KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called on Malaysians to strengthen the tradition of celebrating festivals together to forge closer integration between different races.

With hard work, sincerity and understanding, Malaysians of various races and cultures have exploited this diversity as a unique feature in making the country strong and prosperous, said Mr. Badawi in his message on the Hindu festival of Deepavali.

``It is my hope that the unique practice of celebrating the festivals together in peace and harmony will be continued,'' Mr. Badawi was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Friday.

Deepavali is celebrated by Hindus together with other Malaysians and it has become one of the major festivals of Malaysia, said the Prime Minister. Xinhua