TAWAU, Sept 13 — In Malaysia’s parliamentary democratic system, it is the power of the people that will determine Barisan Nasional’s (BN) continuity in government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
So, he said, to ensure that BN continued to receive the mandate to rule this country, it must be fair to all citizens regardless of race and religion. “This is because if we can protect the rights of all races and be fair to all, then the people will be with us and this is also the BN government’s principle.
“We will consider the interest of all groups so that no group feels it is being marginalised or hurt, instead, each group, each community is taken care of as best possible through the BN government’s policies.” Najib said this before about 15,000 people from various ethnic groups at a breaking of fast and handing-over of charity contributions to orphans and the poor here.
Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, other BN component party leaders and former Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Sakaran Dandai.
Najib said the principle of fairness outlined in 1Malaysia was also in line with Islam which taught its followers to be fair to all communities and religions. He said the 1Malaysia concept mooted by him was also in line with what Prophet Muhammad practised when he established the government of Medina with Islam as the pillar of the administration. “At the same time, the Prophet was fair to all the communities in Medina, he protected the minorities and gave religious freedom to the non-Muslims.
“If we look at the 1Malaysia concept, the essence is fairness which is based on the principles of mutual respect and accepting diversity as our strength and not as a problem. “If we accept diversity as our strength, then our country will become even more successful and dynamic in future.”
Najib, who is also Umno president and BN chairman, also reminded BN component party leaders and members to be close to the people and not just being popular among party leaders. He said there was no point in only being popular, even if one was the party president, but the party lost, and in this regard, the BN government under his leadership would get close to the people.
Najib said he started going to the ground to be close to the people when he took over the helm of government and wanted the other BN leaders to do the same. “I’ve gone to several places to meet the people. As leaders, if we go visiting without protocol and without the red-carpet welcome, the bunga manggar or any special reception, but we sit down with the people over drinks and hear their problems, the people will remain with us.”
On Sabah which he had all this while regarded as BN’s “fixed deposit”, Najib said he wanted Sabah to continue strengthening itself to really be BN’s stronghold. Najib also said that the frequent power supply disruption in Tawau would be solved soon with the construction of a coal-powered plant in Felda Sahabat, Lahad Datu, as an alternative measure, besides buying more power generators.
The prime minister was also scheduled to meet with Chinese community leaders here before returning to Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama