TODAY, we Pekembar, Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu, better known as Umno, short for United Malays National Organisation, sit in assembly for the 54th time in an atmosphere of peace, prosperity and security.
Umno as the backbone of the Barisan Nasional coalition party has governed Malaysia since Merdeka 46 years ago. For a party which struggled for independence this is a record. Not many parties which struggled for the independence of their countries at the time of Umno’s struggle are still in existence or in power.
MALAYSIA HAS CHANGED
There have been many changes during the 46 years we have been independent. From a country limited to the Malay peninsula only, we have grown to become Malaysia with the voluntary accession of Sarawak and Sabah. The population of Malaysia has increased from just over five million to 25 million now.
The rate of development of the infrastructure in Malaysia has been rapid. Among them are the expressways linking the North to the South and the West to the East of the peninsula. In Sabah and Sarawak the main roads are not yet expressways but are far better than during the British period. Motor vehicles can reach practically all the towns and villages throughout the country.
The rural areas have changed with tarred rural roads, schools, clinics, electricity and water supply.
The towns have grown rapidly with skyscrapers even in the former rubber and palm oil estates. Kuala Lumpur, the capital, is well known for its Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Putrajaya has been built as the Administrative Capital with handsome and prestigious office buildings. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building which was before the landmark of the Malaysian capital has now been replaced by the handsome buildings of Putrajaya which reflect the culture and the progress achieved by Malaysia.
The multiracial people of Malaysia live in peace and harmony, thanks to the policy of the First Prime Minister, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra. The disparities in the economic wealth of the different races have been reduced. The bumiputra padi farmers and the fishermen now have children who are professionals, high ranking government officials, professors, generals in the armed forces and millionaires in business.
The skill of Malay/bumiputra business executives is evident from their being chosen as executive managers in giant foreign corporations.
Petronas, a fully-owned government company, is managed by Malay managers and senior executives together with non-Malays. From a national petroleum company which normally operates within the country, Petronas is now a multinational petroleum corporation operating in 32 countries in the world, exploring, producing and marketing oil and gas worldwide. Petronas is also involved in large petro-chemical industries.
Petronas is listed among the 500 biggest corporations in the world and had once been highest in terms of profits.
And many more Malays are successful as businessmen, industrialists and managers of large successful companies within the country and outside. Malay contractors build roads and buildings in many foreign countries apart from their own country.
It is clear that many Malays and other bumiputras have the same ability in business as other communities. They can and they have demonstrated their capabilities.
Their spirit and confidence can be seen when they are prepared to sail round the world alone, climb Mount Everest, swim 48 kilometres from the mainland to Langkawi Island, become badminton champions etc.
The Malay administrators succeeded in developing Malaysia so well that they are invited to advise other countries on various aspects of administration and development.
Now Malaysia is well-known throughout the world because of the role it plays in international affairs. The ability of Malaysia to handle the financial crisis in 1997-1998 in its own way is now acknowledged.
THE WORLD HAS CHANGED
But the world has also changed. The advances in jet passenger transportation and in telecommunication technology have made the world very small. All the countries of the world are now close neighbours. There is nothing that can be hidden or kept secret.
The concept of non-interference in the internal affairs of independent nations has been replaced by the concept of involvement indirectly or directly, including in changing certain governments by foreign powers. If necessary force will be used for this purpose.
The collapse of the Eastern Communist Bloc has made this world a unipolar world, where the bloc which won, the capitalist bloc, will allow only the capitalist free market and liberal democratic system to be practised in the world.
Globalisation has been introduced, designed by the Western countries to facilitate their control of the world economy.
It can be seen clearly that the Europeans wish to control the world again. Although at first this control was indirect, but today they have begun to invade and rule certain countries, ostensibly for their security but in fact to exploit the wealth in these countries.
The economies of East Asia grew rapidly since the end of World War II. Beginning with Japan; South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia grew rapidly. But the focus of attention is now China which dropped the Centrally Planned economy and accepted a limited free market system. In a very short space of time this poor Communist country has become a rich nation with the possibility of having a powerful military force.
This development has frightened China’s close neighbours and the old enemies of China; i.e. Japan and South Korea.
The Western countries feel uncomfortable about China becoming a big economic power with a powerful military competency.
With this, the international climate has become very tense and challenging for everyone including Malaysia. And the Europeans have demonstrated a desire to return to their fierce old ways.
The history of the Malays during the British period can give us a lot of guidance regarding the character of the Europeans.
We have been colonised by three European races. For 450 years we have been under their colonial rule. Now we and other Asians face the possibility of once again being colonised by them.
