GEORGE TOWN, Dec 31 — Malaysians should give their utmost to reviving the economy in the new year so that everyone can prosper rather than harp on racial and religious differences that create strife, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today.
In his New Year message for 2020, Lim also urged Malaysians to be wary of extremists who seek to gain power by divide-and-conquer communal methods.
“Malaysia has no place for those devoted to religious hostility, racial division and command economies and must choose national unity and harmony, promote private enterprise and invest in talent diversity.
“Let us focus on the economy and delivering on promises that can reduce the cost of living of Malaysians,” he said.
Command economy refers to an economic style in which, instead of the free market, the government decides and controls what to produce and how, and is a key feature of communist countries.
Lim, who is also finance minister, stressed that only economic growth can lead Malaysia to more quality jobs, higher purchasing power, better health care, public transport and schools, good connectivity, less corruption and shared prosperity.
Without naming anyone, he said there were groups sowing discord in the country.
He listed examples of their tactics including opposing government funding for vernacular schools and even calling for it to be closed down.
He added that calling for a boycott of non-Muslim products and businesses, calling to bar non-Muslims from becoming ministers, wishing to refuse ethnic Indians and Chinese the right to vote and showing outright contempt for non-Muslims by spreading lies about their religious practices were also tactics to divide Malaysia’s plural society.
He said Malaysia is making good progress economically based on its high credit ratings by international agencies, but said that going forward, the government faces a high bar politically due to scepticism over the delay in fulfilling its 2018 electoral promises.
The Bagan MP expressed optimism about New Malaysia under Pakatan Harapan (PH), but said 2020 will be a pivotal year when Malaysians decide the country’s future path, whether to move on and discard the shame in being labelled a “global kleptocracy” or slide backwards in the war against disinformation.
He acknowledged that the public today have higher expectations of the government and called on allies to counter their political foes and work harder to fulfil their electoral promises of reform.
“Much hinges on three factors, namely the state of the economy, the delivery of PH promises in the PH General Election Manifesto, and supporting a smooth transition of power from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after the Apec Summit in November 2020,” he said.
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