“If you want different results, do things differently”
Many people have been credited for this quote, but what matters most is that this quote rings true. It applies to us at work, in relationships both professional and personal, and practically in every aspect of our lives.
Transformation. This is something I frequently mention in speeches, in conversations, and in my blog. It is how I have applied the above quote.
We are undergoing a national transformation programme encompassing the government, our economy and politically because it is the right thing to do in this time and environment. In earlier blogs I have talked about the challenges we are facing in the 21st century, such as a growing global population with longer life expectancy, climate change, and the global downturn affecting some of the largest economies in the world. The world around us is changing rapidly; we are no longer secure in our old habits and paradigms. If we remain doing things the same as we always have, while the world continues to evolve, we will be left far behind. This is why this transformation is so important. It will not just enable us to keep apace with the changes, but to move ahead towards our goal of a fully developed, high-income nation status.
While we make this transformation, it should be for the benefit of all Malaysians, not a handful. Underpinning this transformation is the promise I first made to you, the Rakyat, in April 2009. This promise has developed a ubiquitous quality, and everyone from the fishing villages of Sabah to the urban streets of Kuala Lumpur knows it. People First, Performance Now. I am reminded daily by people like yourselves, to carry out my duties and fulfill this promise. People First, Performance Now.
The tabling of the Budget is part of this promise, and earlier this month, I hope another large part has been fulfilled. It is not a final solution, as I have stated before, but it fuels us further on our Transformation journey, and embodies the principle of People First, Performance Now.
I appreciate the positive reactions of the Rakyat to the 2012 Budget, whether addressed to me directly on my blog, Facebook, Twitter (even face-to-face!), or in other publications and websites. I am also aware of the skepticism expressed by some of you in the same fashion. I assure you, the Government and the Rakyat want the same thing: to be able to enjoy strong and continuous economic growth in harmony.
During these challenging economic times, more and more of you are calling out to the Government to put money into your pockets. This Budget does so, by these measures, to name a few:
- A one-off payment of RM500 for all Malaysian households with a monthly income of RM3,000 or below;
- New funding for the 1Malaysia KAR1SMA anti-poverty programme, with assistance to poor senior citizens for RM300 a month and RM100 a month to poor children as well as help disabled Malaysians. Almost 500,000 will benefit from KAR1SMA alone;
- Long overdue assistance to those men, women and their widows, who fought for our freedom and democracy against the terrorists in the Emergency, with a one-off payment of RM3,000.
- A huge boost to public and private housing development making home ownership in reach of more Malaysians than ever before;
- Abolishment of annual fees for primary and secondary students, making primary and secondary school education free; and
- A RM200 book voucher for all Malaysians in Form 6 and in higher education nationwide;
While we provide this financial support, it would be irresponsible for the Government not to equip you with the necessary skills and tools to be financially independent and secure. We all cannot move forward if you survive only on the fish we give. You need the ability and skills to fish for yourselves. When you are skilled and able, we will successfully transform. Hence, the following measures were also proposed in the Budget, among others:
- Programmes to encourage innovation among youth and residents in rural areas, such as Jejak Inovasi and C1PTA;
- Training programmes for eligible retired army personnel without pension to enter into business and assistance with job placements;
- Micro-lending facilities through Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) in particular to encourage more women to enter into business;
- Funds to encourage innovation among Small Medium Enterprises and to assist the revitalisation of their business;
- Introducing MyCreative Venture Capital to provide funding for new and innovative business ideas from youths;
- Skills training programmes including Strategic Action Youth 1Malaysia (SAY 1Malaysia) for youths who have not continued their studies;
While the Government embarks on implementing this Budget, I ask for your support and active participation so that we can start doing things differently, and achieve a different and far better outcome for this generation of Malaysia, and for generations to come.