NEED TO KNOW EUROPEANS
Because of this we need to know the Europeans well for our fate, our life will depend on how we interact with them and people of their origin. Here Europeans include those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand. They are often called white men or Westerners. But many are white and many who live in the West are not Europeans. The Europeans are people of the nations of Europe. That is why I call them Europeans, not even Mat Salleh. The English say “call a spade a spade”. Call anything by its real name. And so in this speech I will call the Europeans, Europeans.
I am not anti-European. I have many friends and acquaintances who are Europeans. I am embarrassed to criticise Europeans because those whom I know will feel hurt. The European countries which are friendly towards us will feel hurt. Certainly their media will condemn me as a racist. But I consider exposing who the Europeans are has become so important that the risk must be taken.
All Europeans have the same origins and culture i.e. based on the Greek and Roman civilisations. They are very clever, brave and have an insatiable curiosity. They are never satisfied with what they have and always want to improve on them, to make them better, more productive for whatever purpose. There is nothing, whether instrument or system or ideology which is not continuously improved by them.
Sometimes in their frenzy to improve everything they damage things and bring about bad results. But they are not deterred and they continue to try to improve things which they have or which other people have.
Unfortunately they are also very greedy and like to take forcibly the territories and rights of other people. Their 2,000-year history is full of endless wars to seize territories and enlarge their power worldwide.
At first their seizure was limited and confined to Europe. But when they mastered the skills of long distance sailing they extended their seizures and wars throughout the world. The Chinese, Arabs and Indians reached Southeast Asia earlier but did not fight to conquer this region. But when the Europeans arrived, the territories of Southeast Asia, like the territories of Africa, North and South America, Australia and the Pacific Islands, were seized by force of arms by them in order to make these territories their own, to seize the wealth, to oppress and denigrate and to commit genocide.
Because they like to wage war and seize other people’s territories, their main interest is in the development and production of weapons to kill people more efficiently. There is no implement that is not modified to become lethal weapons, to give victory to them in war.
The Chinese invented explosives and used them to make noise in order to chase away the “dragons” and stop them from swallowing the sun and the moon during eclipses. Or simply as firecrackers during festivals. But when the Europeans came across the Chinese explosives, the first thing that they thought of was how to use them to propel their cannon balls further.
Since then many weapons were invented to kill from long distances. Bombs, rockets, missiles, nuclear warheads and many more followed the cannon. Today the nuclear weapons that they have can destroy the whole world, but still they are not satisfied.
They are still researching and developing warheads which are more powerful and effective. In the history of the world only the Europeans have dropped nuclear bombs which destroyed cities causing the biggest number of people to be killed instantly merely with just two bombs.
When they invented the motorcar, soon after the armoured car made its appearance. The airplane resulted in bombers and fighter planes. Merchant ships resulted in warships and submarines. And all these are improved constantly in order to kill more people more efficiently.
Today billions of dollars are being spent to develop more sophisticated weapons, supplying them to their war machines, training their forces for war, getting ready to fight even though there are no enemies presently or in the future which threaten them. And they have demonstrated that they are ready to invent false allegations in order to go to war to kill children, old people, sick people and just anyone and consider all these people as mere collaterals, which cannot be allowed to come in the way of the achievement of their objective.
Fighting and the skills in killing are regarded as honourable by the Europeans. The champions among them are given the honorific title of “knights”. Every now and then they would launch an attack to expand the territories of their Masters or Lords. That is why since ancient times their villages and towns are surrounded by stone walls and wide moats.
For them all differences must be settled by tests of strength. Whoever wins is right and is entitled to take all for himself. The loser loses all. That is also the way they settle the differences between the workers and the employers. The winner in the industrial action will get what he wants.
The history of Europe is the history of wars, the history of tests of strength. When they came into contact with non-Europeans in Africa, America and Asia, they went to war immediately in order to seize the territories of the local people, and to set up new countries and empires.
They did not show any charity or kindness. The local inhabitants were chased away and killed without compunction.
Many were the tribes which were made extinct by their attacks. Genocide for them is the final solution.
Actually they should feel sympathy for the local inhabitants because they themselves were expelled from their own countries in Europe. But when they reached what they consider the New World which is the old world for the inhabitants, they chased off the local inhabitants from their own land and seized all the properties of these people. Whoever resisted was attacked, killed or enslaved.
In their attempts to seize as large a territory as possible to create their new empires, the Europeans fought among themselves. Often the locals were forced to take part in their wars and pillaging.
The enmity between them increased because each of them wanted to expand their territories, to build empires, to become the most powerful nation in the world. Because of this they launched bigger wars involving the whole world.
