Friday, May 3, 2013
Re-elect a government that has delivered its promises — Najib Razak
This is the 13th general election, and I believe the choice we face is the clearest yet. This election is about the country we want to be, about two competing visions of our future. I ask that you approach this choice with an open mind, for this election will determine our future for decades to come.
Within the lifetime of the new Parliament, Malaysia will become a high-income nation. The focus must then turn to new ambitions; and the time will come for a discussion about the kind of country we want to be, about our aims and our aspirations. The next government will have the privilege of leading that discussion with the people. So this election is not just about continuity or change. It should not be about who claims to speak to which race. It is a once-in-a-generation chance to set the direction for our country.
I am proud of my government’s record and the difference we have made to people’s lives — the families who have been lifted out of poverty, the roads that have been built, and the clinics that have been opened. But I am determined that we should fight this election not just on the past, but also on the strength of our vision for the future.
We can build a more prosperous, more confident nation — where economic growth and political reform bring unity, stability and opportunity for all. I am confident that our manifesto reflects this belief. And I am pleased that our candidates — an unprecedented number of whom are seeking office for the first time — share this reformist outlook. I know we may not have always lived up to your expectations. But our policies are tested, our ideas are strong, and our vision is clear.
The last four years has seen real transformation in Malaysia. We have been able to achieve so much: from new rail links, to more affordable housing; from better health facilities, to an improved school curriculum. Our economy has raced ahead and living standards have improved. Our success has put money in people’s pockets and created wealth and opportunity. During a global economic downturn, we are on track to reach developed-nation status two years ahead of schedule.
We have also witnessed major changes in our democracy. I have listened to people, especially young voters, and I respect and acknowledge their demands for greater political freedoms. This is why, over the past four years, we have ended the State of Emergency, repealed the Internal Security Act, made changes to allow students to participate in politics, expanded the right to peaceful assembly and relaxed publishing restrictions on the print media.
It is not easy to make such sweeping political reforms. I always have people telling me to go faster, while others say we should slow down. But I believe the pace of change has been right for Malaysia. We have been able to make political changes with the support of the vast majority of Malaysians and that is important for our nation’s stability.
There is still much to be done: I am conscious that our transformation is still a story that is not yet complete. With a fresh mandate, I hope to accelerate reform; to continue to make our economy stronger and our politics more responsive. I want to do more to tackle corruption, to strengthen our security and education system, and build a more cohesive society. I want to help build a better nation that I see for Malaysia.
This is the ninth election I have participated in, and the first as leader of my party. Although the stakes are high, the honour is higher still. The moment you are elected to office, you represent all your constituents — not just those who voted for you. All candidates, and all parties, have a responsibility to the electorate. It is a chance to show that although the competition may be spirited, and the debate fierce, we can repay the trust that the people placed in us.
I look forward to an open and honest discussion about Malaysia’s future. We should afford those who disagree with us time and attention, just as we do those who share our views. That is why I am writing in The Malaysian Insider today. Some of you may have made up your mind already; others may be open to persuasion. I only ask that you vote with your head as well as your heart; that you chose the coalition party you believe in, and the policies in which you have confidence. I hope you will choose the party that has delivered results, that does not promise more than it can achieve, that is not split but united behind a common goal for Malaysia.
I understand that people will not vote for me just because my party helped deliver independence, or steered us through industrialisation. And so I ask you, instead, to vote for Barisan Nasional based on our record in office, our ability to fulfil our promises, and our plans for the future.
We have delivered on the pledges that we made four years ago. With your support, we will also deliver on the policies in our election manifesto. I encourage everyone, regardless of your political affiliation, to exercise your democratic right on Election Day. And I ask you to re-elect a government that has delivered on its promises, expanded democratic freedoms and set Malaysia firmly on the path to a brighter future.
With humility I ask that you choose me as your prime minister. I will be honoured to serve you for the good of our nation.