Misplaced Nostalgia, False Hopes, Real Transformation

"Recently, Malaysians have been flooded with misplaced nostalgia."

1. All praise be to Allah The Almighty, that with His willingness we once again gather at the biggest annual assembly of this noble party of the Malay people. This is a big responsibility for all of us who represent the voice of the grassroots all over the country, as heirs to the struggle that fought colonisers, bringing independence to the nation and progress to our people.

2. While we’re seated in this beautiful hall, let us not forget about those who are caught in the floods. Those who are taking shelter in the flood relief centers, waiting for the waters to subside. To Allah we pray that all will be safe and sound, and that they will find strength and patience.

Delegates,

3. We’re not the first, nor are we the last. On this platform, a noble struggle was born, initiated by our earliest warriors and carried on from generation to generation. And at this moment, this noble struggle is ours to carry.

4. What I mean is—we are the continuation of a noble struggle—a struggle to unite our people. This is not a struggle that hopes to sow the seeds of hatred towards anyone, but a noble one, that was born in a palace, and not on the streets. A struggle that catalyzed unity among Malays, that planted an ambition among them, a struggle to defend their rights and sovereignty. A struggle built upon genuine hope to lift the dignity of the people, not a struggle based on hate and revenge, with power being the ultimate aim.

5. Last year, on this very stage, we pledged our wing’s allegiance to the leadership to face the battle that is soon upon us. We chanted our war cries, our voices representing more than 600,000 warriors of the party. A year passed, but the drums of war have yet to be beaten. This should not make us complacent or careless. This is unequivocally the final general assembly before the 14th General Election.

6. With that in mind, let us focus on one thing. The Malaysian people are at a crossroads—Remain or Change. A simple mark on a piece of paper that could determine their future, and those of their children and grandchildren. Compared to past elections, making that decision is difficult because the political landscape has changed immensely. There are many on the fence, observing and calculating, only to make their decision right at the end.

7. In Pakatan, a party that is still very much flawed, has had a change in appearance. Their parties have changed. Their leadership is bigger than before, with many betraying us for power on the other side. They peddle nostalgia, the Mahathir-Anwar alliance—an alliance past its prime, rebranded as one for the future. They peddle hope, with budgets and track records in states they hold power, apparently anchored by young talents more impressive than us.

8. All praise to Allah, UMNO has regained its strength after all the drama of defection and power struggles. Our leadership is united and our hearts are one. Our struggle does not make empty promises but is underpinned by the transformation we’re undertaking for Malaysia.

9. Therefore, the big question is why should the people vote for Barisan Nasional? Why should the ‘weighing scales’ be the only ones marked at the ballot box? That the misplaced nostalgia and false hopes brought by them have no equivalence to the real transformation we bring.

10. At this last assembly before we head for battle, let us instill confidence in the people that UMNO is the only choice, concerned for the people, capable of running the country—UMNO is what is best to lead and steer Malaysia to face anything that comes its way.

Delegates,

11. The first thing we have to discuss is the question of nostalgia. Recently, Malaysians have been flooded with misplaced nostalgia. There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing. Some reminisce about their school days, the joy of being young, undisturbed by worries. Some reminisce about old flames. Love at first sight. Or the days when we were still physically active, fit and strong.

12. The danger is that when we are fed misplaced nostalgia, it is distorted beyond reason, far from reality—daydreams that have no resemblance to the truth. Our first loves might not have been all that great, but the misplaced nostalgia we’ve been feeding ourselves is as if we dated Miss Universe.

13. I understand as human beings, we like to be lulled by nostalgia. However, for something as big and serious as this, look into each of these nostalgias thoroughly—are they myths or reality. As George Santayana, the Spanish philosopher once said—“Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Cicero from the Roman civilization once said—“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.”

14. This misplaced nostalgia is dangerous, my friends. In a political context it could bring disaster. It could bring us away from reality. A mirage that clouds the eyes. That the past is better than today. That the 80s and 90s were perfect. What is weird is that youths born around that time say the same thing. As though they lived through it too.

15. Just look at social media. When we destroy their arguments, expose their slanders, there are youths who defend Pakatan by saying “Now Pakatan has Tun M. When he was in power, things were great”. That’s what I mean by misplaced nostalgia. As though in his time development was all-encompassing, with the building of KLCC, Sepang International Circuit and KLIA. As though the people’s welfare was put first, the economy was fair, there was no GST, and cronyism wasn’t rampant. As though in his time the Government was just, the people had power, there was no dictatorship and everything was transparent. As though everything good today was built by him, and everything bad is our fault.