The First World War was launched in 1914 and ended in 1918 after more than 20 million of their people and soldiers from the empires were killed and billions of dollars worth of property was destroyed.
Still they were not satisfied. Only 20 years after the First World War, they fought again in the Second World War. This time the destructive violence of the Europeans reached a peak. More than 50 million of their people and those of their empires were killed. They employed carpet-bombing to flatten whole cities with all the people.
Finally they dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, in a non-European country. Although these nuclear bombs gave victory to them, the Europeans were shocked at the power of nuclear weapons and the radiation which could kill the victims years after the bombs were dropped.
The Europeans felt frightened that a nuclear war between them would break out and their people would be killed and their countries destroyed by nuclear weapons. Because of this fear they made an international agreement to control the production, testing and use of nuclear weapons in war.
But several of them refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They continued to study, develop and test various new nuclear devices for their bombs and warheads.
The Europeans hated the Jews even before they embraced Christianity. When they became Christians they blamed the Jews because a Jew had betrayed Christ to the Romans and was killed by crucifixion.
Because of this, until after the Second World War, the Europeans oppressed the Jews who had migrated to their countries. Every year they carried out Pogroms and Inquisitions indulging in the massacre of the Jews. The attempt to resolve the Jewish problem reached a peak during World War II when six million Jews were killed.
But after the Second World War the Jews were still in Europe. To force the Jews out of Europe, they seized the territory of the Arab Palestinians to create the state of Israel. Not only were the land, houses and farms of the Arab Palestinians seized, but the Arabs were chased out of their land which became Israel.
Since then West Asia has never been at peace. The attempts of the Palestinians to get back their territory were opposed by the Europeans. Instead they supported Israeli’s seizure of more Palestinian land and the killing of Palestinians.
The throwing of stones by Palestinian children was met by bullets from Israeli forces which killed the children. But the Europeans did not condemn Israel. Instead the suicide bombings by the Palestinians were condemned by them.
The Sept 11 (2001) attack on America which supported Israel was made an excuse for the Anglo Saxon Europeans to return to their old violent ways.
Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not.
By making all kinds of baseless accusations they launched attacks against Muslim countries, using their weapons of mass destruction, killing civilians and destroying the towns.
America and Britain did not care at all the condemnation of the world against their actions. Oppositions by their own people were ignored. They wish to show the world how powerful they are and anyone challenging them would be attacked by their military forces.
What I say here is all true. It is not the intention to frighten us, so that we will take seriously the danger that we will face. Again I would like to repeat that I am not anti-European or racist. It is not my wish to create hatred for the Europeans. But it is very important that we know this race and their activities in the past because they will play a big role in our life and our race, our religion and our country. Our failure to know them will make it difficult for us to prepare and strategise for our own safety.
The struggle against Malayan Union and for independence is over. We have succeeded not only in ruling our country well after independence, but also in developing our country fast. Many of us think that once we become independent we will remain independent forever.
But today the danger that we face is greater than that which we faced in the middle of the 20th Century, when the British tried to seize Malay land to set up the Malayan Union.
DANGERS WE FACE
Today we see how an attempt was made to make beggars of us by devaluing our ringgit. Today we see how the big powers attack and take over weak countries. The United Nations is clearly unable to protect anyone. There is no other power prepared to protect us if we become the object of attack.
The world that we have to face in the new decades and centuries will see numerous attempts by the Europeans to colonise us either indirectly or directly. If our country is not attacked, our minds, our culture, our religion and other things will become the target.
In the cultural and social fields they want to see unlimited freedom for the individual. For them the freedom of the individual cannot be questioned. They have rejected the institutions of marriage and family. Instead they accept the practice of free sex including sodomy as a right. Marriage between male and male, between female and female are officially recognised by them. What we call incest is not regarded as serious by them.
The injunction against changes of religion among Muslims, laws which differ from their laws will be questioned by them. Their media will be used to denigrate all that we practise. The NGOs will be subverted in order to demand for reviews of whatever is not liked by the Europeans, to amend and finally to reject what is considered as denying the rights of the individual.
The culture and the values which they will force us to accept will be hedonism, unlimited quest for pleasure, the satisfaction of base desires, particularly sexual desires. Our way of life must be the same as their way of life. Asian values do not exist for them.
Our economic system must follow the free market system conceived by them. Governments cannot be involved or have rules and regulations in order to help the weak. The problem of balancing the developments between the races is not the responsibility of the free market. The free market is about the big, the strong, the capital rich taking all for themselves.
