KUALA LUMPUR – Following is the full text of the National Day 2015 Message of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak delivered at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and carried live over radio and television:
My beloved Malaysians,
1. Before I begin my speech, I have been made to understand that the guests in this hall comprise ministers and members of the government administration, civil servants, corporate leaders, NGO representatives, lecturers and academics, cultural activists, students and individuals representing the community.
2. Hence, I am confident that everyone of us is here because together we want to commemorate a very important event in our country’s journey – the Independence of the Malaysia that we all love on August 31, 1957.
3. As such, before proceeding further, I ask all of you, especially those of you in this hall, either seated or standing…
4. Without wasting any more time, let us all together focus our attention, observe a moment’s silence with our eyes closed with a sense of conviction.
5. Ponder deeply for a moment, and ask ourselves, whether each one of us really understands and is able to appreciate the meaning of Independence.
Ladies and Gentlemen, now let us open our eyes again.
6.One more thing that we cannot forget. Whenever we are able to gather peacefully like this, nobody can deny that it is due to the contribution and dedication of the country’s military and security personnel who, all this while, never know the meaning of fatigue, have made sacrifices to ensure that the people can live in peace and comfort.
7.It is because of this that we reject any form of street demonstration that can jeopardise public order and only inconvenience the people, because it does not at all reflect maturity, much less the proper channel to express views in a democratic country.
8. As we are aware, what had occurred in the last two days is very improper. It reflects a shallow mind and a poor spirit of nationalism.
9. The Mufti of Kelantan himself had stated that street demonstrations and the Bersih 4 gathering are ‘haram’ (illegal) in Islam.
10. As such, all the hardship endured by the security forces personnel will always be accorded the highest appreciation and respect because it is their dedication that has allowed for harmony and concord to prevail at all times.
11. And so, let us all together record our appreciation and congratulations as well as applaud the dedication of the Malaysian Armed Forces and say well done to the Malaysian Police Force for their bravery and assertiveness in safeguarding the sovereignty of the nation.
My beloved Malaysians,
12. In fact, Independence comes but only once. It is not a toy, neither does it appear repeatedly. As such, it must be safeguarded and nurtured as best as possible.
13. In reality, Independence is a huge, priceless gift. It teaches citizens to stand on their own feet, to grow and mature.
14. As for this country, thank God, we have achieved understanding as I mentioned on the previous Malaysia Day. There is no more polemics because as of last year all Malaysians celebrate only one date of Independence as a symbol of solidarity, of one heart and one soul for the whole of Malaysia.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
15. On the one hand, Sabah and Sarawak, from the end of Ulu Lachau up to Lahad Datu, far away at the edge …
16. On the other, from Arau, Perlis, up to Tanjung Piai at the other end of the peninsula. For the knowledge of everyone, Tanjung Piai is the southernmost tip of mainland Asia.
17. Furthermore, the fortunate land of Malaysia and our motherland that we hold dear is now inhabited by almost 30 million people, with hundreds of ethnic communities, among them Malays, Chinese, Indians, Iban, Orang Ulu, Melanau, Kadazan, Murut, Dusun, Orang Asli, Malaysians of Siamese descent, Sikhs, Eurasians and others.
18. On the night of this Independence anniversary, I stand here not merely as the Prime Minister, nor only as a party leader …
19. But I stand here, as all of you, and speak as a high-spirited and proud Malaysian and wish to state firmly that …
20. … this country and motherland belongs to everyone of us and we will not allow any to become the mastermind and traitor to destroy it.
Long live Malaysia! Long live Malaysia!
My Beloved Malaysians,
21. In that regard, let there be no one who attempts to instigate despite whatever happens, even if thunder booms in the sky and the earth splits into two, the noble relations among Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula, as the ancestors say will remain forever intact.
22. As such, tonight, for the second time since becoming the Prime Minister, I stand before you, Ladies and Gentlemen, not to address in the ordinary way but to speak to you heart-to-heart.
23. First, it would be good for us to ponder a little on where we were, where we are now, and in which direction this country is headed.
24. We must continue to express gratitude to the Almighty because for more than 50 years, we have weathered ups and downs in building a nation.
25.As such, don’t ever forget, in celebrating Independence, the world generally is skeptical of the capability and success of such a small nation, with a multiracial population.
26. Instead, after being under British rule for over 170 years, the term used by the British themselves at that time was to ‘salute’ the willingness of the Malays, especially UMNO, and the Alliance, who were courageous and determined to take up the responsibility and be brave enough to form their own government.
