PETALING JAYA: Malaysia must overcome challenges to become a developed nation whose success can be enjoyed by the rakyat, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In his National Day address this year, the Prime Minister said while Malaysia has witnessed many achievements, it must continue to develop so that every citizen is able to enjoy a high quality of life.
“The country’s development is not just seen in terms of economic growth figures, the stock market index, or the amount of foreign and domestic investment.
“Instead, it is about the source of income and quality of life of every one of you.
“Economic growth figures are only meaningful when you have a steady source of income, a comfortable home, quality education, good health, environmental sustainability, and safety in order to lead happy and peaceful lives,” he said.
He acknowledged that not everyone in the country was fortunate, with some having two or three jobs, to put food on the table.
“Many also do not have adequate savings if they were to lose their livelihood. Some may be able to endure for one or two months, but beyond that, they have to take on debts and struggle for their lives,” he said.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck the country, he said, the government deployed various forms of assistance to the rakyat including the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, bank loan moratorium, and wage subsidy.
As the country would lose RM2.4bil for every day business was suspended under the movement control order (MCO), the government decided to open up the economy in stages, while also launching the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).
“Alhamdulillah (Praise God), today the economy of the country is now growing, with more than 15 million people now back at work.
“The unemployment rate has also seen a dip from 5.3% in May to 4.9% in June.
“I understand that many economic sectors were badly affected by the pandemic and will take time to recover fully. But I am confident that if the economic recovery trends continue, our economy will bounce back,” he said.
Muhyiddin said that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught the country a very important lesson: that of caring for one another.
“To date, we have successfully managed this crisis because we are prihatin (caring),” he said, acknowledging the efforts of frontliners, volunteers and ordinary Malaysians who adhered to the standard operating procedure (SOP).
He emphasised that the Perikatan Nasional is a government that cares for its people and that it will always put the rakyat’s welfare as its top priority.
“Perikatan Nasional is a government that cares for its rakyat. I pledge to make this the main guiding principle of this government.
“In line with the National Day theme of ‘Malaysia Prihatin’, I urge all of you to imbibe the spirit of independence by being deeply prihatin (caring) for one another.
“Be caring towards our families, our friends, our neighbours, our workers, and all the people around us.
“Be caring to our nation as well. Protect its independence, safeguard its sovereignty, defend its peace. Insya-Allah (God willing), our beloved country will remain independent, free and sovereign forever,” he said.
Muhyiddin’s speech, which was broadcast on the eve of National Day, was delivered at Stadium Merdeka on Sunday (Aug 30).
It was the historic site where 63 years ago, Malaysia’s first premier Tunku Abdul Rahman had proclaimed the country’s independence to cheering crowds with seven shouts of “Merdeka”.
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