Nationals of a country cannot be given special treatment. Foreign companies must be free to enter any country to compete with local businesses and banks. The likelihood is that their giant corporations would swallow up the small local businesses, and we will become paid workers under them. Everything is said to depend upon merit and not the unequal and unjust competition with their big and experienced corporations. The result is that they will control every country’s economy completely.
If anyone rejects the free market system proposed by the WTO, they will be subjected to punitive action intended to destroy their economy. Through the WTO the Europeans have introduced rule-based trading, that is, all trade within and outside the country must be subjected to the WTO rules invented by them. Whichever country fails to follow these rules will be subjected to various actions, such as sanctions etc. in order to destroy the country’s economy.
Although the Cold War between the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc was still on, the world was able to recover. The 60s, 70s and 80s saw remarkable progress in the economy of the world.
Relatively speaking the world at that time was peaceful and free from threats. With that the habit of travelling grew and flying as well as the manufacture of jet aircrafts contributed to the economies of many countries in the world.
Millions of tourists and business travellers flooded the airports throughout the world forcing their expansion and increases in numbers yearly. Passenger jets which are bigger and able to fly further were developed and hundreds were produced and sold by companies like Boeing, Lockheed and Airbus. Luxury hotels were built worldwide, creating numerous jobs for people including those from the developing countries.
The development of the microchip, i.e. tiny electric circuits, revolutionised manufacturing. The microchip enables calculations to be speeded up by thousands of time and made possible the invention of the computer, and its use not only in calculating but in transmitting information by voice, in writing and through pictures to every corner of the world.
The demand for the microchips grew fast and plants to produce them were built everywhere, including in developing countries like Malaysia. The increasing wealth of some countries caused the demand for manufactured goods including motor vehicles to shoot up and many countries which switched from agriculture to manufacturing developed fast.
Malaysia achieved high growth with GDP above 8% continuously for 10 years. There seems to be nothing to prevent Malaysia from becoming a developed country by 2020.
Our policy is to prosper our neighbours. This is not just charity or a desire to help. The fact is that when neighbours are prosperous we will also become prosperous because we will be able to increase our trade with them. On the other hand when neighbours are beset with problems, the problems will spill over into our country. Clearly prospering your neighbour is a policy of enlightened self-interest. And this policy has brought a lot of benefit to us, contributing to regional stability and also the growth of the economy.
Truly the world after World War II was very prosperous. But the Europeans tried to improve things by changing the systems and practices of commerce, politics and social norms so as to become better and more fair.
Japan, which was so successful before, has become a victim of these new systems. Until now the Japanese cannot resurrect their ailing economy.
Malaysia, which was growing so well, was attacked by rogue currency traders who claimed that they had a responsibility to discipline governments. The result is that the growth of Malaysia’s economy and those of East Asia have been stunted and even reversed. Until now restoration to the former level has not succeeded.
The restoration has become more difficult when the cheatings and commercial crimes in America were exposed. The dot com companies whose shares appreciated for no valid reason collapsed. After that the giant corporations like Enron, World Com, Arthur Anderson and tens of others big and small, were found to have cheated on their accounting.
Hijack became a word on everyone’s lips when criminals seized passenger aircraft. The peak in this hijacking came when terrorists seized passenger aircraft and used them as guided missiles to destroy the World Trade Centre in New York. This frightened the tourists and the business travellers so that passenger loads fell below 30% in the US and elsewhere.
This has caused a tremendous decline in the hotel and other industries related to tourism. Nearly all American airlines became bankrupt with losses of hundreds of billions of dollars.
The hunt for the terrorists has made the world tense and unsafe. Bombs explode in many parts of the world. Afghanistan and Iraq were attacked and Syria and Iran were similarly threatened unless they changed their governments.
Thus the prosperity and the peace of 30 years in the world after the end of the Second World War has been brought to an end because of the attempt to improve on what was already working well. With the introduction of new approaches in the development of the economy of the world, with the frenzy to acquire wealth, with the disregard for the poverty and sufferings of so many in this world, with allowing the seizure of territories here and there, all the progress that had been made before has been destroyed.
Now the possibility of restoring the world’s economy to the level of 1997 has become uncertain. It cannot be attained because instead of trying to calm the world, the powers that be are bent on using force in order to achieve their objectives.
DEMOCRACY HAS DEFECTS
In politics all countries must practise liberal democracy. We admit that democracy is the best system of government ever invented by man. But it is not free from defects. For those who do not understand the limits of democracy, the likelihood is that governments which are weak, or corrupt will rule. At times anarchy will result from practising liberal democracy.
Democracy depends on popular support. This support can be obtained because the candidate or the party is skilled at governing and developing the country. But popular support can also be obtained because of racialism, because of deliberate misinterpretation of religion, or through bribing the voters.