16. I’m not saying that everything that happened in his time was not good. 22 years is a long time. It’s impossible that nothing good happened in that period. And we won’t argue about the good things that were accomplished. We commend them. What I cannot accept is the myth accepted by some of us today—that in his time everything was perfect but now things are terrible. That is a myth I cannot accept.

17. As the economist Bryan Caplan put in his book ‘The Myth of the Rational Voter’, human beings are biased, especially pessimistically biased. People are pessimistic towards their conditions today and miss the ‘good old days’, which might not necessarily be as good as they are now. This misplaced nostalgia has to be fought because it gives the wrong impression that things were better back then than they are now.

18. That’s why the old records have to be reviewed. There are those who’ve asked why we’re reopening stories from the past. My answer is simple, the past has to be studied and understood so that simplistic conclusions aren’t made by young voters. So young voters don’t make illogical deductions that—apparently the old days were better than now—because it was Tun Mahathir’s era then and Dato’ Sri Najib’s now, therefore Tun Mahathir is better than Dato’ Sri Najib, therefore we’ll vote for Tun Mahathir’s party. We should dissect illogical reasoning of this nature, and then destroy it.

19. More than that, we have to study implications of decisions made then because the legacy of some of those decisions burden us now. Maybe we did not realise it then. But it is very apparent today.

20. When we talk about development, we cannot dismiss the speed of development brought by the old leaders. Unfortunately, young people of today are imbued with misplaced nostalgia to the point that they believe that our country was better then than it is now. They might be too young to remember how unequal development was in those days. It is true that the towering Petronas skyscrapers are his legacy, as well as the Sepang International Circuit and Putrajaya. But don’t forget, most of the development focus was only in the Klang Valley.

21. What about other areas? Areas from which the majority of you in this hall are from? In his time, we did not see projects like the economic corridors in Iskandar, in the North, East Coast, Sabah and Sarawak. The Vision Valley in Negeri Sembilan. In that time, was the Pan Borneo Highway under construction that connects Sematan at the end of Sarawak and Tawau at the end of Sabah that does not impose toll? What’s the biggest development in the East Coast? What definitely happened and I will never forget, was that the East Coast Highway in Terengganu was cancelled once Barisan Nasional lost there in 1999!

22. Let us not allow ourselves to be misled by misplaced nostalgia at the sight of the majestic Twin Towers, believing that Malaysia was more prosperous then. The real meaning of national development isn’t solely the building of a KLCC or a Putrajaya. In that time, the only state with a poverty rate less than one percent was Kuala Lumpur—the rest was far higher. His own state had a rate exceeding ten percent. We can’t be so narrow-minded to think that because there was KLCC, Putrajaya, Sepang International Circuit, that the rest of the people from Perlis to Johor and Perak to Sabah were equally prosperous?

23. But today that inequality is being corrected. It’s not just the Pan Borneo Highway, but projects like the ERCL that will bring progress to areas in the East Coast. Tok Bali, Jelawat, Kampung Raja, Kemasik, Maran and Mentakab—economies in those areas are being spurred on. This is what equal development and progress looks like. This isn’t misplaced nostalgia. This is a reality brought forth by the current Prime Minister. 24. That also includes the rapid development we will see in the South with the HSR project. Don’t think that it’s just KL and Singapore that will be connected. Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor will also see development spillovers from the highspeed train. Bangi, Seremban, Bandar Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri—all will be developed. This is not the era of Mahathir Mohamad. This is the era of Najib Razak!

25. We’ve only just touched upon unequal development. We have not discussed the lopsided agreements that burden us to this day. We do not question his efforts in developing basic infrastructure, which include highways and electricity generation. If we had to wait for the Government to fund it, we might not have been able to develop it quickly. That’s why the national privatization policy was started. This policy is not wrong. The private sector is invited to build and operate basic infrastructure by receiving a concession contract for a number of years. The consumer pays for what they consume as a toll or electric bill. Simple.

26. However, the Government has to make sure that the concession agreements are fair and not favouring a particular side. That’s the point of a government—it exists to take care of the people, not a small group of rich businessmen. But that was what happened in his time. Anwar as Minister of Finance facilitated this. After this process of privatization happened, these companies received a windfall.

27. Why do I say windfall? Because those who lost were the people, those who profited were the businessman because these agreements favoured them with the approval of this duo. Why was TNB forced to pay IPP power generators for power that wasn’t used? Because these agreements favoured the businessman.

Why is it that highway tolls can be increased without terms every three years? Because these agreements favoured the businessman. And we still have to bear these lopsided agreements that we’re still trying to solve until today. This is what is meant by a legacy that burdens the people.

