Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"Combating graft my biggest challenge"

PM: Combating graft my biggest challenge


New Straits Times
05-31-2005
PM: Combating graft my biggest challenge
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

KUALA LUMPUR, Mon. - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today that

raising integrity and combating corruption in the country were the
greatest challenges faced by his administration.

However, the Prime Minister said he was not alone in the difficult

endeavour.

He said his colleagues in the Government, retired politicians, members

of the civil service, corporate principals, community leaders and many

loyal and dedicated Malaysians were all with him in the task.

"Do not underestimate their numbers or the power of their combined

voices in creating a more honest and upright society," ...

Friday, May 27, 2005

"No let-up in graft war"

PM: No let-up in graft war

Shahriman Johari
New Straits Times
05-27-2005
PM: No let-up in graft war
Byline: Shahriman Johari
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

THERE will be no compromise in the fight against corruption in Malaysia,

with more emphasis placed on preventive measures, said the Prime Minister.
"We will continue with our fight to reduce and eradicate corruption,"

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Malaysian reporters yesterday, the

last day of his visit to Japan.

He was commenting on a statement by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that

corruption was becoming a "culture" in Malaysia.

The former Prime Minister said that nowadays politicians had to bribe

to be elected and warned that corruption was becoming "above the ...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"I'm Committed To Implement IPCMC"

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : PEJABAT PERDANA MENTERI

Tarikh/Date : 11/05/2005
Tajuk/Title : KENYATAAN MEDIA Y.A.B DATO’ SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA



Pejabat Perdana Menteri




KENYATAAN MEDIA
Y.A.B DATO’ SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA



Suruhanjaya Khas Penambahbaikan Perjalanan dan Pengurusan Polis Diraja Malaysia telah menyerahkan laporan lengkapnya kepada Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Tuanku Syed Putra Jamalulail pada 29 April 2005 lalu.

Suruhanjaya Diraja itu juga telah menyerahkan salinan laporan tersebut kepada saya pada hari yang sama.

Sehubungan itu, Jemaah Menteri telah mempertimbangkan laporan berkenaan pada hari ini dan telah mengambil keputusan supaya laporan itu diterbitkan sebagai sebuah dokumen awam. Laporan tersebut akan dikeluarkan oleh Pejabat Suruhanjaya berkenaan pada hari Isnin, 16 Mei 2005, jam 10.00 pagi.

Penubuhan Suruhanjaya Khas berkenaan adalah atas inisiatif Kerajaan sendiri, dan saya adalah komited untuk melaksanakan cadangan-cadangan yang mampu menambahbaikan organisasi dan prestasi Polis Diraja Malaysia sebagai institusi penguatkuasa undang-undang dan penjaga keselamatan awam yang cekap dan berwibawa dalam abad ke-21.

Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri telah ditugaskan untuk membincang dan menyelaras dengan agensi-agensi kerajaan terbabit untuk tujuan ini.



PERDANA MENTERI
Perdana Putra, Putrajaya
11 Mei 2005

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"Ammend Laws That Discriminate"


DISCRIMINATION Posted by Hello

All laws and regulations that are discriminatory to women must be reviewed or amended to reflect the country’s policy on gender equality, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

“We have recently amended our Constitution to ensure that there is no gender discrimination. We need to ensure that all our laws and regulations are also consistent with this."

“We have already informed all ministries to identify these laws and regulations that need to be reviewed,” he told a press conference after opening the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on the Advancement of Women at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here yesterday.

In his keynote address Abdullah told about 3,000 delegates and guests that he considered as one of Malaysia’s major achievements the recent inclusion of the principle of non-discrimination into the Federal Constitution.

[Source: Doc Mave]

Monday, May 9, 2005

"Malaysia a moderate Islamic nation"

Abdullah: Malaysia a moderate Islamic nation

Shamini Darshni
New Straits Times
05-09-2005
Abdullah: Malaysia a moderate Islamic nation
Byline: Shamini Darshni
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

KUALA LUMPUR, Sun. - Malaysia is, and always will be, an Islamic nation

that showcases the moderation of Muslims to non-Muslims.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it had a

power-sharing system that was unique to the nation.

"We celebrate their (non-Muslims') religious festivals, our children

study together (and) I have the support of all Malaysians when I talk

about Islam Hadhari," he said after opening a seminar entitled Embracing

Islam Ha dhari organised by the Federal Territory Umno today.

