8 April, 2009

Values of 1 Malaysia – Part 2: Perseverance

I believe that the second key value of 1 Malaysia is a mainstay for all nations that have survived challenging periods in their history. Hence, the significance of perseverance as a value that all Malaysians must develop and nurture is tremendous, particularly in present times.

To view the video of my thoughts on Perseverance, click here. The transcript of the video is below.


Life is never easy. Any notion that life is kind of a linear curve that goes up and up all the way I think is a fallacy. One should expect that life is a series of ups and downs. But if you are someone who believes in hard work, and if you are totally dedicated, and if you persevere against all odds, then whenever you come across against any adversity, then you are able to ride through the storm and be able to put yourself back on track, you’ve got to appreciate and understand that there are times when you face difficulties. And it is the same with Malaysia as a nation, we’ve faced many crises before, whether it’s the financial crisis, whether it’s against the communists or against some other turbulent time in our history. But each time we have been able to weather the crisis and emerge stronger as a nation. But all that has been achieved because we’ve been able to put our minds to it. We’ve worked very hard and we’ve always been able to persevere against the odds and eventually prove the skeptics wrong.

On persevering through personal challenges

Throughout my life I’ve always had to put in that little bit extra effort to prove myself because I didn’t want people to look at me and say “he’s there because he has a name, or his family name has propelled him there”. Granted, I’ve had that advantage, but at the same time, it’s also a kind of a burden because you always have to prove yourself that you deserve it. And I’ve always been conscious of the fact that I needed to show that I could do the job, and do it well. And in terms of personal setbacks, I think the most poignant in my memory would be the political setback I experienced in my own constituency back in 1999, when I scraped through with a very small majority of 241.

At that time, people said I would be history in a short time, and some of them event suggested that I change constituencies. But I remained steadfast and I told myself that whatever it is, I want to continue to fight. If I have to go down, I’ll go down fighting. And I told myself I can prove the skeptics wrong and lo and behold, within 4 years, a small majority, a slender majority of 241 was translated to a massive majority of 22,922 and as you know in the last General Election, I achieved the best in performance in terms of BN majority for any parliamentary constituency when I managed to garner 226, 464. That was the size of my majority. But I don’t think that I could have gotten that massive majority if not for the setback in 1999. When I experienced the setback, I realized that I needed to do more. I needed to be more creative, I needed to approach things differently, and that has produced the incredible change and improvement, a massive improvement.