24 March, 2010


The role of Prime Minister admittedly has its challenges. Nevertheless, delightful moments are produced on occasions. One of the highlights I look forward to most is meeting and interacting with a variety of Malaysians from all parts of the country, observing their cultural activities and how they live or work, and joining them for a meal and drinks.

My regular walkabouts allow me to do precisely that. Put simple, my walkabouts involve visiting communities and engaging informally with members of the public. I find this a special opportunity to listen to Malaysians from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and learn about their interests and concerns. In turn, I am keen to share with locals my perspective on the issues that affect them and what the Government is doing to enhance their living. In fact this has been the way since we gained independence where community leaders and the likes go to the ground to obtain feedback and to assist where possible.

There is a further personal dimension: walkabouts refresh memories of my late father. As Prime Minister, he used to visit communities and talk with villages all over the country. I treasure his accounts and feel motivated by them.

I encourage all Government ministers and senior officers to join me or embark on their own walkabouts. Let us not just delegate our roles and responsibilities. On occasion and where relevant, one should be there at the site of implementation to understand the needs of the rakyat. There are few better ways to connect with the rakyat and obtain real and actual views on matters of health, education, transport and so forth. I would also love to see organizations of various races combining forces to assist our communities. Furthermore, I invite all Government officials to share their walkabout experiences with the people of Malaysia through appropriate channels, as I do by using my blog 1Malaysia.com.my to present video and images of my encounters. In the meantime, let’s continue to interact and I look forward to visiting as many places as possible through my walkabouts this year.