Abdullah said this when asked to ...

Friday, May 6, 2005

"I'm Aware"

PM: I'm aware ...

Brendan Pereira
New Straits Times
05-06-2005
PM: I'm aware ... (HL)
Byline: Brendan Pereira
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

KUALA LUMPUR, Thurs. - Little seems to be happening. Contracts are drying

up. Election promises have been put on the backburner.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi set the record straight on these

sentiments in arguably one of his most important speeches since becoming

Prime Minister of Malaysia in November 2003.

He conceded that malaise and inertia continued to be a problem in

certain sectors, and the pace of reform slow. But the situation was not

as gloomy as painted by the doomsayers, saying that significant progress

had been achieved over 18 months and there was more to ...

Thursday, May 5, 2005

"Rent Seeking Mentality" (Harvard Club of Malaysia)

Oleh/By : DATO' SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PERDANA MENTERI MALAYSIA
Tempat/Venue : SUNWAY LAGOON RESORT HOTEL, BANDAR SUNWAY, SELANGOR

Tarikh/Date : 05/05/2005
Tajuk/Title : THE HARVARD CLUB OF MALAYSIA DINNER

SPEECH BY
YAB DATO’ SERI ABDULLAH BIN HAJI AHMAD BADAWI
PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA
AT THE HARVARD CLUB OF MALAYSIA DINNER
THURSDAY, 5TH MAY 2005
SUNWAY LAGOON RESORT HOTEL, BANDAR SUNWAY, SELANGOR


DISTINGUISHED GUESTS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

1. LET ME FIRST BEGIN BY THANKING TAN SRI LIN SEE YAN AND ALL THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE HARVARD CLUB OF MALAYSIA FOR GIVING ME THE HONOUR OF ADDRESSING THIS DISTINGUISHED GATHERING. MALAYSIAN GRADUATES OF HARVARD ARE NOT ONLY PART OF MALAYSIA’S INTELLECTUAL ELITE, BUT ARE ALSO PART OF A SELECT GLOBAL GROUP. MANY AMONG YOU ARE AT THE TOP OF YOUR PROFESSION; MANY OF YOU ARE INFLUENTIAL LEADERS AND THINKERS. THUS, FOR ME TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS WITH YOU TONIGHT IS A PLEASURE AND A PRIVILEGE.

2. AFTER GIVING YOUR INVITATION SOME CAREFUL THOUGHT, I DECIDED TO SPEAK ON A THEME CLOSE TO MY HEART, WHICH I LOOSELY CALL “THE CHALLENGES OF A NATION GROWING UP”. I CHOSE THIS SUBJECT NOT TO SIMPLY REFLECT UPON OUR COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – MANY A WRITER AND SPEAKER HAVE ALREADY COVERED THAT SUBJECT. RATHER, I WOULD LIKE TO SPEAK ABOUT MALAYSIA AS A NATION “GROWING UP” TO BRING ABOUT A BETTER INSIGHT INTO THE FEELINGS, CONCERNS AND ASPIRATIONS PREVAILING TODAY IN OUR COUNTRY, AND TO BRING ABOUT A GREATER APPRECIATION OF THE NATURE OF THE CHANGES THAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

3. IT HAS BEEN ONE AND A HALF YEARS SINCE I BECAME PRIME MINISTER AND I MUST SAY THAT IT HAS BEEN AN EVENTFUL PREMIERSHIP. WE HAVE HAD A GENERAL ELECTION, A PARTY ELECTION, THE SET UP OF A ROYAL COMMISSION, THE DECISION TO REVIEW SOME MAJOR GOVERNMENT PROJECTS AND MANY MORE EVENTS AT WHICH I SPOKE ON A VARIETY OF SUBJECTS, TO COMMUNICATE MY VISION, MY PRIORITIES AND MY PLANS.
4. UPON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY FIRST YEAR AS PRIME MINISTER, I WAS ASKED IN AN INTERVIEW, “DATO SERI, WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING YOU HAD TO DO IN THE PAST ONE YEAR?”.

