Saturday, December 3, 2022

The right to choose your government

Secara Rawak

My fellow Malaysians, on May 9 we will cast our votes in our country’s 14th general election. We should be proud of our strong democratic tradition that goes back further and stronger than anywhere in our region. The right to choose your government is the bedrock of our democracy and BN will always protect that right.

But I’m sad that this election has been fought in unfortunate circumstances.

Since the last election in 2013, the opposition have gone to extraordinary lengths to topple the democratically-elected government in between election cycles, ignoring the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box, and not allowing us to govern peacefully during our mandated term. If the opposition resorts to undemocratic means to acquire power, they will never rule democratically.

Furthermore, to make an informed choice at this election, voters must know the truth. And the DAP-led opposition have done everything they can to obscure the truth with a tsunami of fitnah.

Their lies have become so outrageous that even the Western media are beginning to wake up to this. Indeed, one international publication wrote this week that Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s speeches “contain little policy substance but maximum slander.” That is an extraordinary condemnation that he cannot refute – because it is true.


It has been my privilege to serve you as Malaysia’s prime minister since 2009, and I’m proud of what we have achieved together.

The 2.7 million jobs. The average growth of 5.4 percent since 2010, which the world’s advanced economies could only wish for. The gross national income up by over 50 percent, which represents a huge increase in the national wealth, and explains why the International Monetary Fund commends us for being well on the way to high income status.

These are the achievements of all Malaysians, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let the opposition rubbish those achievements by saying they don’t exist, or wildly claiming that the country is on the verge of going bankrupt. They criticise for the sake of criticising, but offer nothing of substance in return.

Worse, they make false promises they know they cannot fulfil. For example, they claim that they would remove the GST, but have yet to propose how they would replace the RM43 billion it brought in last year.

Introducing GST was one of the hardest decisions I have made. I knew that it would lead to some increases in the prices of some goods and services, and that it would be painful for some Malaysians. But I also knew that without the GST, our economy would continue to be overly reliant on the price of oil.

This is something that was out of our hands and any downturn in the oil price, as we experienced a few years ago, could without intervention have led to a serious recession that would hit the people hard. GST, however, made us fiscally independent and stable. And while there may be some short-term pain, I assure you that the rewards will be long-term and felt in the years to come.

For those Malaysians who are struggling to get by, we have introduced a huge range of programmes to help the Bottom 40 and others deserving of our help. The best known is BR1M – which opposition politicians cruelly wanted to take away – but there are countless other measures we have taken to help young people get training, micro entrepreneurs get credit, and all kinds of assistance for women, rural communities and many others.

You don’t hear a lot about some of these programmes, and the opposition will never mention them. But the people know the efforts BN and my government has been making on their behalf.

As the son of Abdul Razak Hussein, how could I do any different? He did more than anyone to uplift the Malays, the rural communities and the poor. He instilled in me that we must always fight for all Malaysians, and that we can never let any of our countrymen be left behind in our journey to national development.

The Felda settlers know how much Razak did for them and how much they meant to him. BN and I are proud to serve them humbly to this day.

Yet we have much more to do, and we have not always gotten everything right. But we learn from our mistakes so that we can do better for the people in the future. We are honest about that, and our track record is there for all to see.

You can believe our promises for the future, such as increasing the minimum wage to RM1,500 and creating three million new jobs, because we have delivered on our promises in the past.

However, where we offer sincerity and delivery, the opposition offer populist promises they can’t deliver on, and often outright lies.

The DAP is the largest party in the opposition with the vast majority of parliamentary seats, and therefore is their real power. But they deceive the people by deliberately camouflaging their leaders behind Malays. Will they allow Mahathir to become prime minister if they win?

Every time he is asked, he says he would need more time in office. Now it is up to three years. Dare they risk a 92-year-old man who jailed so many of them having the levers of power in his hands yet again?

Do not be fooled either by the tears and the ridiculous allegations of sabotage or even assassination! A former dictator, as he has called himself, does not change. He has apologised sincerely for nothing. The truth is he trying to use his former allies, just as they are trying to use him. Their hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Imagine the country in their hands: a group of people who have spent their entire lives attacking each other, who still cannot agree on the most basic of policies, and whose only reason for coming together is to selfishly gain power for themselves.

As Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wisely warned on Sunday, “It is unwise to elect leaders who share the same bed but yet have different dreams.” Pak Lah said that people of different and opposing ideologies who come together just to win power cannot be good for the country.

That is exactly what the opposition is. A motley crew who can barely stop stabbing each other in the back even before the election, and who have stabbed each other in the back when they have won power at the state level before.

And they are stabbing the Malaysian people in the back with their constant lies right now. The Malaysia they describe is an alternate reality to the harmonious vibrant country this government and the hard working Malaysian people have built together.

This is the Malaysia that is recognised by the World Bank and other international institutions in their reports. This is the Malaysia that sees our government delegations welcomed at the highest level, from Washington and London to Beijing, New Delhi and Riyadh. This is the Malaysia that makes the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques choose our country in which to establish the King Salman Centre for International Peace.

The truth is that Malaysia’s standing in the world has never been higher. But you won’t hear any of that from the opposition.

For them black is white and white is black. They offer not hope but disaster.

Now, for instance, they are threatening to cancel the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL). If they call that off, which is set to create 86,000 jobs, what will happen to the young generation in those states? The ECRL is an example of the major investments this government has fought hard to win, and if we decide to cancel it, then China will stop buying palm oil from us, which will particularly affect Felda smallholders.

The opposition scaremonger that we are selling our sovereignty to China. But this is absolutely false. Malaysian investment into China used to be bigger than Chinese investment in Malaysia, and we have more Malaysian investments overseas than foreign direct investments in this country. So this is a two-way street.

And we have actually had more FDI from Japan than China, but they don’t say we are selling our country to the Japanese! In the interests of national development, we welcome investors from around the world, including Africa, the Americas, China, the EU, India and Saudi Arabia.

This is just one example of how Pakatan Fitnah take the successes Malaysians have achieved together under BN and twist them. They tell outright lies about GST – money which goes directly to the Malaysian people in carefully targeted programmes so that it goes to those who need it most, rather than having blanket subsidies that benefit instant billionaires who scornfully scoff at the recipients of BR1M.

They undermine our nation in their relentless pursuit of power. It is, as the international report I cited earlier said, slander.

We have never faced an election in which these tactics and dirty tricks have been used so blatantly and shamelessly. But I urge Malaysians to see through these lies and recognise the real country we have been building together.

It is a country we should be very proud of. It is a country that has been built by a partnership of BN and the people. This is a partnership you know, you can rely on, which is listening to you, and which has delivered and will continue to deliver for you.

So I ask you now not to risk all that and remember instead all that we have achieved together and what heights we can soar to in the future. I pledge that if you put your trust once again in BN, we will continue that work for you, in the service of the people, and we will continue to build this country together. Let us unite for a greater Malaysia.

NAJIB ABDUL RAZAK is the caretaker prime minister and chairperson of BN.

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