27. As such, if anyone were to ask why Independence is a matter so close to the heart of the Malays, so close to UMNO and Barisan Nasional, the answer is, none other than, because Independence symbolises the highlight of the struggle, the highest level of determination, the proof of courage of the Malays, UMNO and their component party members in building a nation.
28. In fact, it has been recorded during Independence Day that ‘a new star was born in the East’. Whether the star will shine bright or appears dim, that is our beloved Malaysia, we are the ones to decide its fate.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
29. Be grateful, it has been proven that after tens of years under the administration of an efficient and systematic government, the eastern star has been shining so bright that we can be proud of.
30. We have grown from an agricultural state to an industrialised nation and now moving ahead to become a high-income fully developed nation. Congratulations to our formers leaders for their wisdom, to the civil servants and of course…congratulations to all Malaysians.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
31. Why did I recall the stories of our Independence? Because like it or not, history must be kept alive and always remembered, not only among the generalmembers of the public, but among those who have a high tendency to forget, just like the intellectuals said,”We don’t want to be punished by history itself.”
32. In fact, during the proclamation of Independence, it was mentioned that “we have become a democratic, independent and sovereign state based on freedom and justice as well as the pledge to maintain peace among the races.”
33. After over 50 years of Independence, it was fated that I took over the helm of the country.
34. From April 3, 2009, the Government has introduced the National Transformation Policy as the core philosophy of the country’s administration.
35. If only almost 60 years ago, Tunku (Malaysia’s first prime minister the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj) had set several basic criteria for the newly-formed independent state, now we are probably moving much further based on those criteria, just as I concluded when tabling the Eleventh Malaysia Plan, that the philosophy of national development should be more comprehensive and concrete.
36. Among others, to achieve growth that is inclusive, sustainable, growth with equity, competitive, progressive, people with character and morally strong in a society which is united and practices moderation based on the principles of 1Malaysia.
37. As such, at this junction, the words of the late Tunku were proven true, that the bigger challenge would be to give meaning to Independence.
38. That means, in enjoying our success, we will not be spared from facing various situations and disputes, either in politics or economy, and now it is further evident…we are facing domestic and economic challenges, just as we are heading towards becoming a fully-developed nation, a High Income Advanced Economy.
My beloved Malayian,
39. Tonight, let me explain in more simple words, so that it can be understood by all the men who are having their tea at their regular coffee shops, the housewives, our children the Generation Y, students in colleges and universities, our friends who are active in the cyber world, and most importantly, the people as a whole, of what is really going on.
40. Firstly, we have heard the stories, for example, about the depreciation of the Ringgit compared to the United States dollar, the drop in world oil prices, fluctuations in commodity prices, such as palm oil, all of which are beyond our control.
41. In fact, over the past several months, the people have been fed with various kinds of information and stories that are unpleasant.
42. To the extent that many of us have started to believe that Malaysia will become bankrupt like Greece. It is said that the country’s economy is facing a crisis, along with other allegations and speculations made by certain irresponsible quarters with personal agendas.
43. Hence, if over the past few months, I have only been spending time and holding meetings with specified groups in finding solutions to the economic issues at certain levels…
44. So, at this event tonight, I want to take the opportunity, in this limited space, to straighten things out, any misunderstanding, and to explain about issues that have been raised, so that the people can hear it directly from me, as the leader, so that they can be more rational, more clear and more calm.
My beloved Malaysians,
45. In short, we can divide the information and sources we frequently received from into two. Firstly, based on facts that are realistic and reliable.
46. Secondly, information that is sourced from hearsay, perception and guesses that are merely propaganda.
47. For example, during the economic recession in 1998, the ruling Government then had managed to explain to the people, by correcting the perception that the economic situation at that time was beyond the Government’s control, and had in fact, managed to put the blame on currency speculator George Soros.
48. Most of the time, this kind of information is quickly made available and circulated through the social media, becomes viral for no apparent reason and sensationalised according to one’s whim and fancy.
49. Thereforeï¿½ladies and gentlemen, I want to make it clear that what the people need to understand is that at least five national key economic indicators are showing that Malaysia, in reality and truthfully, is still on the right track.
50.The first indicator; Despite all the regional and global economic uncertainties, I would like to tell the people, not to worry so much, as the truth is that Malaysia’s economy is still growing. Last year, for example, we recorded an economic growth of 6 per cent and this year, God willing, it will be 5 per cent.
51. Unlike in 1998, during the Asian economic crisis, our economy recorded a negative growth rate of 7 per cent.
52. Indicator two; Actually, the fundamentals or the basics of the country’s economy today is stronger because we have learned from the effects of the (1997) crisis
53. Among the examples, like the government’s fiscal deficit which has been reduced from negative 6.7 per cent in 2009 to 3.2 per cent which is expected to be achieved this year.