28. These lopsided agreements were one thing—not only that, when these big companies were almost bankrupt, the people’s money were used to help them. I believe we’re all familiar with the phrase ‘bail-out’ that was once commonplace. When the Asian financial crisis hit, these companies were saved by the Government. It costed billions of ringgit, using our money, the people’s money. When Mirzan’s Konsortium Perkapalan Berhad was hit by crisis, Petronas via MISC saved it. Whose RM1.7 billion was that? Our money, the people’s money.

29. This is another misplaced nostalgia I can’t stand. As though everything was perfect in their time—in our time a small issue is made out to be a tragedy. Let us not be Malays who are quick to forget, that we forget mega failures. Did we forget that Bank Negara lost more than RM30 billion in foreign exchange losses? Did we forget that Perwaja Steel lost RM10 billion? Did we forget that PKFZ lost RM4.6 billion? That isn’t even including BioTech Valley, apparently set up to attract investments and investors, but what happened—a RM1 billion of proposed investments didn’t materialise. That doesn’t even include e-Village—apparently we wanted to build an Asian Hollywood Studio, but after spending more than RM2 billion, there is nothing to be seen there. One more—InventQjaya—apparently we wanted to build a research and patent institute—we’ve no idea where that went, and the cost of RM242 million is on us, the people. We have not even gone to the RM1.5 billion loss caused by Maminco in the steel trade, where KWSP monies was used to bail out. Our losses in buying back MAS shares at double the market value, the takeover of LRT Putra and Star’s debts, and dipping into public coffers to raise the share price of Time Dot Com when they were RM5 billion in debt. There are many stories of this nature.

30. Let us not allow ourselves to be confused by this misplaced nostalgia that he was a mighty leader. Then and now—two different times. Malaysia in that time was one of a few countries that practiced an open economy policy—foreign investment flowed in, catalyzing fast economic development. Today, countries like India, China and Vietnam which in those days practiced a closed economy, are now open, giving more options to investors, giving stiff competition to Malaysia. We’re not giving excuses but realities have to be explained.

31. Accordingly, when things were easier then, we should have strived to make longterm returns on every ringgit of investment we received. Don’t just think about output and for buildings to be built quickly. This wasn’t the case. As an example, when we built KLCC, Hazama Corporation from Japan built Tower 1, and Samsung Engineering from Korea built Tower 2. The architect was from Argentina. The foreign labour was imported from Bangladesh and Indonesia. There was no systematic effort to upskill local human capital for the investments we received.

32. That’s different from the Government of today. We don’t just think about when buildings are ready and work is done. We think about the future—how each Ringgit of investment can give us the optimum effect. In constructing the ECRL, it is true that it involves was investment from China and foreign labour. However, an industrial training programme was made ready for more than three thousand local graduates so that they equip themselves with new skills. When the MRT was built, we developed the Tunnel Training Academy in 2011 to train young Malaysians in that field. Our goal is so that young Malaysians are the ones who build the MRT2, MRT3, ECRL and others. It is also compulsory for big companies who get government contracts to train young graduates via Skim Latihan 1Malaysia or SL1M. We want GLCs to also play a role in developing the next generation, and to strengthen the bumiputera agenda. This is Najib Razak’s legacy!

33. He’s very proud of his five General Election victories, each of them with a twothirds majority. Another misplaced nostalgia is being peddled—as though this was proof he was a popular leader, one better than we have now because a twothirds majority is hard to obtain. Those who fall to this misplaced nostalgia forget that the political environment is very different today from how it was. The mainstream media was completely controlled. There was barely any alternative media. All the spin and stories were specified by him—those who did not follow this were sent to jail. If there was the internet, blogs and social media in his time, I’d like to see if he would still have won a two-thirds majority.

34. Some may ask, why were we quiet then? Why did we not speak out? It’s simple, there was never any freedom of speech before, be it outside or inside the party. Papers that were critical were shut down. Political critics were silenced and put in jail under Ops Lalang. To silence his opponents, the Memali tragedy occured, ostensibly on the grounds of national security. Courts were controlled to the point that a Chief Justice was removed without strong basis. Basic legal rights denied—the ISA used as a weapon—to detain individuals considered political threats without trial. Do not forget, his own Deputy Prime Minister suffered a black eye when he was punched. The current Deputy Prime Minister was held under the ISA too. AUKU became a barrier that prevented undergraduates from speaking out. Within the party, the government, the nation, there existed a culture of fear. Iron Fist. Yet now he speaks as though he was pure and we are cruel dictators.

35. Be an intelligent and mature race. One that looks beyond what they see and hear, one that uses their head, one that judges analytically. Stand with facts, don’t fly off the handle when triggered, do not rebuke when rebutted. Be a race that understands history. That researches before believing, that studies before responding. Belief that is built upon comprehensive knowledge, not shaped by misplaced nostalgia. It is not wrong to place a leader on a pedestal, but do so with comprehensive and objective analysis, not feelings, myths and fairytales. Move forward with a focus on reality, do not allow yourself to be controlled by misplaced nostalgia and emotion, because our journey is far from over.

