Malays must earn respect with 21st century mindset, says PM

By Yuen Meikeng and Rahimy Rahim, The Star

SERDANG: The Malay community of the 21st century should have the courage and confidence to succeed on their own, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said they should not depend on Government protection if they want to succeed.

“If we want to become a race that is dignified and respected by all, we must have the ability and skills to do so.
Premier touch: Najib launching the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) at the Malaysian Agro Exposition Park in Serdang Thursday. With him are President of MTEM Syed Ali Alatas (left) and Datuk Moehamad Izzat Emir (third from left).

“We should not always be seeking protection from the Government, but we must have the bravery and confidence to succeed on our own.

“These are the characteristics of the 21st century Malay. Such Malays would achieve success not because of Government help, but because of their own power of knowledge, skills and their sharp minds,” the Prime Minister said after launching the United Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) here last night.

The council is a coalition of 63 Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that promotes sustainable economic development for the Malay community.

Najib, who is also Umno president, said that the Malays should be willing to change and adapt to developments in the coming years.

“We must be more flexible and nimble compared with the past. Being too bureaucratic and rigid will only end up as a hurdle in adapting to new environments,” he said.

Najib said the Malays should come up with new projects of their own so that the community could receive a fairer distribution of wealth.

“For example, in the MY Rapid Transit project, the Government had allocated 43% of the project to the bumiputras.

“We do not take from others but we strive to develop new projects,” he added.

He urged the NGOs to help the Government implement its projects under the New Economic Model and Economic Transformation Programme.

“These NGOs should act as a “bridge” between the Government and the people and any decision made by them should be deemed as fair,” he said.

On MTEM, Najib said that the coalition’s formation was historic as this was the first time so many Malay NGOs, which previously operated on their own, were now united under an umbrella body.

“This is a force that can bring change to the Malay community as well as the country as a whole,” he said.

Najib added that it was now up to the Malay NGOs to step forward and carry out effective programmes in championing the interests of the community.