PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia has always chosen compromise and cooperation as opposed to confrontation and pursuing narrow ethnic interests as the guiding principle of nation building.

The Prime Minister said this theme of unity was most relevant for racial and religious understandings in preserving peace and harmony in the country.

In his opening speech at the first World Taekwondo Malaysia Open G1 Championship 2018 here yesterday, Najib said he was glad that taekwondo had a role to play in knitting the stands of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic society.

“Let us set aside our political difference and play our part as true sportsmen in building a caring culture and a caring society so vital for the attainment of a united and harmonious Malaysia,” he said.

Also present were Minister at Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Taekwondo Malaysia (TM) president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, TM deputy president Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Mohd Najib and World Taekwondo Federation president Dr Choue Chung Won.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said the championship was not just a platform to promote Malaysia as a holistic tourist destination but also as a diplomatic significance, which drew Taekwondo into focus of a cementing force between Malaysia and other countries.

He added taekwondo taught more than just the art of self-defence, and also develops one’s inner strength through the cultivation of values such as respect, discipline, endurance and preseverance.

“These are the qualities that I would like to see in the present and future generation of youths in the country,” he said.

Najib also said the symbiotic link between Malaysia and the World Taekwondo Federation had culminated in a proposal to establish a Taekwondo Academy in Malaysia, the first such academy in Southeast Asia.

“The academy will greatly enhance the sporting skills and performance of a constant pool of talents with eyes trained on the Olympics,” he added.

With the problem of asylum seekers close to Najib’s heart, the Prime Minister said he was proud of Choue, who had taken the initiative to form the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation to look into the worldwide plight of the refugees.

“This is a commendable move and in line with our nation’s continuous commitment as we are the first nation to initiate and establish the Malaysia Field Hospital in Cox’s Bazaar, he said.

At the event, Najib on behalf of the government contributed RM1 million to Taekwondo Malaysia while Taekwondo Malaysia donated RM60,000 to the Taekwondo Humantarian Foundation.

The four-day World Taekwondo Malaysia Open G1 Championship 2018 which kicked off on March 1, saw a participation of 607 athletes from 19 countries worldwide.

At the event, the Prime Minister was also honoured with the 8th Dan (rank), the highest honorary martial arts rank in taekwondo by Choue.

Source: NAM News Network