Delegates,

36. I think that settles the argument of the myths and innocence of that former leader. But our fight is not only to conquer nostalgia. They are also aware that the rakyat want to know what policies will be put in place in the days to come. Here I want to remind young voters that although misplaced nostalgia is dangerous, but what is more dangerous is false hope.

37. If we listen to the deceit of the Opposition, we would believe that we’re capable of becoming Superman. We could fly, move buildings, we could do anything. But the world is not like that. It is easy to make promises—the moon, stars and the sun. Anyone can make promises. But rational and intelligent voters must ask, can these promises be kept?

38. For example, no one enjoys paying taxes. We ourselves can admit, we don’t like paying taxes. Like it or not, we pay them. Why? Because taxes are the way to fund development, channeled to where it’s most needed, and invested for the future. When SST was abolished, GST was introduced—many disapproved. But last year, GST collection amounted to more than RM41 billion.

39. The RM41 billion is not going to line anyone’s pockets, as some young people are intimating. This money is being used to make roads, build highways, fund tertiary education, upgrade schools, pay for hospital operations and government clinics, all sorts of things. Especially at a time when government income from oil and gas is severely reduced—not because we are purposely selling it at low prices. But because global crude oil prices are have steadily declined. I ask, is the opposition more intelligent than other countries that implement GST? United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and 170 other countries all implement GST. In all these countries, there has never been an eradication of GST even in the event of a change in government. Datuk Ahmad Maslan has been explaining that to the whole country to the point of frothing at his mouth.

40. But if you wish to be swept away by the false hope given by the Opposition, they claim they will abolish GST. Where will they then find RM41 billion to fund national development? Some call for the return of SST, which was proven to be inefficient, proven to be easily avoided by unscrupulous business people. Some claim that the same amount can be recovered from the eradication of corruption.

41. Are there really no leakages or corruption in the Opposition? What of the case of the Penang Chief Minister’s bungalow? The Disneyland house in Ampang, the 3rd Klang Bridge which cost RM41 million more than originally estimated, the case of selling sand permits, local councils purchasing goods at double the market value, open tenders turning into direct negotiations, consultancy fees for highways and tunnels reaching RM305 million—are those all not leakages? How do they intend to save RM20 billion a year when they are unable to prevent leakages at the state level?

42. Lest we forget, the false hope they bring is not only focused on the abolishment of GST, but that and much more. Abolish tolls, write off PTPTN, they want everything to be free. In a developed nation, they would be already cast aside. Voters in developed nations are constantly questioning their political parties, on where the funds for these promises come from? Because with promises so sweet they’ll give you diabetes, there are only two possible outcomes. First, that we have to increase all sorts of taxes like Scandinavian countries who tax citizens upwards of 50%. Or second, a bankrupt nation, one that cannot pay its debts.

43. A bankrupt nation is not something we can easily dismiss, my fellow delegates. It is a tragedy of epic proportions that must be avoided at all costs. The country will be in shambles, borrowing will become difficult, attracting investors impossible, and fear will flood the streets. That is what a failed state is.

44. Another example of the opposition’s promises is to help PTPTN debtors. Prior to this they spoke about abolishing all PTPTN debts. They’re smarter now. They’ve shifted the goalposts by saying they’ll delay payments. Debtors only need start repayment once their salary reaches RM4,000.

45. The issue is, if this suggestion comes to fruition without a plan to boost the economy and create high income jobs, many graduates will take a very long time to reach the RM4,000 threshold. The result is that funding in PTPTN will dry up. If it dries up, what will future generations use to go to university? It is clear the opposition does not care for tomorrow, as long as they get votes, and they get power, today.

46. Now is where some of you might ask; what is BN’s solution? At least the Opposition is giving a glimmer of hope, and maybe false hope is better than no hope at all. Let us not be ignorant, and highly critical, slow to think but quick to assume. The issue of PTPTN has been hard-fought by UMNO Youth for years now. As early as April 2012, it was UMNO Youth that organised dialogues about PTPTN. In September that same year, the Government made the first announcement to lighten the load on PTPTN debtors. Since then, year after year, this assistance has increased. Those who have been paying consistently, that practice repayments with salary deductions, receive discounts. Those who can pay in full receive even bigger discounts—this year a discount of 15%, next year 20%. All of this is the result of us championing this issue, and a considerate government.