5. SOME OF YOU HERE MAY REMEMBER MY ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION. FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO DO NOT REMEMBER, I WILL REPEAT IT A LITTLE LATER. NOW HOWEVER, I WOULD LIKE TO ATTRACT YOUR ATTENTION TO THE WORDING OF THE QUESTION. I WAS NOT ASKED ABOUT THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I DID, I WAS ASKED ABOUT THE MOST DIFFICULT THING I HAD TO DO.

6. THE DISTINCTION IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT SHOWS AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE DIFFICULTIES AND INTRICACIES IN GOVERNING A COUNTRY LIKE MALAYSIA. THERE ARE MANY, MANY ELEMENTS TO CONSIDER IN A COUNTRY OF SUCH CONTRASTS. FOR EXAMPLE, WE NOT ONLY HAVE MULTI-ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS GROUPINGS, BUT WE ALSO HAVE VARYING LEVELS OF CONSERVATISM AND LIBERALISM WITHIN THOSE GROUPINGS. WE HAVE VERY DEVELOPED URBAN CENTRES AND ISOLATED RURAL AREAS, WITH POOR AND RICH IN BOTH. WE HAVE POCKETS OF EXCELLENCE AND POCKETS OF UNDERPERFORMANCE OR MEDIOCRITY. WE HAVE GREAT VISION BUT ALSO RELATIVELY MODEST RESOURCES. GETTING IT RIGHT IN A COUNTRY LIKE THIS REQUIRES A FINE SENSE OF BALANCE AND SOME VERY HARD DECISIONS.

7. SPEAKING AS A POLITICIAN AND PUBLIC SERVANT OF OVER 40 YEARS, I CAN CONFIDENTLY SAY TO YOU LADIES AND GENTLEMEN THAT MAKING HARD DECISIONS, IN A COUNTRY THAT IS JUST STARTING TO GROW UP, DOES NOT GET YOU APPROVAL OR ADMIRATION. OFTEN, IT ATTRACTS CRITICISM, CYNICISM, EVEN DISDAIN. BUT SUCH IS THE MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP.

8. SO GOING BACK TO THE QUESTION THAT I WAS ASKED AT THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF MY ADMINISTRATION, MY ANSWER THEN WAS SIMPLE: “THE HARDEST THING I’VE HAD TO DO AS PRIME MINISTER SO FAR IS TO REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT”. THE ECONOMY HAS BEEN USED TO GOVERNMENT PUMP-PRIMING SINCE 1998 AND SO THE DECISION TO REDUCE THE BUDGET DEFICIT WAS, FOR MANY, LIKE TAKING AWAY A COMFORTING SOURCE OF INCOME. MANY OF COURSE KNEW THAT THE GOVERNMENT COULD NOT AND SHOULD NOT CONTINUE TO BE THE PRIMARY DRIVER OF THE ECONOMY, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, MANY ALSO DID NOT WANT TO ACCEPT THE IMPLICATIONS OF REDUCING GOVERNMENT PUMP-PRIMING. ESSENTIALLY, IT IS A CASE HERE OF PEOPLE KNOWING THAT THE CAKE IS BAD FOR THEM BUT STILL WANTING TO HAVE IT AND EAT IT TOO.

9. SOME OF THESE DISSATISFACTIONS MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO A GENERAL FEELING THAT THINGS ARE NOT MOVING AS FAST AS THEY WERE BEFORE. I AM AWARE THAT THERE ARE PARTS OF SOCIETY AS WELL AS FOREIGN COMMENTATORS WHO ARE GROWING IMPATIENT TO SEE VARIOUS THINGS HAPPEN. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY HERE THAT I GENUINELY ACKNOWLEDGE THESE FEELINGS AND THAT I DO NOT DISMISS THEM. I AM VERY MUCH AWARE OF SOME OF THE THINGS BEING SAID AND I TREAT THEM AS IMPORTANT.

10. THE FACT IS, WE ARE SHOWING GOOD AND STEADY PROGRESS IN SOME AREAS. WE SHOULD BE RIGHTLY PROUD OF OUR ACHIEVEMENTS. HOWEVER, I AM ALSO MINDFUL OF UNEVEN PERFORMANCE ON CERTAIN POLICY PRONOUNCEMENTS. IN SOME OF THESE AREAS, I RECOGNISE SYMPTOMS OF MALAISE AND INERTIA WHICH MUST BE ADDRESSED. I AM AS COMMITTED TO TACKLING THESE DEFICIENCIES AND PRODUCING RESULTS AS I AM COMMITTED TO REALISING THE PROMISES MADE IN THE BARISAN NASIONAL MANIFESTO BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION LAST MARCH. THOSE WERE SOLEMN PROMISES, NOT MADE IN THE HEAT OF ELECTIONEERING, BUT RATHER AFTER CAREFUL THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT NEEDED TO BE DONE FOR MALAYSIA.

