31 December, 2008

A New Year, A New Outlook


Assalamualaikum and Salam Sejahtera. Happy New Year and welcome again to 1Malaysia.com.my.

I am delighted to be able to speak to you again as we say goodbye to 2008 and bid welcome to 2009. It is now nearly four months since 1Malaysia.com.my was launched and how interesting those months have been. Many of you sent in your messages and comments to me on various issues and whenever I go through them, I feel encouraged that so many Malaysians want to be engaged and are interested to participate in building this nation by sharing their thoughts and views.

Early in our dialogue, we established that the purpose of this site was the exploration of our unique diversity – the celebration of Malaysia’s varied races, religions and pursuits – and to discuss the adjustments that we must continually make to accomplish our goal of creating a stronger, more unified Malaysia.

It is this diversity that enables Malaysia to both respond to change and create positive improvements through the power of our unified voices. And those voices are absolutely critical at this juncture as our nation faces significant challenges ahead.

The still unfolding global economic crisis remains our most pressing challenge. Although Malaysia is well-prepared to meet it, the reality is that the crisis began outside of our control and the depth of its impact will also be determined by outside forces.

To prepare for this economic challenge, we have introduced a number of initiatives, including a targeted stimulus package, income enhancement measures, guaranteeing your saving deposits and price reduction campaigns. This will also allow Malaysia to revisit and reengineer our capital market and financial landscape, where necessary, in such a rapidly developing global market. We stand ready to introduce additional stimulus measures if and when the need arises. Collectively, these represent a powerful boost to our economic engine.

Those are some of Malaysia’s responses to this economic crisis. As the government acts prudently and vigilantly in managing this problem from a macro perspective, I ask each of us to reflect on ways we, as individuals, can better economically prepare ourselves, our families and our communities in ensuring our economic liveability comforts for the coming year.

But challenging though the prospects may be, a new year brings with it the promise of hope and renewal. God-willing (insya-Allah) various reforms and improvements in government will be implemented in response to the call of Malaysians for greater efficiency and accountability. 2009 will likely see various changes taking place all of which will be geared towards fulfilling our aspirations and taking Malaysia fully into the 21st century.

1Malaysia’s call for engagement and dialogue continues to resonate and gain momentum. Our goal to eradicate racial and cultural prejudice and promote a society in which all our citizens are respected continues to expand. I will continue to foster this dialogue, gain your perspective, and use the power of your voices to ensure that Malaysia remains on the right footing as we stride confidently forward.

For many of us, a new year means a new beginning. The New Year will also bring more changes to improve 1Malaysia.com.my as a place to honour and explore Malaysia’s rich diversity. I hope you like the new developments of the website, with more exciting elements to come. This website is available to you as an avenue to provide your views and insights on how to leverage our shared objectives of respect and unity towards strengthening the ties that bind all Malaysians as one nation. Please visit us often and continue to be an active participant in this important national dialogue.

Thank you, and from my family to yours, I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.