47. Even with that, BN’s strategy is long term, for a stable future. This is the best way. That is why we focus on investment, focus on high income job creation, focus on TVET, entrepreneurs and quality universities, focus on a modern education system. This is the pattern of development all over the world—economic expansion and investing in human capital. When the economy expands, and job opportunities increase, so will income. With that, paying off PTPTN will be easier. That is holistic development. But the Opposition has told the youth not to pay back PTPTN. That is what they teach!

48. Not only that. The Opposition has promised to eradicate all tolls. To take back all concessions. The Government has calculated, the takeover cost of all toll concessions would amount to RM400 billion. I would like to know—how do we take over all these concessions? What do we pay with? The Government’s budget every year is around RM200 billion. So which tree do we pluck this money from? A concession is an agreement. If the Government itself can’t hold up their end of the bargain, would investors still keep faith in us? If not, where would we get income for future development?

49. Do not think UMNO does not care about the people. The Government understands what plagues the people. In this assembly, the issue of the cost of living is an issue that we raise every year. The Government does not lack sympathy. We just do not want to become an irresponsible government—to promise the moon and the stars to the point that we jeopardise our future. We do what we can, when we can. For example in the 2018 Budget, we announced the abolishment of four tolls. In the north we will abolish the Bukit Kayu Hitam toll, in Selangor two tolls; Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau, in Johor the EDL Toll. This is a responsible government, not political populists. We help the rakyat without making promises which could bankrupt us.

50. Similarly with the issue of transportation. Notice the difference between BN’s vision and the shallowness of the opposition. Their solution—reduce the price of cars. Their idea is a tempting one, with the ability to capture votes. But then what will happen to the problem of traffic? What about environmental pollution? Is this their long-term solution?

51. I could understand if that was their solution 20 years ago. But it’s 2017—countries everywhere are shifting focus to developing public transportation systems. Young people now are concerned about pollution from too many cars. With a public transport system that functions well and holistically, the people will be able to move cheaply and comfortably—the environment will also be preserved. That is our solution. Under the leadership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, LRT 3 is planned, MRT is planned, MRT 2 is planned, MRT 3 is planned, BRT is planned, KTM and LRT vastly improved. Bus networks in other states have been upgraded. Their solution is obviously short sighted, purely for the purpose of gaining power while ignoring everything else. This Government chooses to have one eye on the present and one on the future.

52. Their hunger for power can so clearly be seen in the administration of their states. Cock of the walk. Supposedly better than other state governments—Lim Guan Eng in 2013 stated—give me a term and I will solve Pahang’s flood issues. And recently, an old video of him making fun of the Kelantan flood situation resurfaced.

53. This is false hope. They are supposedly more conscientious, more caring of the people than they are of developers. But witness their eagerness and greed to approve development projects in Tanjung Bungah, Penang. In 2016, eight projects, in 2015 eight projects, from 2008 to 2014, 24 development projects approved. Here I ask—who do these widespread, unrestrained projects benefit—the general public or the crony developer? In their hustle to increase their state coffers, they rub shoulders with developers, but who suffers at the end? The people suffer. Next time, do not be arrogant in criticizing others. Always minding the business of others yet foregoing their own.

54. Like Selangor. An enthralling story, ultimately one of false hope. They apparently want to abolish tolls, but the Pakatan Harapan Palsu (the False Hope Pact) government approved DASH & SUKE to be constructed. What’s more, six additional highways have been planned for up to 2035. PKNS holds 30% of KESAS shares, Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Group owns 20% of SPRINT, both state owned enterprises but KESAS and SPRINT still collect tolls. How can the Opposition propagate abolishing tolls when their state governments are not only approving the development of more tolled highways but also remain shareholders in concessionaires?

55. The final example—the mother of all falsehoods, typical Pakatan Harapan Palsu (False Hope Pact). During Budget 2018, when the PM announced a bonus of RM1,500 to all civil servants, the Opposition mocked us, saying it was such a small amount. During Selangor’s budget announcement, they announced—Selangor was to give three months’ bonus. But as all the other Pakatan sweet nothings, when we listen really carefully, when we look closer at the fine print, this is the face. That money had already been paid earlier this year.

56. That’s Pakatan’s script everytime they want power—false hope. Pakatan Harapan Palsu (False Hope Pact). Every opportunity and space is used to confuse the people with sweet promises today, for votes today, for them to be in power today.

57. A wise man once said—We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. Therefore, while we face the challenges today, do not simply choose short-term solutions that allow us to put matters off, but will leave a crippling and devastating debt to be repaid by the next generation. Neither should we be the generation that only think of ourselves and our own existence today until we forget what is left for tomorrow. Don’t buy their false hope because it will destroy our children’s future.

