The burden of decision-making lies with all of us. Everyday we are met with thousands of choices, from which we must decide upon the best and right ones. Some decisions we make in a split second, and without another thought. Which route to take to the office, for example, or in what order to dress ourselves.
Then there are the larger decisions, such as the right university for our children, or the purchase of a new family car. These decisions take time, and careful consideration because they impact not only us, but more importantly, others around us. In such critical moments, I hope most of us will be willing to make personal sacrifices for the greater good.
When you think about it, such decisions about school and cars seem trivial in comparison to the decisions of the men and women who defend their nation, justice and liberty at the risk of their own lives. These are people who make the ultimate sacrifice; their commitment to a noble cause that is valued above their individual lives. This was a constant reminder when I served as Minister of Defence.
Now, this may appear boastful, but I assure you it is no more than the truth: For the past two and a half years in office as Prime Minister, I have dedicated myself to do what is best and right for the Rakyat. Regardless of what has been said of me, my family, or my administration by some irresponsible parties, I have sought to ensure that every decision I make in office is the absolute right one. The oath I took in April 2009, I continue to take very seriously.
I believe that the oath affects me not just as Prime Minister, but also as Chairman of Barisan Nasional, President of UMNO, and most of all, as a man proud to be Malaysian.
We have made great progress in the last two and a half years, with Transformation Programmes and policies that target short-term and long-term gains for the country. We have some ways yet to go on this journey and, like any other journey, it is not without its challenges and tribulations. I reflected upon this quite a bit during the recent Maal Hijrah celebrations. Bigger challenges are likely to come as we close in on our goals; it is my greatest hope that we can prepare ourselves well for such things.
It is also my great fear that we could fall short of our journey’s triumphant end because of weaknesses within our ranks, whether due to ineptitude, apathy, or the selfish placement of personal interests before the larger cause. I do not wish to see the sacrifices and good work of so many be rendered pointless because of the thoughtless acts of a few. Neither do I wish to see people pointing fingers at each other with accusations and judgment. I find that too often, we lose sight of the collective purpose and regress into petty mud-slinging when finger-pointing happens. And all too often, when it happens, the larger community loses.
If we are to be a well-developed high income nation with a first world mentality, I believe we must each look into ourselves and ask if we have the desire and the will to make the necessary sacrifices for the greater good. Even in Islam, the practice of muhasabah or self-inventory is urged upon Muslims. All other religions encourage their faithful to be self-aware and perform honest self-assessments from time to time. It is with this self-awareness that I hope comes the ability to make decisions that will be the best and right ones not just for ourselves, but for the future of Malaysia.