At the same time the voter can also make use of racialism, religious injunctions, or demand for bribes for self or group. With this the winner which forms the government will not be the qualified and able, but those with thick racialism, or those who misinterpret religion or those who are corrupt. Government by such people will ruin the country, while the able and clean party will lose.
Maybe the intention of the Europeans to force the acceptance of democracy is good and they do not plan to damage the developing countries deliberately. They probably believe that democracy will help the developing countries the way it helped their own countries. But they forget the long period of time they took to understand and get benefits from this system.
The struggle for power in a newly democratic developing country has caused hundreds of parties to be formed. A strong government cannot possibly be formed if the electorate is divided by hundreds of parties. There will not be a party which will get enough representatives to form a strong government.
We in Malaysia have succeeded in practising democracy. But the Europeans are not happy. They wish to see frequent changes of government so that there will be no stability and development cannot take place. Their new slogan is “Regime Change”. Because this has not happened and our country remains peaceful and successful they accuse us of being undemocratic and dictatorial.
Who are they to accuse our government as dictatorial? Aren’t they the former colonialists whose rule was dictatorial and oppressive and have they not just invaded a weak country, killing many civilians in order to gain power over that country? Is their way of achieving Regime Change democratic? Look first in the mirror. The problem with the Europeans is that they award themselves the right to judge over their own views.
But their criticism may have a hidden agenda. Because we are not democratic, then interference by them in our domestic affairs would be justified. There will be many people in this country who will be influenced by their views and condemn the Government. The result will be instability for the country and it will not be able to develop and the people will suffer.
They will condemn this accusation. They have no ill intentions, no conspiracy to obstruct anyone’s progress. They merely criticise. But we must not forget that their criticisms, even if baseless, have been used to justify their attack and occupation of a country.
The first person to talk of a Regime Change is Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel. Arafat has to be replaced by a leader acceptable to them. Today the Europeans talk of the need to have Regime Change in many countries. Do not think that we will not be targeted. They were disappointed when their former candidate failed. They will try again.
This is the external environment which we face now and will face in the future. Allah be Praised until now we have succeeded in defending our freedom and our independence. This is because we are careful and able to avoid falling into the trap set by them.
Within the country the environment is no less challenging. The efforts to bring together the different communities have not been fully successful. The new generation is divided because they choose to attend different schools according to race.
In order to bring the students from the different races together and to make the people and the country more competitive, the Government has introduced the study of English and the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English. The parents accept well this move but as usual political parties try to politicise the issue.
We also plan to have National Service for all communities with the objective of bringing the younger generation closer together. The nature of the National Service has not been finalised but God willing we will implement it in 2004.
Islam plays an important role in the life of a great majority of the people of Malaysia. The Muslims in Malaysia are all Sunnis and followers of Imam Shafie. As a result they should be united and there should be no altercations between them.
Unfortunately when democracy was introduced during the struggle for independence, the desire to gain high places to have power had influenced those with religious education to break away from the mainstream Umno in order to set up Party Islam Se Malaya, the direct translation of Pan Malayan Islamic Party, or PMIP. Now this party is known as PAS, an improper acronym for Party Islam Malaysia.
The fact is that in the attempt to gain support for itself, PAS deliberately misinterpreted Islam. Over time their interpretation became more far fetched and extreme. From accusing Umno members as being infidels, not Muslim, they have reached the stage of declaring that God uses obscenities like their own party leader does and that God is a thug or gangster.
There are many more interpretations of the teachings of Islam by PAS leaders which are against the true teachings of Islam. The Muslims in Malaysia have become confused and they cannot be united. Their split weakens the Muslims at a time when the Muslims need to unite to save themselves.
To overcome this, the best way is to equip the people, especially the young people with the right teachings of Islam, in order that they can ward off the wrong teachings.
Unfortunately these wrong teachings are implanted while the children are still small, in the kindergarten and the People’s Religious Schools, and sometimes by religious teachers in the national schools. We have seen that when this generation matures they believe blindly this wrong interpretation of Islam.
They do not know how to thank people and to be grateful, love to falsely accuse other Muslims and to hear the fitnah by certain people and they make enemies of other Muslims. They have now reached the stage of trying to overthrow the elected government by force of arms, to terrorise, to rob and to kill people.
Because of this the Government has to take action to stop the spread of these wrong teachings in the schools and other institutions. The Government gave aid to the People’s Religious Schools because parents like to send their children to these schools believing that they would become more knowledgeable about religion.
