, they are willing to risk the instability that has led to violent revolutions in many countries, some very close to us," he said.
Noting that the country had gone through a bitter experience of seeing blood on the streets, he said: "I will never allow that to happen in Malaysia.
"The peace and security of the nation is my government's top priority."
Acknowledging that peninsula leaders might have in the past not paid as much attention as they should have to Sabah and Sarawak, the Prime Minister said this was no longer the case.
"We hear you, and we celebrate this day as the one that has brought us together as Malaysia," Najib said.
He said that over the past 52 years, Malaysia had proven that the nation's diversity, varied faiths and ethnicities were its strength.
"And as well as shared values, we have a shared creed in the Rukun Negara, a shared guardian in the Constitution, and a shared love of our country that has seen our citizens reach out to help each other in times of trouble, such as the floods and the earthquake here in Sabah," he said.
Najib, however, noted that enhancing unity was a work that was permanently in progress.
"It has been the struggle of all our leaders in the past, and it is one that future generations will have to continue.
"The true celebration of that diversity is at the heart of the 1Malaysia concept," he added.