Delegates,

58. We must reject misplaced nostalgia and false hopes. We reject it because misplaced nostalgia is regressive, with history being selectively rewritten. We reject it because these are false hopes, which stray far away from logic, designed only for political wins today, surely jeopardizing our children’s future.

59. The best government for us, as well as our children, is one which will take tomorrow as seriously as today, if not more. One that ensures the future has to be better than it is now, and not the other way around.

60. However, this does not mean that we are blind to the challenges people face today. UMNO Youth is aware—our macroeconomic successes mean little to those who face extreme challenges in their daily lives. Some are forced to be in debt just to put food on the table. Some do not have enough savings, fearing possible emergencies. Some are worried for their family and their future—as their salaries are still low and they are still finding jobs. Some are forced to sell their houses, shoulder more debt, and tighten their belts just to survive day after day.

61. UMNO Youth and the Government are concerned about this situation. We try to ease the burden of the people with all that we have. But the reality is that there is no quick fix to such economic structural challenges—the necessary interventions take time—be it raising the income of the people by setting up an education system that offers skills which are more worthwhile; creating higher-paying jobs; nurturing more small-time entrepreneurs who can provide more job opportunities; and investing in infrastructure such as public transportation, fast internet, and affordable housing in order to reduce the daily cost of living.

62. The reality is that all these problems are also legacy issues. Where the previous administration was more concerned about building gigantic monuments than they were about developing their own people. It was only after, that there was an effort to fill these gaps. Only in Pak Lah’s era, did we focus on human capital development—upskill our people, give them the opportunity to increase their incomes, empowering them in every way possible. In Najib’s era, we started comprehensive transformation—providing infrastructure, enhancing the education system, attracting investments and high-income jobs.

63. Our economic structure was simply not inclusive as the requisite pillars were not put in place before. We do not want to repeat these past mistakes—where the Government was caught up in chasing temporal wins to the extent that they did not focus on the future. Mistakes where we are proud with investments in mega projects in big cities—where the only output that was pursued, was beautiful and magnificent structures, without empowering the people in terms of skills, education and everything else needed for a comfortable future.

64. Although Malaysia did not know it at the time, the repercussions are very real today. The people are suffering now because they are not well prepared. We are now correcting this mistake, so that our children and their children will not suffer the same fate.

65. Alhamdulillah, everything that the Government is doing to improve the situation today is starting to bear fruit. Transformation we’ve put in place is starting to bear fruit—the country’s GDP is growing steadily, our revenues are not just dependent on the oil and gas sector, almost 2.5 million new jobs are created, with income per capita also increasing.

66. This is not just big superficial and superfluous numbers—the effects have trickled down to the grassroots and are felt by the people themselves. BR1M and targeted assistance, and not dedak (animal feed)—has helped more than 7 million households. More than 6 million families have enjoyed new roads, water and houses in rural areas. For those in cities, we have comprehensively upgraded public transportation for them—if what used to be only 10% of people who would regularly utilize them, it now has doubled with more routes and frequency. Crime rates have halved. If what used to be only 18% with access to LTE internet, it now has penetrated to more than 60% of the population who enjoy high speed broadband. UTC and RTC are now available to ensure government services reach the people with speed and ease.

67. Our human capital has also been strengthened. The average achievement of our children in Science and Mathematics has increased by dozens of points in international measurements. Our university rankings have also improved to 25th place, 11 places higher than it was five years ago. For those who cannot make it to university, there is now room for up to 164 thousand students to take up TVET, to fill up 900,000 skills-driven jobs by the year 2020. Not just that, from 2009 to 2016, the average income of the B40 has risen by more than 98%, and more than 79% for M40.

68. Do not lose interest when speaking of successes like this. This is our ammunition when we prove that much has been done. This is just part of it, and there are lots more to tell of. But what I have said today is enough as evidence of a real transformation—we protect today, and we build tomorrow. A comprehensive transformation—an economic and governmental transformation plan, where every single aspect and detail is not left untouched. This is the real transformation.

69. In this context, I am very grateful to the Prime Minister because as the Minister of Youth and Sports, I have been given the mandate to embark on the National Transformation 2050 or TN50—the most important initiative to prepare Malaysia for the all the challenges that lie ahead of us.

70. Beginning at Universiti Malaya on 19 January, we have implored young people to think 33 years ahead, to the year 2050—into an era that is certainly very different. This is not a political gimmick. We diligently examined all the trends that will impact Malaysians in the future. What is our response when robots and technology are abundant, threatening to take over our jobs? What is our response when our society ages—when Malaysia becomes an Ageing Nation in 2035 with implications on our healthcare and retirement systems? What is our response when our virtual sovereign border is under threat from cyber and digital attacks? What is our response with the eventual disruption that comes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

71. Do you see the Opposition talking about preparing for these challenges ahead? They do not discuss Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, an Ageing Population, about preserving the environment, food security, energy, and so on. While they are busy criticising our work, peddling false hopes, what do we do? We prepare the people for the future, because failing to plan is planning to fail.

72. This is the TN50 that the President envisions. With his mandate, we went to the ground to meet young people from all over the country, listened to their voices and aspirations. We have engaged close to two million youths, and collected more than 60,000 aspirations. What is the purpose of our leaders going to the ground every week? To ensure fellow Malaysians are well prepared for the future. TN50 is about securing a better future for Malaysia.

73. Ibnu Khaldun once said: “He who finds a new path is a pathfinder, and he who walks far ahead of his contemporaries is a leader, even though centuries pass before he is recognised as such.” Meaning, whoever dares to explore new paths, who dares to be ahead of their time, is a real leader, even though the truth will only be evident later.

74. Believe this, dear delegates, what we are doing with TN50 is something that we must do. Looking ahead and building a better future is our responsibility as leaders. Though we may not live to enjoy the benefits, but believe me, our children and grandchildren will appreciate this service and vision—the service and vision of UMNO, the service and vision of the Barisan Nasional Government.

Delegates,

75. Speaking of a better future for Malaysians, UMNO Youth wants to raise a big and serious area of concern. Our desire to see transformation that doesn’t just benefit the majority, but one that ensures that no youths get left behind.

76. With this platform, UMNO Youth gives our full support to the new social agenda announced by the President in his 2018 Budget speech, kickstarted with the setting up of the Socio Economic Research Institute or SERI. This is proof that all economic, political and physical transformation will be balanced with social transformation—a transformation which will look at the importance of moral values and individual well-being of every young person in the future.

77. I am not just speaking as an UMNO Youth chief, nor as a Minister of Youth, but also as a father. We truly need the new Social Agenda more than ever. Various social ills and issues grip our society, especially young Malays today—more than 14 cases of assault and bullying each day, more than 70 cases of truancy each day, more than 84 drug cases each day, more than 131 cases of babies born out of wedlock each day and more than 184 cases of divorce each day. The numbers which I mentioned are also just what that was reported—only Allah will know what the true numbers really are.

78. Heading into TN50, society and the youth will come head to head with very different challenges to what we face today. They don’t just face the usual kinds of social ills, but also sedentary lifestyles, mental health issues, screen addiction and a culture of wanton insults and criticism like cyber bullying. Family values at home aren’t also what it used to be—parents on their phones replying Facebook and Whatsapp messages 24 hours a day while their children get lost in the virtual world without any real interaction.

79. Without any emphasis on the social agenda, the fabric of society will become worse with time, drifting apart because of technology and modernization. And at the end, our young will be adrift in their own world, left out from the wave of transformation—and never fulfill their true potential.

80. As UMNO Youth chief, I cannot in good conscience see Malaysia stepping into the year 2050 without bringing each and every one of her youths. Therefore UMNO Youth will give the fullest support and cooperation to SERI to study these social issues. The Government Transformation is excellent, the economic transformation is on track and the political transformation is unmatched. Let’s complete this with a new social transformation so that not even one of our young gets left behind.

Delegates,

81. A responsible government is one that corrects past mistakes, manages current priorities and challenges as well as one that plans closely for the future. This is the core of real transformation.

82. Surah Al-Anfal Verse 53 says this:

83. This means: “This happened because Allah is not one to change the favour which He has bestowed upon a people until they have changed their attitude.”

84. The fruits that we enjoy today is from the labour of the real transformation put in place, and not from the peddling of sweet but false hopes. This is reality. Don’t be guided solely by our emotions, and to cast the ballot for the sake of trying something new. We would be rejecting the prosperity which we have enjoyed for so long. We would be rejecting the prosperity which we have received. God forbid we rue the day when this prosperity is taken away. Trust that this real transformation is true prosperity, and don’t change it.

85. Yet, with all the successes that we have achieved so far, I admit, that we are not faultless—that there are flaws and imperfections. Because it is human nature, that we are never far from sins and errors. And for that, I ask for your forgiveness for all of our wrongdoings and shortcomings. Yet when people look at the record in its entirety, they will realise that the pros far outweigh the cons. Please don’t let one or two shortcomings overshadow all our accomplishments thus far.

86. I know that the people are at a crossroads—to choose us, or the other side. If I may plead—when making that choice, weigh your options wholly and study it thoroughly. Observe everything. Choose with fairness and wisdom. Do so on balance. Weigh the good, and weigh the bad—only then, choose what is best for us and our grandchildren.