But because it is not the true religion that is taught at these schools and instead teachings which are against the true teachings of Islam, the Government cannot give aid to these schools anymore. The Government and Muslim leaders of the Government would be committing a sin if we give support for anything that is against the teachings of Islam.
We did not close the schools. We merely do not give aid. Those who continue to give aid will bear the sins because these are not religious schools but are indoctrination centres for PAS.
The Government will oversee all deviations from the teachings of Islam and it will provide facilities to study the proper teachings of Islam in the national schools to ensure the new generation can reject not only the wrong teachings of Islam but can distinguish between what is good and what is bad and what is right and what is wrong.
Another internal problem which challenges us is the management of the economy and our finances. For this we have designed a policy and strategy which requires understanding and co-operation among the people. We cannot behave like people who are already rich when we are still a developing country.
At our present stage of development, we are able to have certain facilities only. When our income increases we should be willing to pay slightly more when the facilities we use are better and cost more. There are some of us who demand first class facilities but are prepared to pay only third class rates. If we want first class things we must pay first class prices.
Now we have become a nation where more people live in urban areas than in the countryside. The more than one million inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur produce rubbish which can bury the city underneath a rubbish mountain in two years.
We have to get rid of this rubbish. Dumping in open land will pollute the air, will cause bad smell, cause diseases such as SARS, breed rats and insects and poison underground water which will flow into the rivers and cause other problems. Open burning will pollute the atmosphere with smoke and toxic gases.
To save the people from all these, the Government is prepared to spend more than RM1.5bil to build the most modern and safe incinerator. It is more modern than most of the incinerators in developed countries such as Japan.
In Japan ordinary incinerators are so clean that they can be built in the middle of residential areas. The residents use the incineration plant as a place for recreation, swimming clubs and other activities. No one protested. The people pay a high rate for their incinerators.
We propose to build a most modern incinerator, cleaner than many found in Japan and other developed countries and place it far from residential areas. The safety of the people is ensured because there will be no fly ash which will pollute the air.
But the people in this country, which is 10 times poorer than the developed countries, protest against the incinerator because it allegedly will produce toxic gases. We have become so arrogant that the acceptable level of pollution of people who are 10 times richer than us is not good enough for us.
NOT RICH YET
We are not rich yet. We cannot even enjoy the same standards as the developed countries. But we now demand standards higher than the developed countries. Believe me if we behave in this manner we will not be more safe and healthy, but we will suffer from it.
In economic matters our strategy is to live within our means, not to borrow too much, and manage our development according to our financial capacity and our needs.
We want to ensure that while our costs are competitive, our standards of living will not be too low. Today our per capita income is about US$4,000 (RM15,200) but with this income we can buy goods and services worth about US$9,000 (RM34,200) in America.
On the other hand, many countries where the pay is very high but the price of goods and services is much higher causing the standard of living to actually fall.
All their people are millionaires but all are really poor. In Malaysia, incomes rise more than cost increases. This means that we can buy more although there is an increase in prices.
The wages in Malaysia may be low compared to those in the developed countries but they have not caused our standard of living to fall. In many instances the public facilities are the same as in developed countries, but the cost to the people using these facilities is less than half for those in developed countries.
We pay only RM7 to cross the Penang Bridge. The Japanese pay RM500 to use a shorter bridge.
We can raise wages but if the increase is not balanced by an increase is productivity, we will become uncompetitive. With that there will be no more new investments and the existing investments may move to other countries.
Job opportunities will be reduced and many will be unemployed. In this situation there cannot be any more increase in wages as the number of workers exceeds the job opportunities.
There are people who believe that wage increases can be obtained through industrial action. This is what is done in Europe. But if we study we will find the European economy does not grow like ours and there is more unemployment than here.
They pay unemployment allowances. Such allowances can only be paid if the number of unemployed is small and the economy grows well. But when the economy is down and government revenue decreases, that is the time when the number of unemployed people increases and more money is required to pay the dole. And this will affect adversely government finances.
In addition because of unemployment allowances many workers choose not to work or to hide their jobs. This increases the burden of the government so much so that now the government has to insist that certain work must be done if the allowance is to be claimed. In other words “Unemployment Allowance” is not sustainable.
In Malaysia we do not have unemployment allowance. If a worker does not work his family will have to support him. Ashamed about this and unwilling to be dependent on the family, an unemployed person would seek to work. Still when there are too many unemployed graduates the Government gives them exposure to work and pay them temporary allowance.
We need our own approach and strategy. We cannot follow the European ways blindly. But there are Malaysians who like to follow European ways and those people who are already rich. They don’t take into consideration the country’s level of development and our financial capacity. They like us to be spendthrifts and borrow money.