54. Further, the banking and financial system which continues to have strong capital and ample liquidity. The rate of non-performing loans and inflation is low and under control.
Ladies and gentlemen.
55. Indicator three; the success of the country’s policies, particularly through the National Transformation Policy, have contributed to the drop in the poverty rate, from 49.3 per cent in 1970 to only 0.6 per cent in 2014.
56. For Gross Domestic Product, it has increased by 47.7 per cent from 2009 until 2014, Meanwhile, 1.8 million employment opportunities have been created since the launch of the Economic Transformation Programme in 2010.
57. Indicator four; Despite Malaysia continuing to be faced with various domestic challenges and in the global arena, we are still recognised by the world because of our ability to manage the country’s economy so well.
58. This is proven through ratings and reports from international financial agencies like Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, Standard & Poor, IMF, which have given a true picture on the situation , as well as the current economic management.
59. Here, I want the people to understand that all studies and findings on Malaysia’s achievements are not fictitious or plucked out of the sky.
60. The list of the international rating agencies mentioned earlier are endorsement of high authorities that cannot be questioned and belittled because the outcome of their studies and views are adopted worldwide.
61. Among other things, Malaysia’s has succeeded to make it to 12th position among 60 countries in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2014.
62. Nevertheless, I realise there is anxiety due to the depreciation in the currency. It should be realised that this is a global phenomena and almost all countries are not exempted from the effects of the drastic fall in the price of oil and commodities, contraction of the world economy, including China, which is Malaysia’s largest trade partner.
63. On this, I acknowledge there are internal factors which are still in our control to make improvements.
64. Thus, a few days ago, I set up the Special Committee on the Economy, whose members comprise 10 economic experts and corporate personalities who will act promptly to consider all plans and actions that are immediate in nature until the economic crisis subsides.
65. What is important, I give the assurance that the government will not lose its focus, but will continue to give priority to the interests and well-being of the people.
66. The government is committed to implement development agenda that is close to the hearts of the people, like affordable housing projects, improvements to healthcare projects, enhance quality of education and training, as well as skills, and also address the cost of living.
67. Lastly, Indicator five; never ever forget that the various efforts and initiatives implemented by the government, like setting up of UTCs (Urban Transformation Centres), Rural Transormations Centres (RTCs), BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid), 1Malaysia People’s Shops and others, all this while have helped to reduce the cost of living and enhance the well-being of the people.
Ladies and gentlemen,
68. It is clearly proven that Malaysia is not a failed country, as alleged by some, it is not going bankrupt, in fact, we are actually still in a stable condition, with strong fundamentals and will continue to remain sustainable and competitive.
69. Therefore, people, judge the government through the ballot box in the coming general election. Until then, give the government the opportunity to continue to shoulder the trust and do the best.
70. There is no place where there is no rain at all. no ocean that does not have waves. Therefore, with the meaning of the holy verse Al-Insyirah that, with each difficulty there is ease and happiness that awaits.
71. Humans can only plan, but it’s God’s plan that is definitely the best.
72. Referring to this matter, last July 28, with my trust in God, I decided to reshuffle the federal cabinet for the first time after getting the mandate in the 13th general election.
73. Indeed, I and my colleagues who are loyal in the administration and Barisan Nasional pledge and give the assurance to continue to work hard and be committed in prospering Malaysia and looking into the well-being of the people, and will never look back.
74. I like to reiterate here. Once the sail has been spread, when the anchor has been weighed, it is forbidden for the skipper and the crew to make a U-turn.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
75. Hence, I call upon all of you to embrace the spirit of the 1957 Independence Day, as if the Union Jack is just being brought down and tomorrow morning we begin with a new nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
76. Indeed, we will never allow anyone from within or from outside to simply walk in and steal, ruin or destroy all that we have built so far.
77. However, it is unfortunate that on the eve of this meaningful National Day, certain quartets are willing and prepared to create havoc and spark hostility.
78. Therefore, remember all, if we do not unite, there is no solidarity and cohesiveness, whatever problems cannot be resolved, in fact everything that we have painstaking built so far will be destroyed.
79.Certainly, whatever challenges that come, I, personally who is a product of the country’s leadership, certainly with my colleagues, (Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi and others in the administration, will not possibly allow Malaysia, as a star born in the east almost six decades ago, to fall. In fact, we will continue to shine and develop this beloved country. God willing.
80. Hopefully the Almighty will continue to protect and bless this fortunate country, keep it away from all dangers, internally and externally,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
81. Together we stand, together we rise, with a sincere heart and a new determination, look to the future with a strong and free soul in solidarity, the same tune and rhythm, one heart, one soul, we echo together.