Najib: Barisan is needed to unite the people and reach our goals

(The Star) – KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has reached an exciting crossroads and policies to transform the country must be maintained so it can become a developed and united nation.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that after going through many eras from fighting for independence to the communist insurgency and bringing development and industrialisation the nation was now heading towards its latest phase to unite Malaysians.

“It is crucial for the coalition to get the people’s support and mandate. It is important for Barisan to be re-elected to carry through the plans,” he said in his keynote address at an international forum, Politics of Economics and Social Transformation in the Era of Global Crisis, organised by Umno.

Najib, who is Barisan chairman and Umno president, said the coalition’s policy of consensus and power-sharing had enabled it to ensure long-term stability and undertake meaningful progress.
A Malaysia for all: Puteri Umno members taking a closer looking at a poster titled ‘Kami Anak Malaysia’ outside Menara Tun Hussein Onn in conjunction with the general assembly which begins today. – AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star.

“This has also helped us avoid the inter-ethnic conflicts experienced by other countries,” he added.

Najib said it helped when parties in Barisan settled issues “within four walls” through discussions and consensus because if matters were discussed openly, they could lead to internal conflict and even violence.

He stressed that Umno would be at the forefront to lead the changes and spearhead the transformation.

“Together with our Barisan friends, we are committed to bringing all races together to march towards achieving the 2020 goal. This is what we stand for,” he said.

While former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had outlined the “what” part of the Vision 2020 plan, his (Najib’s) task was to lay down the “how” to achieve the goal.

This, he said, was through ensuring that economic growth remained at 6% per annum, creating 1.2 million jobs, investing RM1.4 trillion in the next 10 years and raising the per capita income from about US$7,000 to US$15,000.

“That is what we have to do raise investment, bring about innovation, make changes in the Government and make ourselves more competitive. We have a crystal clear roadmap to get us to Vision 2020, to accomplish the goal of being a fully developed, high-income nation.”

On the 1Malaysia “People First, Performance Now” concept, Najib said it encapsulated Malaysians of all races working and living together based on mutual respect and acceptance rather than tolerance.

He acknowledged that there were still some problems that must be resolved.

“We promise things will be better and that is what we have been doing by making political and other changes, including allowing students to join political parties and peaceful assemblies,” he said.

Despite the Opposition’s claim of an unfair election, Najib pointed out that it had won four states and its representatives were also allowed to be at polling stations to monitor the counting of ballot papers.

On Umno, Najib said the greatest hurdles facing the party was how to transform and remain relevant and dynamic after being in power for a long and uninterrupted period.

“You have the sense that you have political invincibility. You feel, no matter what (happens), you will be in power,” he said.

“But the political landscape has changed and the party can no longer bank on its previous successes, no matter how monumental.

“People want to know their future and parties which rest on their laurels will be in danger. There is a need to reform before people demand that you reform or be changed.

“We are proud that Umno is re-inventing itself and is ahead of the curve,” he said.