Friday, January 27, 2012


28th November 2011

Fellow distinguish delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
Assalamualaikum and a very good morning to all.

Let me begin my thanking the organiser for inviting me to participate in this year's conference. The Prime Minister had just given us a keynote address on the subject of "The Politics of Economic and Social Transformation in the Era of Global Crisis" which in form and substance set the tone for our conference.

The global political landscape present us with new challenges. Today we need to re-assess our position, identify the measures to be taken for change and transform. This morning we are here to share our ideas and thoughts on this important subject. On my part I will give my views on how Malaysia react and response to the Global Crisis politically and economically based on the Agenda that had been laid out by the PM.

As we all know, we now lived in an era where change happens so fast and the failure to change would be catastrophic and lead the government to be just something in the past. We could fall faster than we imagine.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since economics and politics are so closely linked, there is every reason to expect profound political ramifications as well; in particular domestic politics around the world if there are indications that the world economy is facing problems.

Globalization and internationalisation, thus the integration of the economy affects the aggregate welfare of the countries, their sensitivities and vulnerabilities to external changes and therefore the constraints and opportunities faced by government in addressing those changes. As such in a globalized world the integration of the economy affects the policy sensitivities of the local politics. This is shown during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997/1998 and the recent global crisis in 2008 whereby social unrest and political upheaval were manifested in changes of political regimes and economic structure.

The crisis in 2008 which started in the US, then went on to Europe and Japan created financial crisis and badly affected global trade which caused global recession. However other than the economic meltdown, in a wider perspectives we also witness the effects of climate change, international terrorism, mismanagement of natural resources and volatile food and oil prices. We are living in a troubled world.

The downfall of several Middle Eastern leaders and governments infamously dubbed as the “Arab Spring”, did not just happened by coincidence. Of course, some of you may argue there are forces behind that contributed to these regime change but the fact remains it was largely attributed by the Global economic crisis to which inflation was soaring high, coupled with low income and the majority of the populace are poor and the countries were managed without democracy, freedom and good governance.

Today frankly, even the US may not be able to call themselves “The only superpower” anymore with the emergence of China and India. In fact in the recent East Asia Summit in Bali President Obama openly declared for US economic recovery the US needs East Asian and Asean to buy more from the US.

In Malaysia, UMNO being the core partner in the National Front coalition, which governs this country since independence in 1957 realizes that she too must take the bold steps towards transformation. 2008 General Election (GE), had given the leadership of the government the clearest signs ever, that people wanted change. The National Front (BN) lost its 2/3 customary majority seats in Parliament and 5 states along with it. Ladies and gentlemen, for BN, it was a black chapter in its history. It had to take stocks on what need to be done.

Besieged by such dilemma, we too have transformed. Our President who is also the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Hon. Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak has introduced some bold initiatives and measures to transform Malaysia into one that will create a high income society by 2020, and a first world democracy. However, the Prime Minister has recently cautioned his party to “Up our game” and adapt to business environment unusual. It is through this conviction that we need to embrace change, at this very instant for without it, we may perish. I trust you will agree with me on this?

The steps taken have borne fruits quite significantly. We are now seeing Malaysia’s economy attaining 7.2% growth in 2010 and as for this year, we are on target to reach 5.8% despite the region’s slowdown. Our 2010 foreign direct investment (FDI) was the highest in Asia with 410% incremental worth RM 21 Billion. Notwithstanding that, the Government is now taking aggressive steps to even encourage Domestic Direct Investment (DDI) amongst local conglomerates to help fortify our economy further.

Fellow distinguished delegates, for any Government institution to undertake substantial change it would require political will – the transformation of the economy, of politics and equally the mindsets of our people, something that I’m quite sure you will agree with me! “If one desires a change, one must be that change before that change can take place”.

That “agent of change” I mentioned stems from the party and government for without such push, it would be difficult to realize such plans. Therefore through the Government of Malaysia (GOM), the Government Transformation Program (GTP) & Economic Transformation Program (ETP) was launched in 2009 by the Hon. Prime Minister, Dato Sri’ Najib Razak to spur social, political developments and economic sectors into high gear.

Under GTP & ETP, several initiatives involving end-to-end key responsibilities such as the National Key Results area (NKRA) and Ministerial Key Results area (MKRA). The government has identified 12 New Key Economic Areas (NKEA) as focus sectors to drive economic growth & 6 strategic initiatives which will enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness. All of these are integrated as one key project aiming towards lifting our economic status and truly guided by the principle of “Rakyat didahulukan, Pencapaian diutamakan” or, in English, it simply means “People’s first and performance now”. So imagine Ladies & Gentlemen, the size and scale of such transformation, driven by commitment and political will of a political party that desires to see its Government transforms for “the rakyat”, for “the people”.

Ladies and Gentlemen, such transformation economic and political is meaningless if it is not tandem with cohesion and unity of its citizens. Being a country that comprises of 25 ethnic groups with UMNO representing the Malays who are largest ethnic group (approx. 58% out of 28 million populations), to feel a sense of patriotism and oneness, the 1Malaysia policy was introduced intended at imparting to all Malaysians the true spirit of harmony and togetherness just like it was envisioned by our forefathers decades ago.

More over, on the 24th Nov 2011, Malaysia made a historic move when for the first time ever the Prime Minister tabled in Parliament a motion to repeal the 3 “Emergency Ordinances” and introduce the “Peaceful Assembly Act” within the same day. Next year, the ISA is to be abolished. Freedom is expanded. Restrictive laws being rid off showed very bold and matured transformation process. Soon the students in the university who are of the age of majority would be able to join political parties of their choice. Such courages acts are taken because the government recognizes the changing political landscapes internally and externally, which the Government should response positively. Ladies and gentlemen, such will, demonstrates the seriousness to transform… wouldn’t it?

To close my intervention on this topic, I’d like to reiterate that we are left with little choice but to transform in an ever-changing global architecture inundated with uncertainties. To transform for the good of the people is paramount, so that we remain relevant at all times. That is what a responsible political party should do for its people.

And I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone here that “Failure to transform would simply turn us into extinction and irrelevant”, and asserting what the Prime Minister Najib has also said recently, that “Change is not an option but imperative, for we must change or risk left behind”

Ladies and Gentlemen, with that, I “thank you” and hope you’ll have pleasant stay here in Kuala Lumpur.