Wednesday October 8, 2008 MYT 9:31:45 PM
1. I have been in public service for over 45 years. I have served this country as a civil servant, and as an elected representative of the people. I have served as a member of government and feel blessed to serve in the highest office in the land. I have seen this country grow from a small, poor nation into the modern, prosperous Malaysia that we live in today.
2. Despite our successful track record, for the past few years I have firmly believed that our nation is standing at an historic crossroads. We must reform some elements of our nation, we must evolve and mature, or we risk losing all that we have gained in over 50 years. Throughout this time of reform and transformation, we Malaysians need to be united now more than ever before.
3. In all my years of service, I have always been guided by my conscience. I have always placed the interests of the nation above all else. It is with this in mind that I announce I will not stand for the Presidency of UMNO. I do not want a divided party and governing coalition, but one that is united and harmonious. A united Barisan Nasional is vital in order for the country to face the global challenges ahead and for Malaysia to become a fully developed nation, with prosperity and fairness for all.
4. My current term as President of UMNO ends in March next year. There are several initiatives I intend to see through before I leave office. These initiatives are important because they are necessary to move our country forward. These initiatives are needed to regain our country's competitiveness. They are necessary to enable our nation and our society to face the challenges that the world has in store for us. I ask all Malaysians to unite and join me in working towards making Malaysia a better place.
5. First, our institutions need to be reformed and strengthened.
i) The judiciary needs to enhance its stature and credibility in the eyes of the public. Before I end my term, I will table a Parliamentary Bill to establish a Judicial Appointments Commission. Such a Commission will propose judicial appointments in a transparent and merit-based manner.
ii) We also need a strong and effective anti-corruption body that can combat the cancer of corruption without fear or favour. Before the end of the year, I will table a Parliamentary Bill to establish the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, with greater powers of investigation and enforcement. The Commission's oversight structure has been modelled after the successful ICAC in Hong Kong.
iii) I also intend to complete the establishment of a Special Complaints Commission to enhance the integrity and effectiveness of enforcement agencies
6. Second, I have long spoken about the need to ensure that the fruits of growth are more equitably distributed. In the recent Budget, I explained the government's commitment to strengthening and enlarging the Social Safety Net.
We will speed up work on this front to help poor and disadvantaged Malaysians, regardless of background, race or religion.
I will also work to ensure that tangible results can begin to be enjoyed in Iskandar, as well as the development corridor initiatives around the country.
7. Third, I would like to see the Government and Barisan renew their commitment towards building a united and harmonious nation.
Society has seen an alarming decline in inter-racial and inter-religious relations. Various issues have cropped up which threaten to tear the very fabric of Malaysian life.
We need to tackle these issues head-on, through dialogue; deal with the issues constructively and even-handedly; ensure greater clarity and certainty for the people; and focus on the points that unite us, rather than the points that divide us.
For this reason, I will convene a BN Convention early next year. This is a long-term effort that I hope to kick-start and continue to contribute towards.
I fully intend to see through my mission, and I am sure that my successor will carry on this agenda.
I want to hand over to my successor a Malaysia that is capable of weathering the challenges of a dangerous global economy, a Malaysia not of rich and poor, of young and old or of the city or the kampung (village), not of south and north, and not of one religion or another but of unity and harmony.
This is not the time for infighting and narrow politics but for greatness, unity and cooperation.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
"I will not contest in the Umno elections," - Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
Wednesday October 8, 2008 MYT 9:31:45 PM
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not defend his Umno presidency in the party polls next March, paving the way for his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"I will not contest in the Umno elections," he told reporters after a Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here on Wednesday.
"I do not want a divided party, or a divided government," he said.
Abdullah also told reporters that he would "stay on as Prime Minister" till March.
He also outlined several initiatives he wanted to see implemented before he leaves. These will be tabled in Parliament by the end of the year, he said.
They involve his on-going commitment to reforming the judiciary; an anti-corruption Bill to give more clout to combat corruption; and the special complaints commission to revamp the police force.
By tradition, the Umno president and deputy president become the prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively. Najib is expected to run for president, and if he wins, would become the nation’s sixth prime minister.
Abdullah also said he would discuss handing over the prime minister's post to Najib after the Umno elections.
"I know I've not been doing well; it's time for someone else to take over," he said, adding that Barisan leaders have received the news well.
He said that he believes that other Barisan leaders would accept Najib as his successor and that the latter would win the Umno polls.
He added that he would not pick a deputy for his successor Najib.
Abdullah had said after a special Umno supreme council meeting on Sept 26 that he would decide by Oct 9 whether he would defend his party presidency.
At the meeting, it was also decided that the Umno general assembly and supreme council elections, scheduled for Dec 16 to 20, will be postponed to March next year to facilitate an early transition of power from Abdullah to Najib.
Abdullah had also said then that the original June 2010 plan to hand over power as Prime Minister and Umno president was now off.
"We are talking about an earlier transition, so the 2010 plan does not arise any more," he had said.
Earlier on Wednesday, groups of supporters gathered outside the Umno headquarters here ahead of Abdullah’s meeting with the supreme council.
The supporters claimed to be from Umno divisions in Perak and Johor, as well as various non-governmental organisations.
Abdullah arrived at about 3.36pm to shouts of “Hidup Pak Lah” (Long live, Pak Lah).
Supporters were also heard shouting for Abdullah to follow the transition plan instead of stepping down now.
The supporters gathered outside the Umno building were holding banners which read “Hidup Pak Lah”, “Hormati Pengalihan Kuasa” (Respect the transition of power) and “Elak Perpecahan party” (Avoid splitting the party).
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