Now that it has been some time since my return to office, I have been able catch up on outstanding matters at work. With the year coming to a close in less than a month, I try my best to wrap up as many affairs and meetings to ensure my administration meets its goals for the year, and I, mine.
That said, I have not forgotten my promise to look into the questions submitted by many of you for the 1Malaysia Dinner Q&A session. Although the event has been postponed (I hope to fix a date for early 2011), I would like to address some of the questions you submitted. Looking at the submissions, I am delighted at the variety of questions, which you clearly sent in with much thought and deliberation.
To those of you who I have responded to below, I hope my answer sheds some light on the issues you raised. I encourage everyone to continue discussing and participating in this dialogue, whether it is on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, or on your own blogs and social networks. The more we pursue respectful and intelligent conversations with one another, the better we are at being 1Malaysia!
As a Malaysian, what can I do to make the concept of 1Malaysia a success? – Ramanathan A/L RM Chidambaram, Kedah
1Malaysia’s ultimate goal is national unity, not just across races, but across geographics locations, income gaps and other demographic means. The success of this can be measured from the attitudes of Malaysians of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds towards one another. How do we get there? By using the Federal Constitution as our principle of living as Malaysians, upholding social justice and moving beyond tolerance towards acceptance, and finally celebrating diversity as our source of strength. I have elaborated further on this through a non-exhaustive set of 1Malaysia aspirational values. I invite everyone to find out more in the 1Malaysia booklet.
In addition, the 1Malaysia way of life encourages Wasatiyyah, or the path of moderation. Making it a success is just a matter of practice. Through our daily interactions with others, we can nurture the spirit of 1Malaysia by treating each other with respect, regardless of our differences. If we individually spend more time improving how we treat others and less on worrying about how we are treated, the 1Malaysia concept would be a success.
How do we reverse the brain drain with such low pay and without opportunities to use experiences acquired overseas? – Angeline Tai Yin Yen, Melaka
My administration and I are wholly committed to increasing the number of talented workers in the domestic market. This is the rationale behind our new Talent Corporation, designed to identify shortages in key sectors and attract, motivate and retain highly-skilled workers in Malaysia.
The Talent Corporation, which will be launched on 6 December, will formulate a National Talent Blueprint and develop an expert workforce database. Using a different approach this time, we will be proactively reaching out to Malaysians working overseas in an effort to engage them and learn what it would take for them to return home. We are also able to create more business opportunities and offer remuneration that is more in line with global wages.
What are your ambitions as PM of Malaysia? – Subba Rao Jaggaram, Selangor
I wish to see all Malaysians enjoy a better quality of life in future with Malaysia’s economy on an established platform of growth. In more specific terms, this means Malaysia becoming a high-value, high-income and highly-skilled nation by 2020, with an emphasis on sustainability and inclusiveness.
In parallel with this vision is my hope to see enduring national unity in Malaysia, a continuous effort since we achieved independence 53 years ago. Without national unity there cannot be political stability, a foundation of all other things. Once our differences are celebrated as a source of strength, then I can say that my unity dream has been realised.
What are the views and vision of Dato’ Sri on the possible direction of ASEAN as an Economic & Political Union with its own currency? – Natashah Binti Md Noor, Selangor
ASEAN has come a long way since its foundation with five members in 1967. Then, it was an uphill task for leaders of Southeast Asia that regional cooperation work. Now, ASEAN is a successful regional organisation, and economic power is seen to be shifting from West to East. The West have been reiterating more recently on how important it is for them to work with ASEAN.
I believe that ASEAN will help lead in facilitating trade both within Asia and globally. It is currently consolidating along the lines of a stable, prosperous and highly competitive economic regional model, in which there is a free flow of goods, services, investment and capital. Regarding any introduction of a single currency, while we should not discount this outright, I do think that we have a considerable way to go before this is possible.
A common currency is not feasible in the foreseeable future. The key is to coordinate fiscal and monetary policies between ASEAN members by collectively coordinating and assisting each other in times of difficulty.
While the issue of single currency is not on the table at the moment, we are looking at the creation of the ASEAN community where we will focus on the three pillars – economic, political and socio-cultural. In addition to being a major economic gateway to ASEAN, Malaysia can take the lead in building this community through the assimilation of the 1Malaysia spirit.
What is your daily routine and what goes through your mind before starting your day in the office? – Noorhisham Bin Nazri, Selangor
I believe that to succeed in any endeavour, it is critical to keep that goal in mind at all times and cultivate a habit of planning, assessing and revising your strategies in relation to the goal. If we all put this into practice, we will be well on our way to developing a first-class mentality.
This guides how I prepare for a day at the office, which usually begins the night before. I would be sure to make a final run through of the day’s itinerary, which includes going through the speeches I will be delivering, making final edits and mindmaps.
At the start of the day, I would spend some time to reflect on the day’s agenda to make sure they adhere to my short-term and long-term goals. I make sure that with the speeches that I deliver, the meetings that I chair, the people that I meet and the work that I do for the day, my messages and actions are in tandem with the GTP and ETP goals and are in the best interests of the Rakyat.
Most importantly, I remind myself on a regular basis that while my staff are here to support me, and the government machinery is here to meet my targets, I am ultimately here to serve 28 million people.