Delegates,

87. I have been speaking for more than an hour now on the general elections and the choice we face today. What is clear is that the best and tested choice is the real transformation that we bring—the Real Transformation by the Barisan Nasional Government, by the Scale against the royal blue background.

88. Therefore my final message this morning is about the party’s preparedness. Our preparedness as UMNO. And I want to be quick and direct. No more waxing lyrical, only clear and direct messages for all of us before we head into the battlefield.

89. First—we have offered ourselves as the government of the future through TN50. So we also need to offer ourselves as the party of the future. We need to convince the people that UMNO is a party of the future, and not a party of the yesteryears. How do we prove that UMNO is a party of the future? We show that UMNO is fresh in its thinking, fresh in its approach and fresh in our offer to the progressive Malays as what was brought to the fore by UMNO Johor. The clearest and easiest proof which we can show—that we are fresh by the types of candidates we field.

90. Second, our solidarity with the party. Do not take lightly the challenges posed by that UMNO splinter party. Though we are certain that UMNO is stronger, UMNO is greater, do not forget that this Flower party will still dip from the same pool of supporters.

91. So we need solidarity with the party. Let there be no more cracks and fissures inside UMNO. The more fractured we are, the more supporters we will lose to them. As an example, those who are not chosen to be candidates. If those who are not chosen do not have solidarity, they will then be targets, and their supporters will be stolen by our rivals. This may seem small, but it is the little cracks like these which will crush UMNO from within.

92. So love UMNO more than you love yourselves. Never ever barter your solidarity with the party. It is UMNO that has brought us to where we are today. Do not be self-centered, that we lose ourselves to our enemies. It doesn’t matter even if we do not become candidates, as long as our party wins. Do not trade your dignity and self-worth, do not place emphasis on your personal agendas, to the extent that UMNO crumbles and falls.

93. Third, our solidarity as a party. At this very moment, our priority is the general elections, and not the party polls. What we need to think of is the general election strategy, tactics to increase our seats, ways to win the voters’ hearts. Do not be engrossed in thinking about the party elections, dwelling over which leader to cast your vote for later.

94. Let us go into the battlefield with a calm heart and a clear mind. Do not be weighed down with questions of who to support later. So we settle the question today, and let us no longer be bothered by it. With that, on this very UMNO Youth platform, we want to propose—when we do win the general elections inshaAllah, that the positions of both the President and Deputy President be uncontested, and we give our fullest support to Dato Sri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi to continue to helm this party. Throw out any uncertainties and insecurities, and now let’s focus on delivering a big victory for BN.

Delegates,

95. UMNO is a movement for the Malays, not just as an umbrella organization to serve as a big tent for all Malays, but also the party that is the heart and soul for all Malaysians under Barisan Nasional. That is the sanctity of UMNO. A vessel for Malays to not only take care of themselves but other races. The party that reflects the best of Malays as a race of leaders. The party that cannot be decoupled from the country’s history and does not want to see its struggle die—not only for Malays and Islam but the spirit of a multiracial society. The party that served as a bedrock to the Alliance Party to gain independence to this day.

96. However, UMNO now faces Malays who are at a crossroads—one that is united or one that is divided. Today, our community is divided with political options aplenty, with Malays no longer united. Does our community want to be like sea foam, spread out but linked as far as the eye can see, only to scatter with just one blow, never to come together again. Will we give up the state to a group that only seeks power? This election is important not just for the future of Malaysia but the future of our race.

97. I implore you, my race, to stand united. As what the Tuanku Sultan of Johor said last week, “Stand united, without compromise.” Do not fall into a dream-filled slumber, do not be deceived with the bait peddled by the merchants of false hope, lest our people fall behind tomorrow, filled with pointless regret. Are we willing to have a race on their knees in their own land, who inherit an UMNO which is just a footnote? The moment the Malays lose their influence because of infighting and squabbles, we lose the hope and future of our people. The moment the Malays are divided in their ballots, it will never come together again. If we let go of what we have, we will never hold it again.

98. Use all that you have and all your might to bring the Malay people back to choosing UMNO as the main party, which will then shelter the Malays and Malaysians for all eternity. Join forces together with your friends in other component parties under the Barisan Nasional banner, to bring peace and progress to Malaysians of all stripes.

99. Therefore, my brothers, rise up and fight for our religion, people and nation. This is our cry, this is our oath of allegiance as UMNO Youth. Let us march onward to the frontline of the general elections prepared, with all our might and with one heart under the command of our General, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak. Now we march, retreat is not an option. Now we battle, and never surrender. Now we fight until the very end. 100. Long live UMNO! 101. Long live UMNO! 102. Long live UMNO!

103. Wabillahi taufiq wal hidayah wassalamu alaikum wbt.

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