Najib Razak has outlined five new risks and challenges that Malaysia has to face.
The Prime Minister identified them as the issue of geopolitics; peace and security; the economy; placing the people’s interests first, and the future and National Transformation 2050 (TN50).
In his 2017 Aidilfitri message on the theme ‘1Malaysia Bonds of Association the Foundation of a Successful Nation’, broadcast over television, Najib said that on the issue of geopolitics, Malaysia faced a serious challenge of a new world of geopolitical risks, among them the crisis involving the Islamic countries of the Gulf, North Korea’s nuclear programme and the implications from Brexit.
“Of course, all of these developments have to be examined carefully because, if the crises cannot be resolved immediately, they can undermine the prosperity of the nations in the region and the world,” he said.
On the question of peace and security, the Prime Minister urged the people to avoid being influenced by the ideology of extremism and terrorism such as of the IS group and the Daesh militants who, he said, had misinterpreted the concept of jihad in Islam
He said Islam was a religion of peace and prosperity and that to uphold its sanctity, one must hold fast to The Authentic Islam, the pure teachings of Islam in the true sense.
In addition, he said, in the cyber era of the widespread social media, Muslims needed to intelligently screen information and threats of defamation and false accusations disseminated by irresponsible parties.
“Nevertheless, I am grateful that the country continues to enjoy peace. In fact, based on the Global Peace Index 2017, Malaysia has managed to maintain its position as the third safest country in the Asian region and the 29th safest of the 163 nations in the world,” he said.
On the economy, Najib said that despite the global economic uncertainty, the country’s economy grew at an extraordinary rate of 5.6% in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the 4.5% growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In fact, he said, in March 2017, for the first time in history, the value of Malaysia’s exports reached RM80 billion, the highest monthly export achieved.
The Prime Minister also said that Malaysia had been recognised by international firm BAV Consulting and Wharton School of the United States as the best country for investors in 2017.
Also, he said, Forbes magazine had placed Malaysia at the top of all Asian countries in terms of foreign investment.
“Nevertheless, we are not going to be easily satisfied and feel comfortable with these successes. On the contrary, the government will continue to lead Malaysia to implement value-added economic activities to ensure that the nation remains competitive in the global economy,” he said.
On the matter of placing the people’s interests first, Najib said the government had channelled various forms of assistance and initiatives, such as the 1Malaysia People’s Aid, people’s housing projects, affordable homes, 1Malaysia Clinics and 1Malaysia People’s Shops, to ease the cost of living of the people, especially those in the B40 and M40 groups.
He said that in providing comfort and more integrated connectivity to the community, infrastructure projects such as My Rapid Transit (MRT), Pan Borneo Highway, High Speed Rail, LRT Extension and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) were also being implemented vigorously.
On the matter of the future and TN50, Najib said that looking forward, the contemporary world was now on the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said that in moving towards TN50, he would like to see the birth of a credible generation par excellence with individual, communal and national resilience in line with Ekspresi Negaraku Malaysia.
“At the same time, praying that we will be successful in buttressing a prosperous Malaysia in the ranks of the world’s 20 most advanced countries. Insha-Allah (God willing),” he said.
In concluding his speech, Najib urged all Malaysians to strengthen solidarity and association, set aside all differences and enjoy the existing harmony under the 1Malaysia bonds of brotherhood. –Bernama