Friday November 9, 2007
Pak Lah: Malaysia is for all
KUALA LUMPUR: There is a future in this country for every Malaysian, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The Umno president said the party does not engage in duplicity.
We are not makhluk dua alam (amphibian or semi-terrestrial creatures).
We do not change our tune to suit the occasion or the audience.
We are ready to seek intelligent resolutions and win-win solutions when dealing with sensitive issues relating to race and religion, he said.
However, for these issues to be addressed effectively, they should be discussed behind closed doors, Abdullah said in his presidential address at the Umno general assembly on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister said the harmony among the various communities and religions in the country was not an optional luxury but a necessity.
We have no other choice. Fifty years ago, our independence movement was successful because of the wisdom of Tunku Abdul Rahman and his colleagues who introduced the concept of power sharing, he said.
He added that being independent for 50 years meant that those born and raised in Malaysia, know only Malaysia as their homeland.
The time for championing parochial interests is over. Issues must be addressed on the basis of the interests of the nation and the Malaysian people as a whole, he added.
Abdullah stressed that basic matters, such as that relating to the sanctity of religion, beliefs and practices, Malay interests and the social contract among the communities are sacred and should not be raised.
Similarly, the basic issues that were agreed upon at the time the Federal Constitution was drafted are non-negotiable, he added.
Abdullah said that the National Economic Policy (NEP) was never intended for anyone to rob anothers rights.
Although it has been 37 years since the introduction of the NEP, we have not made the Malays rich by seizing the wealth of the non-Malays.
The list of the richest individuals in Malaysia is still led by non-Malays, he added.
He believed the country would not achieve true peace and harmony if there were still large numbers of poor people.
Poverty can cause political instability, street demonstrations, high crime rates and serious social problems.
Poverty eradication programmes are for all irrespective of race or religion, he added.
Defending the act of Umno Youth head Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein of unsheathing and kissing the keris at the Youth assembly, Abdullah said it was befitting Malay culture and heritage.
Yet, he lamented, the significance was twisted by some to spread fear among non-Malays and smeared the partys image at home and abroad.
On behalf of Umnos leaders and members, I give an assurance that Umno will never breach the spirit of understanding that had been agreed to with other communities at the time of Merdeka.