Win­ning at ‘the game of the im­pos­si­ble’

Em­brace mod­er­a­tion as well as in­clu­sive­ness and re­mem­ber na­tion built out of mu­tual re­spect

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Malaysia Day - Datuk Seri Idris jala

WE MALAYSIANS are known for our tol­er­ance, mod­er­a­tion and gen­eros­ity, cel­e­brat­ing dif­fer­ent fes­tiv­i­ties and be­liefs. Th­ese were the val­ues I was taught as a young Ke­labit boy grow­ing up in Bario, Sarawak.

We al­ways re­ceived with grat­i­tude, and had a seem­ingly quiet re­silience.

Th­ese traits made me re­alise that to achieve suc­cess, I had to pur­sue the “game of the im­pos­si­ble”, and the only way I could win was through ed­u­ca­tion and re­lent­less pur­suit.

I am thank­ful for Malaysia’s in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. This is how a boy stepped out of one of the most re­mote ar­eas in Malaysia into the cor­ri­dors of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment.

Ed­u­ca­tion is the key to a bet­ter fu­ture. We make this pos­si­ble by en­abling our youth to shape their own paths. We have no short­age of study op­tions, from pre-school to the ter­tiary level where stu­dents from all back­grounds are wel­comed.

This in­clu­sive­ness was em­bold­ened in the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme launched by our Prime Min­is­ter in 2010, which ap­plies in­clu­siv­ity through­out its ini­tia­tives. Th­ese ef­forts spurred Malaysia to high in­come and de­vel­oped sta­tus in a sus­tain­able, in­clu­sive and pru­dent man­ner. For the first time in more than 20 years, in 2016, we broke through the mid­dle-in­come trap.

We are also reap­ing the ben­e­fits of our fis­cal poli­cies im­ple­mented over the last seven years.

Malaysia has taken the road less trav­elled — a de­ci­sion to curb our bor­row­ing and diver­sify our econ­omy. This meant im­ple­ment­ing tough but nec­es­sary poli­cies for sus­tain­able growth that put the coun­try in a bet­ter fis­cal po­si­tion in the long-run.

Re­flect­ing on the last seven years, we can en­joy the out­come of the prom­ises com­mit­ted by the Gov­ern­ment. The MRT is now in mo­tion, trans­port­ing an av­er­age of 100,000 com­muters daily.

From a macroe­co­nomic per­spec­tive, our GDP ex­panded 5.8% in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, faster than most econ­o­mists had fore­cast.

The world has taken in­ter­est in our trans­for­ma­tion — Oman, Tan­za­nia, In­dia, Rus­sia, Botswana and Nepal are adopt­ing our model of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and sus­tain­able growth.

This sus­tain­able growth is only pos­si­ble if ev­ery­one is in­cluded.

For years, our Prime Min­is­ter has in­sisted that the cor­ner­stone of our trans­for­ma­tion is cre­at­ing bet­ter out­comes for those liv­ing out­side ur­ban ar­eas.

We un­der­stood that our only way for­ward is en­sur­ing ev­ery­one is part of this trans­for­ma­tion. This is why, since 2010, our trans­for­ma­tion has up­lifted 6.2 mil­lion ru­ral folk.

To con­tin­u­ously drive our trans­for­ma­tion, we need to re­turn to our in­trin­sic val­ues as Malaysians — we must move from mere tol­er­ance to ac­cep­tance of dif­fer­ences in opin­ions and cel­e­brate our na­tion’s suc­cess as a whole.

We are a melt­ing pot of cul­tures and be­liefs. To take th­ese po­lar­i­ties and in­sist that only some of us are cor­rect, will en­cour­age dis­unity.

In a coun­try as di­verse as Malaysia, we do not solve po­lar­i­ties, but man­age them!

Our in­trin­sic char­ac­ter has al­ways been one of mod­er­a­tion. Let us all em­brace this. We can­not af­ford cam­paigns that al­most seem bent on divi­sion and in­cit­ing hate. It is time for us to re­call that this coun­try was borne out of mu­tual tol­er­ance and re­spect.

Di­vi­sive­ness will undo the hard work we have done to shape our na­tion’s story, en­rich our her­itage, and give mean­ing to our found­ing val­ues.

De­spite our dif­fer­ences, we are one peo­ple; Malaysians all and a part of some­thing big­ger than our­selves.

This Malaysia Day, let’s count our bless­ings. No mat­ter our cir­cum­stances, we all have some­thing to be grate­ful for.

Maybe it’s good health, a new ad­di­tion to the fam­ily, or a child tak­ing the next step to­ward their fu­ture. Maybe it’s a new job, or long over­due pro­mo­tion. Maybe it’s some­thing as sim­ple, and as im­por­tant, as the chance to spend time with the peo­ple who mat­ter most.

I hope that you and your fam­ily have a won­der­ful Malaysia Day, sur­rounded by loved ones. May we all play our own part in Malaysia’s story, and write an­other chap­ter fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can be proud of!

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