I want to share with you my vision for Malaysia. It is a vision of a confident nation: one that celebrates its differences, and draws strength from its diversity; where economic growth brings more profitable businesses, more employment, and better lives; where political reform brings greater security and freedom; and where national unity brings stability and prosperity.
Our track record shows that we are a government that delivers and keeps its promises. I want us to be proud of what we have achieved, and ignore those who try and talk Malaysia down. There is still much work to be done. But our country has made great progress over the past four years and we should be proud of that. We expect to become a high-income nation by 2018 – two years ahead of schedule – which is a remarkable achievement.
Of course, a rise in GDP alone is not complete development. Economic success alone is not enough. It is also the society in which we live that matters. For example, Malaysians must be able to determine their own success, irrespective of race or religion. They should feel safe in their communities, and have clean water in their homes and good roads to drive on.
In just four years we have taken tremendous strides on all these fronts. 84% of government contracts have been subjected to anti-corruption screening. Crime has fallen by nearly 10%. Over 3,500km of new roads have been built, and 200,000 homes have been connected to clean water. More than 5 million people have been helped with the cost of living, with 1Malaysia Stores and Clinics across the country. We have established universal free primary education, and introduced the minimum wage. And we have dismantled outdated laws, repealing the emergency proclamations, reforming the publishing regulations and replacing the Internal Security Act.
This is real change. But our national transformation is still only a story half told. With a strong mandate at this election, we can finish the job. This election is not about the past, it is about the future. It is about the country we want to be. The choice before you is between competing pictures of our future. One is pessimistic and divided, the other clear and optimistic. One is unprepared and full of uncosted and empty promises, the other methodical and fully tested.
I am confident in my government’s record, and our the manifesto we will release. I look forward to an open and constructive debate, for I believe we have a better plan for the future. And I look forward to making our case to the people, in each state, and every corner of our nation. I believe in our potential to come together and create a new and stronger Malaysia. The past few years have taught me many things: about how the relationship between government and people is changing; about the energy of our youth; and about the importance of standing united as a country, as 1Malaysia, if we are to prevail.
It is in this spirit of learning and humility that I ask for your support as we seek to build a better nation. Like my father before me, I have dedicated my life to this great country and its people. If called, it would be my honour to serve you once more in realising this shared ambition.
This is an important moment for our democracy. Whether you are voting for the first time or the tenth, the moment has come for each of you to decide our nation’s future. I ask that you choose the brighter path. Malaysia has been built in just one lifetime. But the ties that bind us stretch back generations. Let us use them to build a stronger, more prosperous nation: a new future for Malaysia.
This morning, I had an audience with the King and sought his consent to dissolve the lower house of Parliament. This signals the beginning of our nation’s thirteenth general election. It is an election that Barisan Nasional intends to win.
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