If the Government in the desire to be popular were to accede to their big spending demands, it is possible that we will become like some developing countries and will not be able to pay our foreign debt, become bankrupt and be under the direction of international agencies.
There are many internal issues which have to be handled. I will not elaborate on them. Although we have succeeded a little in balancing the economic wealth between the different races but in the process the Malays and other bumiputras have become too dependent and can only do business with the Government. Without the Government and without the NEP they will collapse. This threatens the future of the Malays and the bumiputras, Malaysians and our beloved country.
We can handle our foreign and domestic problems with a strong government. But the problem within the party, within Umno, cannot be resolved by the Government. The only ones who can is the party and the members themselves.
Having been successful for so long many of the leaders and members are without the true spirit anymore, but instead they give priority to self-interest. The struggle for posts in the party has become so critical that the party’s interests, the interest of our race and the nation’s interest have been pushed aside.
Umno and the Malays have become weak because of this attitude. Since the split of the Umno ulamas to form PAS we have seen splinter parties being formed thrice by Umno people who were not able to get what they want. A lot of effort and time have to be spent to rehabilitate the party.
Allah be Praised, the effects of the last splintering no longer affect the party as it did during the 1999 elections. But the threat which still remains is the willingness of some leaders and members to sabotage the party.
The contest within the party is in order to get the best candidate and the best leaders, not in order to quarrel and to sulk and to seek revenge, which can cause a loss to the party and the national struggle. Those who understand democracy will close ranks behind the successful candidate after the contest is over and together ensure the success of the struggle.
Because contests within the party are not healthy and often cause a split, we have not been able to have a contest at the divisional and Supreme Council levels, especially when elections are near.
But for the general elections, whether we like it or not, the candidates have to be chosen. When a candidate is chosen the one who is not chosen may try to ensure the candidate will lose. They forget when the candidate loses, the party loses. But such is their attitude that they are willing to see the party lose and the opposition win rather than see their colleague in the party win. Remember when they are chosen, they too will become victims of such attitude.
At the present time this attitude is not widespread. But it points in a dangerous direction. If more people adopt this attitude, the party will lose not because the opposition is strong but because indirectly Umno members collude with the opposition party. In truth this is a betrayal against the struggle of the party, the religion, race and nation.
We have to accept that the time must come when we have to retire and hand over our tasks to the succeeding generation. The party cannot carry on its struggle if there is no renewal of members and leaders, if new members and leaders are not accepted.
I am grateful because the founding of Puteri is accepted and the co-operation between Puteri and Wanita is strong. But at branch and divisional levels there is some unwillingness to accept new members especially those who are qualified because of the fear of losing their posts. This attitude must be got rid of. If not, the party will die together with the present old members and leaders.
The challenges facing Umno as the backbone of the Government of this country come from outside the country, within the country and within the party. If we do not know how to handle these challenges, if we don’t have the right spirit and the political will the brilliant history of Umno will fade and Umno will follow the fate of those nationalist parties in other countries which no longer exist or which have lost power.
UPHOLD ISLAMIC TEACHINGS
Faced with these challenges what preparations must we make? I have mentioned the role of Islam in the life of the Malays. There is no influence greater than Islam in building the strength and the resistance of the Malays.
But the important thing is that we cling to the true teachings of Islam, the teachings which are all positive and constructive, the teachings which had given success to our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w., the teachings which had given great success to the early Muslims so much so that they were able to enlarge the Muslim territories to include almost the whole world and to maintain it for 1,300 years.
If we study closely we will find that the teachings of Islam stress good and honourable values. We are asked to read “Iqra” i.e. to seek knowledge. We are exhorted to be brothers in Islam, including in the party, outside the party, outside the country.
We are told to keep our promises and undertakings. We are asked to work hard, to acquire all kinds of skills which can help upgrade our defence and many more which are positive and constructive. We are also enjoined to reject what is bad and negative.
If we stick to all these good values and practise them and we refer to them when faced with challenges, God Willing, we will succeed.
Islam will not disappoint us. Allah has not ordained that the fate of the Muslims will always be bad. The Quran has testified that Allah will not change the fortunes of any group unless that group strives to change its fortune itself. Allah has also clarified that all misfortunes are our own doing and only good fortunes come from Him.
And so it is not possible that our ill fortune at present is all from Allah. It comes from Muslims who only know how to appeal and pray for help but never try seriously to save and improve our fortunes. If we purposely chose to live at the foot of a volcano, do not blame Allah or regard it as preordained when the volcano erupts, bringing down our house on the top of our heads and we die.