11. HAVING SAID THAT, I ALSO SEE THAT THERE IS A GENERAL LACK OF COMPREHENSION AND AN UNDER-APPRECIATION OF THE REALITIES OF THE DAY. THOSE WHO SAY THAT THEY ARE DISAPPOINTED OR FRUSTRATED DO NOT SEEM TO REALISE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO ACHIEVE SUSTAINABLE RESULTS, AND HOW LONG IT TAKES TO EFFECT A SYSTEM-WIDE CHANGE.

12. FOR THAT IS WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, A SYSTEM-WIDE CHANGE. WE ARE NOT UNDERGOING A SIMPLE EXTENSION OF THE PATH WE’VE TRODDEN BEFORE. WE ARE EMBARKING ON A VERY AMBITIOUS JOURNEY TO CHANGE THE BASIS OF OUR ECONOMY TO ONE THAT IS KNOWLEDGE-DRIVEN AND PERFORMANCE-BASED. WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO CHANGE THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT UNDERPINNING OUR SOCIETY TOWARDS THAT OF EXCELLENCE, INTEGRITY AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. WE ARE TRYING TO SHAKE OFF OUR BAD HABITS TO WORK AND LIVE AND THINK DIFFERENTLY. IN SHORT, WE ARE ENDEAVOURING TO GROW UP AND MATURE INTO A HIGHER ECONOMIC, POLITICAL AND CULTURAL PLANE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

13. CHANGING AND GROWING UP IS A VERY CHALLENGING EFFORT, ESPECIALLY FOR A COUNTRY AS YOUNG AND AS FULL OF CONTRASTS AS OURS. AT THIS JUNCTURE IN OUR DEVELOPMENT, WE CAN PLAINLY SEE THAT THE ROADS AND RAIL TRACKS HAVE BEEN LAID; THE PORTS AND CITIES HAVE BEEN BUILT; EXCEPT FOR SOME RURAL AREAS, OUR INFRASTRUCTURE IS LARGELY IN PLACE. THE PHASE OF HARDWARE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY ADDRESSED. HOWEVER, THE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND VALUES HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH THE COUNTRY’S HIGHWAYS, AIRPORTS AND TOWNSHIPS. IN THAT SENSE, PERHAPS OUR CULTURAL AND ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT MUST BE MADE TO CATCH UP WITH OUR MATERIAL AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT. OUR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS THUS STILL VERY FAR BEHIND.

14. UNFORTUNATELY FOR POLITICIANS, SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS A MARATHON. IT INVOLVES GRADUALLY AND CONTINUOUSLY STRENGTHENING INSTITUTIONS AND BUILDING UP HUMAN CAPITAL. AS YOU CAN WELL IMAGINE, THIS WOULD REQUIRE A WIDE-RANGING SET OF ACTIONS, WHICH WOULD HAVE A MUCH LONGER AND MORE UNCERTAIN TIMEFRAME FOR RESULTS.

15. UNFORTUNATELY AGAIN, SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS LARGELY INTANGIBLE; CHANGE IS OFTEN REALLY FELT THROUGH ANECDOTE AND EXPERIENCE. IN COMPARISON, INFRASTRUCTURE OR HARDWARE DEVELOPMENT IS A VERY VISIBLE PROCESS; IT TAKES SHAPE BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES. YOU CANNOT MARK SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT – IN TERMS OF HUMAN CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT OR OF INSTITUTIONAL BUILDING – AS EASILY OR AS DIRECTLY.

