Date of publication: Oct 27, 2013
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 002
Byline / Author: By Shahrum Sayuthi; Adrian Lai
KUALA LUMPUR: PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has vowed that the Barisan Nasional government will stay the course and continue to remain relevant in the country's changing political landscape.
He said to do so, the BN coalition must continue practising its five tenets of good governance, namely progressiveness, centrism, inclusiveness, moderation and fairness.
Najib said politics of development, which has been the mainstay of BN since its inception in 1974, could no longer be used as an "instrument" to win the hearts of voters as it held little traction, especially among the younger generation.
"(That is why) we have to change. I have started this by introducing a transformative leadership process. This transformation has started but it cannot be expected to produce results in a short period of time," he said when officiating the 42nd Gerakan Annual General Assembly here yesterday.
"We have to be confident that we are on the right track and we will continue with this journey until our aims are achieved. Therefore, BN must (continue to) be a progressive, centrist, inclusive, moderate and fair government."
He said Gerakan, despite performing poorly in the past two general elections, should not lose hope. He urged the embattled party to engage in a process of rejuvenation by appointing a dynamic new line-up of leaders.
"I trust Gerakan is still in high spirits. Don't let the two defeats weaken the party. We must believe and have courage in our own conviction that BN is the best choice for Malaysians."
Najib said the BN government could only galvanise support from the public if a greater and more efficient line of communication was established.
"Our problem is all about communication, about selling what we're doing for the people. Many of them don't understand as they don't get information about what we do. Meanwhile, we have the opposition that is clever in giving people the wrong facts. They do it all the time. For example, they claimed that 40,000 Bangladeshis were brought into the country to vote in the recent election.
"This claim was believed by so many people, especially the city dwellers. It was such a preposterous story. Why was this lie swallowed so willingly? This is a problem of communication."
Najib said this "trust deficit" must be immediately addressed by the ruling coalition by comparing its track record with that of the opposition.
"The opposition will never be able to match our track record in leading this country. I am convinced that theirs is all about populist politics. They don't care about the consequences as long as they get seats (in Parliament)."
He also said the opposition's populist measures were proof that the coalition of DAP, PKR and Pas was not committed to nation-building.
"It's not about nation-building for them. For example, when we first proposed the Goods and Services Tax (GST), they vehemently opposed it. But, after I tabled it (on Friday), they modified their stand and only asked for GST to be postponed. This is because all the market analysts, investment bankers and rating agencies say GST is good for Malaysia. The way to go forward is to go for GST."
He said Pakatan should start behaving as a constructive opposition bloc and stop rejecting government policies just for the sake of opposing.
"The opposition is not behaving in a constructive manner. So, we must tell people all the right things and sooner or later, they will listen to us. Just like the opposition, we must repeat ourselves over and over again. Otherwise, a lie that is told repeatedly will be accepted as the truth."
Najib also assured the Gerakan delegates that the BN component party would always be a valuable partner in the coalition.
"I am committed to BN's cause. We listen to the component parties and try to reach a consensus. We may not be able to agree 100 per cent but we will try to accommodate all views.
"In this regard, the role played by Gerakan will always be valued. You have to work hard, strengthen your fronts and increase your numbers. By enforcing the leadership at all levels, hopefully Gerakan will be a new hope for Malaysians."
The party polls come a few months after Gerakan's dismal performance in the 13th General Election, where it won only one parliamentary and three state seats, the worst electoral showing in its 44-year history.