Official Addresses

Prime Minister’s Message For Malaysia Day 2011

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Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Good Evening and Happy Malaysia Day.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia.

    1. Alhamdulillah with the Grace of Allah, we are able to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia as citizens of an independent, sovereign, democratic, peaceful and harmonious nation.
    2. The tale of Malaysia’s journey is indeed colourful. From its beginning as a low income agricultural nation at the time of its formation, today, as a result of systematic planning and sound implementation, we have successfully emerged as a moderately high income modern industrial nation. Moving on, although the success attained is monumental and very significant, it is not a reason for us to cease our effort, be comfortable, what more do nothing.
    3. What should be done for the sake of our survival and to enhance as well as ensure  the well being of the rakyat in this very competitive world now, is, to continuously double our efforts to improve our competitiveness as a nation through the utilisation of creativity, innovation and by striving for the creation of new wealth based on self entrepreneurship. All these objectives would not be achieved without the existence of national unity, peace, stability and harmony.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia.

    1. Looking at the pages of history, when our nation achieved independence 54 years ago until  Malaysia was formed six years later, with the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak, many then, whether foreign observers, or local inhabitants doubted and even questioned, a new nation with its States separated by the South China Sea, then threatened by communist insurgency, with its population living below the poverty level, exacerbated by the diversity factor in terms of demography which was extraordinarily complex, would this nation be able to remain strong as a  nation state as well as succeed?
    2. It is a fact, viewing Malaysia’s achievement up to now, from the first crawl to subsequent stumbles, the road to success had been full of challenges. Combing the annals of history, it is indeed miraculous that  soon after independence, that fact, and with it the additional burden of the acceptance of the system and philosophy of administration of the country based on Parliamentary Democracy, Constitutional Monarchy and Federalism, was accepted by us even before maturity of the aculturisation process.
    3. Clearly, before independence, the people of the thirteen states which united to form Malaysia neither had the opportunity to elect a government into power nor determine the type of its administration. These people merely existed as people in protected states or colonized land who were accorded limited political privilege according to the discretion of the ruler in power. Surely, this was not real political right derived from nationality in an independent and sovereign country.
    4. Factually, before independence, the first political election which was held where the people were given the opportunity, albeit a limited one, to elect their representatives was at the election of  several Municipal Councils in 1952 and subsequently the election of part of the Members of the Federal Legislative Council in 1955. In reality, only after independence were the citizens given the full right and responsibility to elect all the Members of the House of Representatives and the State Legislative Assemblies, consequently full discretion to determine the party or the coalition party which would form the government.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

    1. Without doubt, we should be thankful because from time to time, whatever obstacles that had come our way, whether  internal or external in their source, which threatened democracy and individual freedom be it communist insurgency, confrontation against the formation of Malaysia, race riots, economic downturn, religious extremism, and racial chauvinism, Alhamdulillah, each and every obstacle had been dealt with and faced within the framework of prudent action, democratically based on the principle of constitutional supremacy and the rule of law.
    2. It should be remembered that, during that period not once did it cross the government’s mind  to change the existing Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy system to an anti-democracy system, however great the challenge faced. As recorded in our nation’s history, as a result of the  13 May tragedy, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong on the advice of the then Prime Minister had proclaimed emergency pursuant to the provision of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
    3. One of the consequences of the 1969 proclamation of emergency was the suspension of  ongoing elections in Sabah and Sarawak. What happened thereafter  was that elections to the House of Representatives were only held twenty months later and the Parliamentary Democracy system was restored after peace and stability prevailed.
    4. Even though that was the case, the late Tun Abdul Razak as Deputy Prime Minister then cum Minister of  Defence who was entrusted to lead the Majlis Gerakan Negara or MAGERAN, with absolute executive and legislative powers, never desired to retain those powers longer than was necessary.
    5. It is evidently clear, the late  Tun and his colleagues then more than realized that the extraordinary unfettered powers in their hands must never be made the norm in their use for the sake of this beloved nation. On the other hand, they understood that such absolute power  was a trust  to contain and control tragedy and instability which occurred.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

    1. Rightly, as a nation which practises parliamentary democracy, the power to determine the political party which will form the government whether at the Federal or at the state level rests absolutely in the hands of the rakyat. After more than five decades of independence and almost five decades after the formation of Malaysia, we find that, the experience, maturity and wisdom of the people of this country in electing the government to determine the future direction which they desire cannot be denied by anybody.
    2. In fact, I often opine that long gone is the era in which the government knows everything and claims monopoly over wisdom. The revolution in the field of information technology, progress in communication and the sophistication in transportation have opened up competition and extensive  and dynamic comparison in the ideas market.
    3. In this contemporary time, the standards as well as peoples’ access to all levels of education have become more extensive . In addition, the  sound economic growth, reduction in poverty rate and social engineering initiative have succeeded in enhancing the standard of living and creating a big middle class. In recent times, the priority in terms of the wants and needs of the Malaysian citizens has undergone a big change compared to four or five decades ago.
    4. Going further, administering a country formed from the moment of independence out of the wishes of the people, the current government will continue to be commited to upholding the system of Parliamentary Democracy, Constitutional Monarchy, the rule of law,  the philosophy of  federalism and the check and balance principle between the three branches of government.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

