In first-ever speech, new PM asks MPs to save ‘Keluarga Malaysia’ together, offers Opposition leaders a chance to join Covid-19 fight

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People watch a live telecast of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s speech at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur August 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
People watch a live telecast of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s speech at a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur August 22, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today called on all government and Opposition MPs to join him in saving “Keluarga Malaysia” or “Malaysian Family”, a label which he introduced today to describe the nation.

In his inaugural speech after having been sworn in as prime minister yesterday, Ismail Sabri also offered Opposition leaders a chance to work together to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“I would like to urge all Members of Dewan Rakyat, whether within or outside of the Government, to work together to help our nation recover.

“Let us open our minds and hearts to forget our differences by working together. We need to find a common ground and move towards building a consensus for the security and safety of our family, Malaysian Family,” he said in his speech that was broadcast live this evening.

Ismail Sabri said he used the concept of “Malaysian Family” as it is inclusive in nature, and a phrase that cuts across religious, racial and ethnic boundaries.

“We do realise the existence of inter-marriage families with various races and religions such as in Sabah and Sarawak, and yet possess strong family bonds. Thus, the concept of Malaysian Family is akin to the strength of a nation bound together by such values,” he said.

Throughout his maiden speech today, Ismail Sabri repeatedly addressed Malaysians as “my beloved Malaysian family”, saying that all Malaysians are like his own family.

He said Malaysians are all a part of a family despite their diversity in religion, race and ethnicity, with all of them complementing and needing each other as different parts of a single body.

Ismail Sabri noted that there are now only 21 months or less than two years until the 15th general election, and that Malaysia had already seen two changes of government with two different prime ministers since the last general election or the 14th general election.

“Indeed, such swift changes of government within a short period of time can only be construed as detrimental to the people and country.

“Thus, let us move forward together. We must stamp out this grab for political power,” he said, urging Malaysians as “one big family” comprising civil servants, private sector employees and the self-employed to work together to repair and heal the nation and help it recover.

Ismail Sabri also noted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had in his recent audience with the heads of all political parties decreed for them to seek aside their differences for the public’s prosperity and welfare.

“All parties should be able to work as a team to preserve the harmony in the country. In other words, we must embrace the spirit of togetherness,” he said.

Noting that the political turmoil in the country had caused distress to the public, Ismail Sabri said it is important for political stability to be swiftly achieved through togetherness including by establishing cross-party cooperation.

“Therefore, I would like to offer the opportunity to the leadership of the Opposition to be part of the National Recovery Council and the Special Committee on Covid-19,” he said.

While Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders have been making public comments on whether the new government would still be called a Perikatan Nasional government, Ismail Sabri’s speech did not touch on such matters.

He instead said that he would together with this government prepare an administrative team that will serve to help the country recover from the current health and economic crisis, pledging that he would do his best to ensure the public’s trust towards his team is not misplaced.

He said this could only be done with the cooperation of all the civil servants who form the backbone of the country’s administration, urging for all to work together as “one big Malaysian family” to restore Malaysia’s prosperity.

He ended his speech by pledging to “work with the people”.

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