KUALA LUMPUR: Nothing is more special as a National Day gift to the people than a government capable of delivering its promises to them from time to time, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said his administration did not wish to waste time staving off allegations but would rather remain committed and determined to focus on efforts to spur intensive economic growth for the sake of the people.
“The story of Malaysia’s independence continues to be infused with all kinds of success and achievement respected by friend and foe,” he said in his National Day 2017 message.
Malaysia, he said, was now widely referred to as a progressive nation developing fast based on a clear stand in such things as rejection of extremist ideologies, especially in combating the Islamic State threat.
“(The King of Saudi Arabia) King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud agreed to select Malaysia to locate the King Salman Centre for International Peace,” he said.
Najib also recalled some of the country’s latest achievements, one of which he said was registering an impressive Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 5.8 per cent for the second quarter of this year, one of the highest in the world.
He said Forbes magazine placed Malaysia at the forefront of all Asian countries for foreign investments while international rating agency Fitch Ratings also maintained Malaysia’s credit rating at A- with a stable outlook.
Referring to the position of Bank Negara’s international reserves, Najib said it had now increased to RM431bil, an ever-strengthening volume.
“How is it possible that some quarters are accusing Malaysia of being a failed state when, in the 90s, when the reserves were much lower, there was no talk of the country having failed?” he asked in an apparent reference to opposition allegations.
Najib said his administration believed in service to the people which, he added, must go beyond politics and be in the people’s interests.
Najib said that over the past eight years, his administration had never lagged but remained committed to implementing various policies and initiatives to prosper the nation and people.
He said the government, in keeping with the philosophy of ‘1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now’, would continue to give priority to infrastructure projects such as the Mass Rapid Transit, a world-class facility that has a major impact on about 500,000 commuters daily.
The MRT project can help reduce the cost of living by providing a convenient and cheaper system of transportation while reducing traffic congestion, easing stress in the people, helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions and intensifying economic activities along the corridor.
Likewise, too, the proposed East Coast Rail Link, the Pan-Borneo Highway and the High Speed Rail, he said.
Najib also said that initiatives and aid for the needy would continue to be provided and intensified. These include the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), 1Malaysia Housing Programme for Civil Servants, 1Malaysia People’s Housing Projects, 1Malaysia Clinics, 1Malaysia Student Discount Card and aid for farmers, smallholders, fishermen and Felda settlers.
Najib said Malaysia was not exempted from the global economic turmoil over the past few years, but strategic and prudent planning and efficient and systematic administration had kept the country’s economy resilient.
He said the National Day celebration was getting more meaningful by the year.
“In other words, each time as the celebration draws near, we are driven forward by a momentum as a resilient nation.
“The blessing of independence is in tandem with this year’s theme of ‘Negaraku: Sehati Sejiwa’ (My Country: One Heart, One Soul), and should flow in abundance from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak.
“Let’s together be grateful for the blessing of independence, remain united and work together, shape our goals and plan our direction to achieve the dream of ‘1Malaysia Negaraku’ (1Malaysia My Country).
“Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!” — Bernama