16. NEVERTHELESS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, DESPITE SUCH POLITICAL INCONVENIENCES, I STAY COMMITTED TO SEE THROUGH THE COUNTRY’S SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT – FOR IT IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SURVIVAL. THE COUNTRY’S EDUCATION SYSTEM MUST BE ENHANCED TO PRODUCE WELL-ROUNDED INDIVIDUALS, SUITED FOR THE MARKETPLACE AND SOCIETY. THE COUNTRY’S VALUES SYSTEM MUST BE IMPROVED TO REPEL ANY INCLINATIONS TOWARDS CORRUPTION, IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOUR AND NEGLECT OF PUBLIC PROPERTY. INSTITUTIONS SUCH AS THE JUDICIARY AND PARLIAMENT MUST BE STRENGTHENED TO BECOME WELL-FUNCTIONING, INDEPENDENT BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE PUBLIC SECTOR MUST BE ENHANCED TO NOT ONLY PROVIDE SERVICES TO THE RAKYAT, BUT ALSO TO FACILITATE PROGRESS AND DEVELOPMENT. THE PRIVATE SECTOR, INCLUDING THE G.L.C.’S, MUST BE CONDITIONED TO BECOME MORE PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED. CIVIL SOCIETY MUST BE GIVEN THE SPACE TO ENGAGE WITH GOVERNMENT AND EXPRESS THEIR VIEWS CONSTRUCTIVELY AND RESPONSIBLY.

17. THESE ELEMENTS OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT ARE THE BONES AND TISSUE WHICH OUR COUNTRY NEEDS TO FUNCTION AS A TRULY DEVELOPED COUNTRY. HOWEVER, MUCH LIKE THE GROWTH OF BONE AND TISSUE, THE PROCESS OF SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT IS COMPLEX AND LONG. IT TOOK SOME OF THE DEVELOPED COUNTRIES MANY, MANY YEARS TO TRANSFORM THEIR GOVERNMENT-OWNED AND GOVERNMENT-LINKED SECTORS INTO PROFIT-MAKING SECTORS. IT TOOK SOME OTHERS MANY, MANY MORE YEARS TO REDUCE CORRUPTION IN SOCIETY, AND EVEN THEN, NOT WITHOUT A PRICE. AND LET US NOT FORGET, IT TOOK MALAYSIA MORE THAN 20 YEARS TO CHANGE THE BASIS OF ITS ECONOMY FROM DEPENDENCE ON RUBBER AND TIN, TO BEING BASED ON MANUFACTURING AND INDUSTRIAL EXPORTS.

18. ALL GREAT CHANGES TAKE TIME. BUT EVEN NOW, IF WE TAKE A PAUSE FROM PESSIMISM AND CYNICISM FOR A MOMENT, WE WILL SEE THAT THERE ARE ALREADY SIGNS THAT WE ARE MOVING IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION. THE FINAL REPORT OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION TO IMPROVE THE OPERATIONS AND MANAGEMENT OF THE POLICE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED, OUTLINING RECOMMENDATIONS TO MAKE THE POLICE FORCE INTO A MODERN AND RESPECTED INSTITUTION. CORRUPTION-RELATED ARRESTS ROSE BY 47 PERCENT IN 2004 FROM 2003, ON THE BACK OF INCREASED REPORTING TO THE A.C.A.. G.L.C. REFORM IS LARGELY ON TRACK, WITH SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND BOARDS NOW MUCH MORE ATTUNED TO THE PRACTICE OF MEASURING PERFORMANCE AND DELIVERING FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL RESULTS. RELATIVELY HIGH RATES OF ECONOMIC GROWTH ARE STILL BEING ATTAINED, WITH LOW UNEMPLOYMENT, LOW INFLATION AND HIGH SAVINGS, ALL ACHIEVED AGAINST A BACKDROP OF FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT SPENDING. THE PRIVATE SECTOR HAS REASSUMED ITS ROLE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND PRIVATE INVESTMENTS AND F.D.I. HAVE CONTINUED TO COME IN. MEANWHILE, WE CONTINUE TO PUNCH ABOVE OUR WEIGHT IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, PLAYING SIGNIFICANT AND MEANINGFUL ROLES IN ASEAN, N.A.M., O.I.C. AND OTHER MULTI-LATERAL ORGANISATIONS. AT HOME, THERE IS A SENSE NOW OF GREATER SPACE FOR EXPRESSION IN THE PRESS AND IN CIVIL SOCIETY, BE IT PUSHING FOR PUBLIC INTERESTS SUCH AS PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT, OR EVEN CRITICISM OF INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNMENT.

19. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WOULD BE ONE OF THE FIRST TO AGREE WITH SOME CRITICS THAT WE NEED TO ACHIEVE MORE, TO MAKE MORE GAINS ON CERTAIN FRONTS, TO SEE MORE RESULTS. HOWEVER, CONSIDERING THE DIFFICULTIES AND INTRICACIES INHERENT IN A COUNTRY LIKE MALAYSIA, WITH ITS MANY, MANY POINTS OF EQUILIBRIUM, WE HAVE ON BALANCE ACHIEVED QUITE A LOT IN THE LAST ONE AND A HALF YEARS. WE HAVE MADE SOME STRATEGIC DECISIONS AND WE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THEM THROUGH. AND QUITE SIMPLY, THIS IS WHERE WE ARE NOW. WE ARE GOING ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNING, STICKING TO OUR PRINCIPLES, WEATHERING THE UPS AND DOWNS, BUT ULTIMATELY, WE ARE DEEP IN THE PROCESS OF FOLLOWING THROUGH.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

20. AS I HAVE MENTIONED EARLIER, I AM COMMITTED TO SEEING THROUGH MY POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROMISES TO FRUITION. I AM NOT ONLY A MAN OF INTENTIONS, I AM ALSO A MAN OF DEEDS. I AM NOT ONE FOR DISPLAY OR FANFARE OR HARSH WORDS, SO PERHAPS I DON’T GIVE AWAY MANY SIGNS, BUT THAT IS AN ISSUE OF STYLE, NOT SUBSTANCE. I AM PERHAPS FORTUNATE THAT THE FORMER IS EASIER TO TACKLE THAN THE LATTER.

21. YET IN ALL THAT I HAVE SET OUT TO ACHIEVE, THE REAL CHALLENGE IS MENTALITY. TWO YEARS AGO I MADE A SPEECH WHICH STARTED OFF THE PHRASE “1ST CLASS INFRASTRUCTURE, 3RD CLASS MENTALITY”. THAT PHRASE APPEARED TO STRIKE A CHORD IN MANY MALAYSIANS, WITH MANY WRITING IN TO SAY THAT IT APTLY DESCRIBED THE STATE OF MALAYSIANS THEN. TODAY, THAT PHRASE STILL LARGELY HOLDS TRUE.

22. AS A COUNTRY, WE HAVE A RELATIVELY CLEAR IDEA OF WHERE WE WANT TO GO AND WHAT WE WANT TO BE. WE WANT TO BE A DEVELOPED COUNTRY, A COMPETITIVE COUNTRY, A PROSPEROUS COUNTRY. BUT AS PEOPLE, AS INDIVIDUALS, WE ARE NOT YET READY TO DEVELOP A SOUND VALUE SYSTEM (SUCH AS “BUDI BAHASA DAN NILAI-NILAI MURNI”), NOR ARE WE WILLING TO LET GO OF A FEW BAD HABITS THAT WE HAVE BECOME ADDICTED TO AND THAT STAND IN THE WAY OF OUR OBJECTIVES.

23. FIRSTLY, WE ARE STILL ADDICTED TO CHEAP FOREIGN LABOUR. RATHER THAN MAKING THE NECESSARY INVESTMENTS TO BECOME MORE LABOUR-EFFICIENT AND ADOPTING HIGH TECHNOLOGY, THE PREFERENCE IS TO FORM STRONG LOBBY GROUPS AND PRESSURE FOR MORE CHEAP FOREIGN LABOUR. OVER-DEPENDENCE AND SOCIAL ILLS ARE THEN SEEN AS AN ACCEPTABLE PRICE TO PAY FOR THIS SEEMING NECESSITY, IN ALMOST ALL SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY.

24. SECONDLY, WE ARE ADDICTED TO SUBSIDIES. RATHER THAN INVESTING TO BECOME MORE ENERGY-EFFICIENT, WE FIGHT TO KEEP PRICES ARTIFICIALLY LOW. NEVER MIND THAT THE MONEY CAN BE BETTER SPENT ON SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, AND OTHER FACILITIES TO BENEFIT MANY MORE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN NEED.

