KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Bernama) — Umno delegates must put the interest of the rakyat and country over and above narrow political interests to achieve economic recovery, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said this was because political stability and a nation strongly united were preconditions to economic recovery.
“We cannot avoid feeling some of the effects of what has happened to the global economy. (But) more importantly, we cannot recover if there is no confidence from the people,” he said when opening the simultaneous general assemblies of the Umno Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings, here Tuesday night.
The Umno deputy president also urged the delegates not to be lulled into a false sense of security and divorce themselves from the stark realities that plagued the world, because Malaysia’s economy today was very different from that of 50 years ago.
Being among the top 20 trading nations in the world with trade in a year valued at more than one trillion ringgit, Malaysia was fast running out of time to tackle the economic crisis faced globally, he said.
“With all the national and global challenges that we face, we are fast running out of time. The global economic crisis that we now face is far beyond anyone’s expectations and is in fact the worst crisis since The Great Depression,” he said.
Najib also reminded the delegates of the efforts and sacrifices made by Umno in the past in eradicating poverty and raising the people’s standard of living.
He said that in the first decade of the country’s independence (1957-1970), Umno had launched a war against poverty by opening up Felda land schemes and developing the rural areas.
In the second decade after independence, when the people’s unhappiness manifested itself in the tragedy of the May 13, 1969, the Umno leadership had unveiled the New Economic Policy (NEP).
“It was the NEP that successfully created a substantial Malay middle class and became the foundation for Malaysia’s economic growth for the next three decades,” he said.
In the third decade after independence, the Umno leadership had launched the industrialisation initiative and a wide-scale infrastructure development programme following the collapse of commodity prices.
In the fourth decade of nationhood from 1991 to 2000, the Umno leadership had unveiled the Vision 2020 as a basis to catapult the nation into the era of information technology and globalisation.
Najib said that during the financial crisis of 1997 and 1998, Umno had not only saved Malaysia from spiralling into the quagmire of the Asian economic crisis, but had also found its way out of the crisis using its own formula.
“Ironically, the way we dealt with the crisis back then is today a template that is being followed by the very same countries that had roundly condemned our approach,” he added.
Source : Bernama