21 September, 2008

Political stability = Economic stability


Friday was a poignant day for me and this blog reflects that mood. The end of one ministerial role and beginning of another fills me with both sadness and hope.

My 14 years at the Ministry of Defence will be remembered fondly. As I bid my farewells, I was reminded how important the Ministry, its people, and our mission had become to the country. I have had the enormous privilege to work with some of our finest men in uniform from all ranks. We have together over the years made great progress in modernising the armed forces, from enhancing our technological capabilities and skills, to providing for the well-being and education of the men and women whose job it is to protect this beloved nation of ours. For your sacrifices and dedication, I salute all of you.

I am looking forward to my new role as Finance Minister. It will be a fresh challenge and I am well aware it could be a baptism of fire given current global uncertainties. Our ability to navigate this storm will depend on our efforts and resolve to strengthen our economic fundamentals, remove barriers to growth and investment, and implement the difficult structural changes necessary to ensure our long term competitiveness. Economic and political stability are two sides of the same coin and we cannot have one without the other. We must stop playing political games and start focusing on the welfare of those who have elected us to do our jobs.

I leave on Wednesday for the 63rd United National General Assembly where I will be speaking on behalf of Malaysia. We have always been a strong voice for the developing and Muslim world. And we will continue to highlight issues that are important to us. More when I get to New York.