25. THIRDLY, WE ARE ADDICTED TO RENT-SEEKING; WE WOULD RATHER GO FOR “KNOW-WHO” THAN “KNOW-HOW”. RATHER THAN INVESTING TO BECOME BETTER THAN OUR COMPETITORS OR TO ADD VALUE IN OUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, WE TRY TO FIND A WAY IN BY OTHER MEANS AND SEEK TO LEVERAGE ON OUR SENSE OF PRIVILEGE AND ENTITLEMENT TO GET SOMEWHERE IN LIFE. WE SEEM TO THINK: SURELY SOMEONE ELSE, AT THE VERY LEAST THE GOVERNMENT, OWES US A LIVING?.


26. I ASK YOU, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: CAN THE GOVERNMENT SUSTAIN THE COSTS OF MAINTAINING THESE ‘PROPS’ TO OUR COMPETITIVENESS?. THE ANSWER IS NO. AS IS PLAINLY OBVIOUS TO ALL, THE TREASURY’S COFFERS ARE LIMITED. AS OTHER COUNTRIES BECOME MORE COMPETITIVE AND INNOVATIVE, IT WILL ALSO BECOME MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO RELY ON SUCH STRATEGIES TO GROW OUR INCOMES. FURTHERMORE, AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE, THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT CONTINUE TO NURTURE HABITS WHICH REDUCE THE INCENTIVE TO INCREASE EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY. WE CANNOT GO ON MASKING OUR TRUE COMPETITIVENESS IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE VIA SUBSIDIES AND THE LIKE.

27. THERE IS NO EASY OR MAGIC SOLUTION TO THIS. WE HAVE TO BE WILLING TO DEVELOP OURSELVES AND TO LET GO OF THE “ADDICTIONS” WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO. IT IS A QUESTION OF WILLINGNESS MORE THAN A QUESTION OF ABILITY. IT IS A QUESTION OF MENTALITY.

28. IN THIS AND OTHER MATTERS, WE MUST GO BACK TO BASICS, AND WE MUST GO BACK TO THE PRIMACY OF VALUES AND PRINCIPLES. THIS IS MY STAND, AS CAN BE SEEN FOR EXAMPLE IN THE APPROACH OF “ISLAM HADHARI” THAT I HAVE ESPOUSED. THE MAGNITUDE OF CHANGE NEEDED IN A COUNTRY EVOLVING AND MATURING IS ENORMOUS, AND WILL REQUIRE A HOST OF HARD DECISIONS BY THIS GOVERNMENT, OF WHICH I PROUDLY LEAD. I DO NOT WANT TO GIVE YOU EXCUSES FOR THE LACK OF PROGRESS IN CERTAIN AREAS. I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ISSUE, AND MY GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO WORK HARD TO DELIVER RESULTS.

29. BUT I DO ASK THAT YOU SEE THE WOODS AND NOT MERELY THE TREES, AND THAT YOU STAND READY TO SUPPORT TOUGH DECISIONS THAT NEED TO BE MADE. EXPECTATIONS TOO MUST BE MODERATED TO REFLECT WHAT CAN REASONABLY BE ACHIEVED. WE SHOULD NOT RUSH TO REACH OUR DESTINATION, LEST WE FIND IT’S NOT WHERE WE WANT TO BE OR WE FIND THAT WE DIDN’T THINK IT THROUGH ENOUGH BEFORE DECIDING ON THE DESTINATION. CERTAINLY, WE SHOULD NOT RUSH OR CLAMOUR FOR RESULTS WHEN THAT WILL LEAD TO INJUSTICE, AS THE CASE MAY BE IN DEALING WITH CORRUPTION. I MAKE NO APOLOGIES FOR BEING TRUE TO THE VALUES THAT I HOLD DEAR, SUCH AS AMANAH, ACCOUNTABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, INTEGRITY AND JUSTICE.

30. AS I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES BEFORE, THE JOURNEY AHEAD WILL NOT BE EASY. WE HAVE REACHED A CRITICAL CROSS-ROADS, AS MALAYSIA CONTINUES TO GROW AND DEVELOP. WE ARE NOT TRAVELLING IN A STRAIGHT AND LEVEL LINE, BUT CLIMBING UP ONTO VERY ROUGH TERRAIN. WE MAY SLIP AND FALL ALONG THE WAY, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, WE WILL STAY THE COURSE. I ASK YOU, AND EACH AND EVERY MALAYSIAN, TO JOIN IN AND TO WORK WITH ME, NOT FOR ME. WE HAVE MUCH TO DO. INSYA-ALLAH, WITH THE GRACE AND BLESSINGS OF GOD, WE CAN ACHIEVE OUR AMBITIONS AND FULFILL OUR POTENTIAL TOGETHER.

