Yesterday was a special day for me, and not just because it marked the start of our general election. It was exactly four years ago when I took my oath of office at Istana Negara, putting me at the head of a nation which was steadily growing in size and economy.
Since then, I have set into motion many initiatives aimed at creating a freer and more prosperous nation. Five key areas stand out and I have written more about each one on my website.
Firstly, let me talk about 1Malaysia. At the core of our transformation was my belief in the importance of national unity irrespective of race or religious belief. I firmly believe that nobody should be left behind as we move ahead to developed nation status. It was from this belief that 1Malaysia was born, together with various initiatives that benefit the rakyat till this day. From housing and healthcare to food and education, you can find many 1Malaysia themed programmes that provide affordable and quality services for all Malaysians.
Secondly, economic progress. When I assumed office, the global economy was in a very bad way. To shield Malaysia from the storm, we had to take bold and decisive measures to buttress our economy. The Economic Transformation Programme has delivered real results in this regard, and while many countries remain mired in debt and low growth, Malaysia has raced ahead. Last year, for instance, our economy grew at an average rate of 5.6%, bringing new jobs and prosperity to the rakyat.
Thirdly, let me say a few words on political transformation. Since 2009, I have answered the rakyat’s calls for greater freedoms through a package of political reforms that represent the greatest increase in civil liberties since Independence. These include repealing the Internal Security Act, allowing greater student participation in politics, liberalising media laws and introducing the Peaceful Assembly Act. I also look forward to repealing the Sedition Act and replacing it with legislation more suited to our times.
Fourthly, global leadership. It is important that Malaysia maintains strong ties with its allies and neighbours and acts as a positive influence in the world. In this regard, we have worked hard and in good faith to help encourage lasting peace in troubled parts of our region. And through the Global Movement of the Moderates, we have also tried to bridge the differences between East and West and show Islam in its true light, as a religion of peace. The Global Movement of the Moderates has been praised by leaders across the world, including President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Lastly, let me touch on our engagement with the people. We have opened new, online channels to facilitate easier communication with the Government. Through Facebook and Twitter, I have enjoyed sharing information as well as listening to what the rakyat has to say. The era of “government knows best” is truly over.
We have accomplished a lot, but there is still so much left to do. And so I need your support. If you have any friends, family, or colleagues who you think would like to read about our progress so far, please direct them to this blog and website. Let us move forward together, and enjoy four more years of progress and prosperity.