Addressing the nation in his first National Day message as the prime minister, Najib said the passing of time saw the bridges, which were painstakingly built by the nation's founding fathers, becoming shaky due to attempts by certain quarters whom he described as opportunistic groups out to exploit frictions among the people.
Najib said these groups were exploiting the slip lines that existed among the society, be they are political, religious or social, to satisfy their narrow agenda.
In any case, Najib said, the people should continue to manage the success and build upon what had been achieved thus far by continuously nurturing unity.
"Bear in mind that what we have now will not necessarily becomes better. On the contrary, we can lose it all if we are not careful.
"There are ample evidence throughout history that successes which are not managed properly ended up as failures," he said in the message in conjunction with Malaysia's 52nd National Day aired over national television tonight.
He also called on the people, especially the young generation, to be mindful of the fact that the progress achieved thus far did not happen all by itself, but rather, as a result of careful planning, effective implementation of policies and sacrifice on the part of the various communities.
"It is clear that the success and progress achieved by Malaysia are due to the contribution and support of all races, all followers of religions, all strata of the society, in villages and towns, the rich and the poor, young and old," he said.
Najib said each and every citizen of the country had access to every opportunity in Malaysia, limited only by their will to succeed, willingness to work hard and courage to take risks.
Najib also spoke of the country's history after gaining independence.
He said that many were sceptical of Malaysia's future at that time as the young nation had little experience, not to mention the fact that it had to deal with the prevailing threat of communist guerrillas, widening social imbalances and the plural nature of the new nation.
But, he said, the country rose against these odds and defied the doomsayers, and in just five decades, Malaysia emerged as the most developed country among the developing nations.
In fact, he said, Malaysia became the first country in the world to defeat communist uprising and had also put in place social justice with a sense of equitability, in just a matter of two generations.
The prime minister said the underlying secret to this success was none other than unity among the various races and the conviction to the philosophy of celebrating diversity as a source of strength rather than as "a trivial matter that segregates us."
Najib said that throughout the over 50 years of Malaysia's nationhood, the people and the country had gone through all kinds of experiences, pleasant or otherwise, but managed to go through them all successfully.
"From the bitter experience of facing the brutalities of the Bintang Tiga, to the monumental need to fulfil the requirements of the newly-independent nation, the problems of economic imbalances, the May 13 incident, the economic downturn of the 80's and the Asian financial crisis at the end of the 90's... we managed to sail through all these challenges successfully," he said.
He reminded the people, however, that they could not afford to rely on the nostalgic past without striving to create new successes.
To ensure that tomorrow would be better than today, Najib said, his administration had introduced stronger and tangible policies which would turn Malaysia into a developed nation.
Among them, he said, was the introduction of the 1Malaysia concept which would be the core of the government's administration.
"We have not stopped at just expressing our visions and aspirations; on the contrary, we have created concrete initiatives, starting with revolutionising the public sector's delivery system.
"The government's undertaking to put the people as its top priority has, in turn, brought about efforts to stimulate the economy so that the people and the country can continue to enjoy progress," he said.
The prime minister also called on the people to keep on fuelling "the burning spirit of patriotism" and to dedicate their energies to making the 1Malaysia vision a success.
Tomorrow is Malaysia's 52nd National Day and the theme for this year's celebrations is "1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now."
"Let us ensure that the flag of honour, Jalur Gemilang, will continue to fly proudly at the international arena. Let us pray that this great journey of ours is blessed and guided by The Almighty." - NST