    1. As many of you know, except for the proclamation of emergency of 1964 as a consequence of the confrontation which was impliedly revoked, all the proclamations of emergency subsist till today. Thus, realising that the reality in Malaysia has changed, feeling the pulse, agitation and aspiration of the rakyat who clamour for a more open and dynamic democracy, where, the opinions, ideas and concerns of the masses are given due attention, so as to be at par with other democratic systems in the world  which are underscored by the universal principle from the people, by the people and for the people,  the government now under Clause (3) of Article 150 will table a motion before both Houses of Parliament to have the three Proclamations of Emergency annulled. In my opinion the time has come for the people of  Malaysia to advance to the future with the next paradigm based on new hope and not be bound by the nolstagic constraints of past history.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

    1. In designing a civilised nation  to face extraordinary situations threatening the security of the nation and the well being of the people, unavoidably, the situation demands for special measures which sometimes are outside the democratic norms. An example is preventive detention. Indeed the astuteness in countering violence requires us to prevent the action before innocent lives and property are lost, or injury results. This is a global truth.
    2. From the Islamic law perspective, it is stipulated clearly in the  Maqasid Syariah which has as its objectives five main matters that is; firstly: religion, secondly: life, thirdly: the mind, fourthly: progeny and dignity and fifthly: property. In fact the principle of Usul Fiqah deals in a substantial way with the need to prevent a wrongdoing from occurring. Another principle stipulates that the decision of the ruler is a trust which must be implemented for the people being governed for their general benefit.
    3. This is not something strange, unusual or alien. It has been proven that developed democratic countries such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom had also enacted special legislative framework to deal with terrorist threats post the 11 September tragedy.
    4. The fact is that, the balance as well as equilibrium between national security and individual freedom  must prevail in a modern democracy. It is the duty and responsibility of a government which has as its highest objective the welfare and well being of the people to find this right balance.
    5. For example, the right to free speech guaranteed under the Federal Constitution does not in any way mean that any body is free to  defame and stoke hatred. Another simple example is this, the government is also responsible to prevent a false cry about a bomb in a stadium full of people. This is because such uncontrolled freedom will only create panic which may lead to injury and loss of lives.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

    1. Pursuant to that, as I have promised in my maiden speech after first assuming the post of Prime Minister on 3 April 2009, that the Internal Security Act 1960 ( ISA) would be reviewed comprehensively, it is now my pleasure to announce on this historic night, that the Internal Security Act 1960 ( ISA) will be repealed entirely. To prevent subversive action, organised violence and criminal acts in order to preserve public order and security, legislation will be enacted under the umbrella of Article 149 of the Federal Constitution. In essence, the legislation will have the aim of maintaining peace, well being, tranquility and order in the lives of the people and the country.
    2. Over and above everything else, the Government will always ensure that   the fundamental rights of those involved are preserved. Any law enacted will take into account  rights and fundamental liberties based on the Federal Constitution. The new law will provide for a substantially reduced period of detention by the police compared to what we have now and any further detention may only be made with the order of the court except the law in relation to violence which is still under the power of the Minister. In general, the power to further detain will be transferred from the executive to the judiciary.
    3. In addition to repealing the Internal Security Act 1960, the Government will also repeal the Banishment Act 1959 as well as review several laws to ensure that these laws fit the present needs. In relation to that, we will not hesitate to amend or repeal laws which are no longer relevant.
    4. This comprehensive review will involve the Restricted Residence Act 1933 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 where the yearly renewal principle will be abolished and in lieu thereof a licence will be issued until revoked. The Government will also review section 27 of the Police Act 1967, taking into consideration Article 10 of the Federal Constitution regarding freedom of assembly and so as to be in line with international norms on the same matter.

Ladies and gentlemen, beloved citizens of Malaysia,

  1. As a nation, Malaysia and all of her people now stand at a crossroads. The decisions we make today will determine the fate and shape Malaysia as it will be in the future, the homeland that we will pass on to our children and future generations. The question is, are we capable of surpassing and challenging the common suspicion that Malaysians with their diverse backgrounds, varying socioeconomic statuses and political understandings which are typical of human nature, can arrive at a consensus to not bow or surrender to the trappings of hate and distrust which would certainly drag us down into a valley of disgrace. Instead, let us all brave a future filled with hope and nobility together.
  2. Be confident that it is a strength and not a weakness for us to place our trust in the Malaysian people’s intelligence to make decisions that will shape the path of their own future. If we perceive it as a mistake, then what is the use of us planning our national development so meticulously since Independence, what is the use of us spending large sums of the nation’s treasury every year to provide quality educational access to all, freeing them from the clutches of poverty, and building world class physical infrastructure and information communication technology?
  3. It is absolutely clear that the steps I just announced are none other than early initiatives of an organised and graceful political transformation. It stands as a crucial and much needed complement to the initiatives of economic transformation and public presentation which the government has outlined and implemented for over two years in the effort to pioneer a a modern and progressive nation.
  4. It is neither too early nor too late, but this is the most suitable and precise time for such major estimations to be made and implemented. Though some parties opine that this is too risky, we will proceed with it for the sake of survival, as it has been fifty years since our nation achieved independence, and and nearly five decades since Malaysia was formed. Thus, we stand at the threshold of a vehicle that speeds towards its destination as a fully developed nation.
  5. In closing, I wish to emphasise that free of any suspicion and doubt, the Malaysia that we all dream of and are in the process of creating is a Malaysia that practices a functional and inclusive democracy where public peace and prosperity is preserved in accordance with the supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law and respect for basic human rights and individual rights.

For the sake of Malaysia, have faith and place our trust in God.

Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. Thank you.

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