UMNO NOT JUST ANY PARTY
Umno is not just any party. Umno is the ruling party. In Malaysia Umno plays a very important role. If not for Umno and its struggle our country would not have become independent in 1957 and would not be stable and successful as it is now. This is admitted by everyone, by the Malays, the Chinese, Indians and the tribes in Malaysia and also by foreigners.
Because of this the members and leaders of Umno at all levels have a heavy responsibility. This responsibility can only be shouldered and be implemented successfully if we all equip ourselves with the required values, knowledge and skills.
There is no individual or group without problems. Umno has a lot of problems. Allah be Praised, up till now we have been able to manage most of these problems successfully.
The future will bring more problems and challenges for our party. Whether Umno can manage these problems and challenges with success depends very much on the qualities which we have as members and leaders.
In truth the success of the group will bring success and benefits to every individual member of the group. On the other hand the success of the individual does not guarantee the success of the group.
Worse still the success of the individual can bring misfortune to the group. Umno as an important group, if it is damaged, will bring misfortune to the Malays, to Malaysians, to Islam and to the nation. Because of this every individual in Umno must strive to bring success to the group, i.e. Umno and not struggle unnecessarily for personal gain. As Muslims we must know the meaning of sacrifice, must be willing to sacrifice for the success of the group.
In war, those who are killed will not taste the fruits of victory in this life. We are not asking Umno to go to war and be killed. We merely ask Umno to give priority to the party’s success. Only the success of the party can bring benefit to us, not success as individuals.
The opportunities in a democratic system and in a party are limited and incidental. They are not the reasons for our struggle. Remember our struggle is for the honour and progress of our race, our religion and our homeland. The high positions are for enabling us to make a success of our struggle and are not the objective of our struggle.
If we ourselves do not get this high position but those who get are successful in achieving our objectives, we should not be disappointed. The success of our race, our religion, our country will be enjoyed by us also. And we too will be honoured and highly regarded. Instead if because of our unseemly struggle the party is weakened, we may lose everything.
MEMBERS MUST SACRIFICE
Because of that the members of Umno must be ready to make sacrifices in order to get a lot of benefits. Ask yourself if it is true that we have got nothing at all because we are not branch leaders or division leaders, members of the Supreme Council, election candidates or members of Parliament or Ministers or a Prime Minister.
The answer is that we all get something. Because of that stop the personal struggle and ensure the success of the party. People who sabotage the party should not be in the party. The traitor within is far more dangerous than the declared enemy.
Do not betray the party and our own race.
Actually the opposition is not strong. They cannot defeat Umno. But Umno can defeat Umno. I need not elaborate. We all know. The opposition did not win. Only Umno had lost.
Truly Umno cannot lose if our loyalty to the party, to our religion and to our race is not weakened by self-interest. There is no political party anywhere which has been more successful in restoring the honour of the race as Umno has.
From being a colonised and oppressed race, the Malays are now regarded as a race which has succeeded so much as to become a model for many people in the world. The service rendered by Umno to the Malays, bumiputras, to Malaysians and Malaysia is clearly very great. Do not allow our personal disappointment to destroy again the honour of our race.
If I may repeat, our struggle, Umno and the Malays and the bumiputras (indigenous people) is not over. There are still many things that we have to do. Merely to ensure continued independence, freedom, requires great effort continuously. What more if we want to restore our honour fully by becoming a developed people in a developed country.
Umno, I repeat, is not just any party. Umno is the backbone and prime mover of the party which rules this beloved country. If Umno is strong then the National Front will be strong, the Malaysian Government will be strong and Malaysia will be strong. A weak Umno will bring disaster to all of us.
This is the last time that I can deliver the speech to officially open the Umno General Assembly. I crave your pardon if I took too much time. I truly wish to repay the party which had given me opportunities to realise my ideas on restoring the honour of my race and people, to help to progress them and my country. It is not for me to say whether I have succeeded or not. The people and history will judge and determine whether my service was good or bad.
I value very much the support of Umno, the Malays and other bumiputras and the people of Malaysia and I am grateful and I thank them all. I crave your pardon for the mistakes and wrongs that I have committed during the length of my leadership of this blessed party.
Allah be Praised, for having given His insignificant slave this opportunity. I pray to Him to protect my race from the bad qualities and make them a people who are successful and honoured, who submit fully to all that our holy religion has taught us, to make them work hard, that You may protect and bring success to our people in order to become the model to the Muslim ummah, the people who submit to all your injunctions, Oh Allah, Amin.
With this prayer, with a heavy heart yet with happiness, I declare officially open the 54th General Assembly of Umno.