Thursday, March 6, 2008


No regrets voting BN, says Abdullah


Malaysians who vote for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Saturday’s general election, will not regret or get disappointed. And the guarantee came from BN Chairman, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who stressed that the coalition is determined to develop all states. “For every vote you give to BN, you will not be disappointed. This is my guarantee,” he said, adding that as far as Sabah is concerned, it has the potential to further develop as the State is rich in natural resources, with ample space for development. Speaking at the gathering organised by the Federation of Chinese Associations in Sabah at Sekolah Menengah Kian Kok here yesterday, Abdullah said development plans for the state, are just pending implementation: “The five-year 9th Malaysia Plan and the newly launched 1 8-year Sabah Development Corridor will move in tandem and be carried out well to boost the State’s economic growth. “We are not in the stage of making promises like the opposition (parties). We have made the plans and set aside allocations, they are just waiting to be implemented once this is done, it would benefit a lot of people,” he said. Abdullah, who had earlier launched the Handicraft Centre in Keningau, which is part of the SDC’s program, said it was important for them to plan ahead to ensure Malaysia will be a developed country by 2020. He said one of the most important sectors would be to produce quality human capital. “Education must be given top priority. The existing people today will one day retire, and therefore we need the younger generations to take over. But first, they must be properly guided and given quality education, quality learning, quality teaching and opportunities. “By having experienced and skilled manpower, it will create the ability to perform and compete among them, and only then can we face the challenges in the competitive world,” he said. He said the Government was concerned by the fact that not many young people from the lower income groups could attend schools. Therefore to provide similar opportunities for all, the examination fees in both the primary and secondary schools were abolished, while students are entitled to free text books and uniforms, according to him. “This opportunity is given to all irrespective of the race and religion, rural or urban ... every citizen of Malaysia must have access to good education,” he said. Abdullah described himself as “lucky” for having the opportunity to lead a multi-racial coalition, stressing that they all have a similar vision of bringing Malaysia to greater heights, bringing greater security and prosperity for the people.. “We are not a coalition of convenience to face the elections. We have similar interests and are able to work closely together; we are not interested to make short-term plans but rather sustainable programs that would benefit Malaysians forever. “I have a sense of achievement when working with all the party leaders, we all work as friends and it is all for the good of the people. We want to narrow the gap of differences in terms of economic wealth thus providing a better quality of life,” he said. He said political stability had brought about better achievements, stressing that it was evident with the increased deficit. Malaysia, he added, is also not dependent on the US in terms of economy, but has instead created links with other countries including China, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. “In fact, we were the first to develop diplomatic relationship with China, we are China’s best friend in Southeast Asia,” he said. Abdullah urged the people to make the right decision to ensure sustainable development for Malaysia in general, and Sabah in particular.