THANK YOU.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

'Islam Hadhari promotes progress'

'Islam Hadhari promotes progress'


New Straits Times
05-04-2005
'Islam Hadhari promotes progress'
Edition: Main/Lifestyle

JITRA, Tues. - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today said

Islam Hadhari, which promotes a progressive Islam, is not an attempt to
deny Islam or deviate from its teachings.

"When we initiated Islam Hadhari, it did not mean we wanted to

disregard Islam," he said.

"Anyone with such a notion is wrong. I never had such intentions. When

we stressed Islam Hadhari, it never meant we must forget other things

related to Islam."

Abdullah was speaking to reporters after delivering a keynote address

at a state-level seminar on Islam Hadhari at Dewan Wawasan here.

About 10,000 people attended ...

"Our Fuel Prices The Cheapest in ASEAN"



KENYATAAN MEDIA

1. Selaras dengan dasar Kerajaan untuk membendung kenaikan subsidi yang ditanggung oleh Kerajaan, Jemaah Menteri hari ini memutuskan untuk menaikkan harga runcit bagi diesel dan petrol sebagai satu langkah berperingkat-peringkat untuk membendung kenaikan subsidi bagi produk petroleum. Sehubungan itu, Jemaah Menteri memutuskan untuk menaikkan harga runcit diesel sebanyak 20 sen seliter dan harga petrol sebanyak 10 sen seliter mulai 5 Mei 2005.

2. Pada tahun 2004, Kerajaan menanggung subsidi produk petroleum sebanyak RM4.8 bilion. Pada tahun 2005, Kerajaan dijangka akan menanggung subsidi sebanyak RM8.96 bilion jika harga runcit kekal pada paras sedia ada dan pada tahun yang sama, Kerajaan akan mengorbankan sebanyak RM7.85 bilion dalam bentuk pengecualian cukai. Ini bermakna Kerajaan mengalami kerugian sebanyak RM16.8 bilion. Dengan menaikkan harga runcit diesel dan petrol, subsidi produk petroleum ialah RM6.7 bilion, iaitu penjimatan sebanyak RM2.2 bilion setahun.

3. Dengan keputusan terbaru ini, harga runcit baru diesel dan petrol di stesen minyak berbanding harga sedia ada adalah seperti berikut:



4. Dengan harga baru ini, harga petrol di Malaysia masih termurah di ASEAN, kecuali Brunei sementara bagi diesel pula terendah kecuali berbanding Indonesia dan Brunei. Perbandingan harga adalah seperti berikut:



5. Subsidi bukanlah cara yang terbaik untuk membantu golongan tertentu kerana ia mewujudkan herotan pasaran (market distortion) yang menyebabkan penggunaan sumber yang tidak cekap. Di samping itu, ia juga akan menyebabkan kegiatan penyelewengan seperti penjualan produk bersubsidi kepada mereka yang tidak layak. Penyeludupan diesel dan petrol keluar negara pula bermakna Kerajaan Malaysia membiayai penggunaan produk berkenaan oleh rakyat asing. Oleh itu, kenaikan harga runcit ini akan dapat mengurangkan jurang antara harga pasaran dan harga subsidi, dan seterusnya diharap dapat mengurangkan kegiatan penyelewengan dan penyeludupan. Andainya kadar penyeludupan ialah 10 peratus, bermakna rakyat telah memberi subsidi RM480 juta kepada rakyat asing, berdasarkan jumlah subsidi sebanyak RM4.8 bilion pada tahun 2004.

6. Meskipun harga produk petroleum antarabangsa telah meningkat sebanyak 65.35 sen seliter bagi petrol dan 75.49 sen seliter bagi diesel dalam tempoh Januari 2004 - April 2005, Kerajaan hanya menaikkan harga sebanyak 7 sen seliter bagi petrol dan 12 sen seliter bagi diesel dalam tempoh tersebut. Kenaikan terakhir diesel sebanyak 5 sen dibuat pada bulan Mac 2005 manakala kenaikan terakhir petrol sebanyak 5 sen seliter pada bulan Oktober 2004.



Pejabat Perdana Menteri
Putrajaya
4 Mei 2005