PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said his policies and initiatives of the past three months are not aimed at winning votes but form his agenda for the nation.
Acknowledging that there is currently a “feel good” sentiment among Malaysians, the Prime Minister said he had a duty to deliver on his pronouncements and what the public had come to expect from his Government.
Abdullah, who met local newspaper editors at Putrajaya yesterday, was asked whether he would take advantage of the “feel good” factor to call an early general election.
The Prime Minister said although he had not decided on the date of the election, he had impressed upon his ministers and Barisan National members to work hard.
“I know we will win, but if we work hard, we will ensure a bigger win. It’s like doing homework. You know you will get a ‘P’ (pass), but if you work hard, you might get an ‘A’,” he added.
The major initiatives Abdullah has taken since taking over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 31 include:
·IMPROVING the government delivery system;
·CALLING for a mindset change among Malaysians, moving away from the physical landmarks (the “hardware”) of development to the “software” part of development with emphasis on human capital;
·ZERO tolerance policy against corruption;
·REVITALISATION of the agriculture sector, including co-operatives, so that it could be a dynamic force of change;
·REFORM of the education system; and
·A “QUIET” foreign policy which emphasises on making friends with everyone.
Abdullah said his government had created a “momentum for change” and it was crucial for this momentum to be sustained.
On corruption, he said while it had not become part of Malaysian culture, it was serious enough to warrant tough action, otherwise, it would have a debilitating effect on the nation.
He said if the delivery system could be improved, it would reduce the opportunities for corruption.
“Delays can cause corruption because people are impatient. They want to jump the queue and some are prepared to pay.”
On agriculture, Abdullah said Malaysia was blessedwith some of the richest bio-diversity and extensive natural resources in the world.
What was needed was the application of technology and knowledge to create new sources of growth, wealth and income from the agricultural sector.
Abdullah also said he regarded cultural and ethnic diversity as an asset for Malaysia.
He had noted that during Hari Raya open houses, the presence of non-Malays was very visible, while during Kongsi Raya, the presence of non-Chinese was also very visible.
“In those days, you could have five people of different races arriving in the same car for a celebration. But on arrival, they would move apart to different tables because the food was not suitable for everyone” he said, adding that if Malaysians are mindful of each other’s sensitivities, diversity was an asset.
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