KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said the government has confidence in the wisdom of the people in electing the government in the future.

“The government believes the people will see through the false promises of certain parties, knowing who is working for the true interest of Malaysians, and recognising who has the proven track record that has delivered, and is continuing to deliver.”

In his new year message, Najib said this is the choice that will be presented to Malaysians in 2018.

“A government that has continued to work for their betterment, with a clear direction and policies to move Malaysia forward in the short, medium and long term or parties who campaign negatively, hoping to cause public anger and unhappiness to win votes, because they have nothing to offer Malaysians but division and populist illusions that would damage the country.”

He said the people deserves more from their politicians where there is an honourable role for opposition parties to scrutinise legislation and hold governments to account.

“Driven by principles and ethical behaviour, they can and should play a responsible part in nation building. It is neither honourable nor responsible, however, to attempt to sabotage the Malaysian economy by making wild and false claims that could undermine the people’s welfare and livelihoods. Lying about your country for personal and political gain is morally wrong, such people are betraying Malaysia.”

The prime minister said neither is it acceptable for a former leader to attempt to overthrow a democratically elected government in the hope that his ambitions for his son may be realised.

In a democracy, Najib said all that should matter is the wishes of the people as expressed at the ballot box, not the selfish dynastic desires of one man.

“Nor is it responsible for politicians to oppose for the sake of opposing, even when they secretly agree that the measures being put forward by the government are right.

“We have seen too much of this, whether it be over Goods and Services Tax (GST) which almost every reputable economist around the world has praised, and which is a reform that most other countries including India and Saudi Arabia are also implementing or over 1Malaysia.”

Najib said it is shameful for opposition figures to concede privately that they were in favour of this concept to promote national unity as all patriotic Malaysians should be, but they opposed it for deceitful, personal and political ends.

“We can have differences of opinion, but we should still be decent and have decorum. It should not be considered unusual, for instance, to visit long standing opponents in hospital to express sympathy and good wishes for their speedy recovery.

“That should be accepted and understood in a civilised society, for we do not believe in, and nor will we return to, the viciousness practised under a former leader.”

He said the better way had been shown by PAS under the leadership of Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang although he is from a different party.

“We are in different parties, but we surmount those divisions when it comes to matters of common interest, such as supporting the causes of the Rohingya and the Palestinians,” he said adding that this is a more mature politics which helps build the country and unite the people.

Najib said 2017 also marked a different milestone, for it was a year in which we redoubled our efforts to ensure good governance in all sectors which included not allowing past mistakes to remain unaddressed.

“Politicians such as Lim Kit Siang had long called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the forex losses between 1992 and 1994. Last year we answered that call by forming an eminent panel to investigate.

“They concluded that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) incurred losses of RM31.5 billion during that time which, they said, had a significant negative impact on the economy of the country, whereby it deprived the country of development opportunities.(BNM is Malaysia’s central bank)

“Malaysians have a right to know what happened in the past, just as it is right that a newly reinvigorated Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has shown wrongdoers that they will be rooted out.

“It was right for me to announce last July that the government is cracking down on the crony capitalism culture created by a former leader. The Malaysian people have paid a heavy price so that a few of friends of this former leader could make enormous profits, no matter what the cost to the people.”

Najib said lapses of governance in either the private or the public sector cannot be tolerated and must be investigated and rectified, not just because this is necessary for Malaysia to continue on its path to high income status, but because the people deserve nothing less.

On Malaysia’s achievements in 2017, he said there could have been no better way to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Merdeka than by Malaysia winning 145 gold, 92 silver and 86 bronze medals in the Southeast Asian Games.

Malaysia has also continued to take a principled position on the global stage such as the efforts in the Rohingya crisis and make clear internationally that Jerusalem cannot be recognised as the capital of Israel.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud also chose Malaysia as the place to establish the King Salman Centre for International Peace to combat extremism and promote the true and authentic Islam.

“Malaysia’s leadership is also recognised at the United Nations when our Global Movement of Moderates resolution to combat extremism and radicalisation was adopted in a vote at the General Assembly.”

He said 2017 is marked by challenges and tragedies that would not easily be forgotten such as the death of 23 students and teachers in a fire at Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school in September, the flash floods and deadly landslide in Penang and the outrageous murder of Kim Jong Nam on Malaysian soil in February.

Besides that, the death of Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah of Kedah who had the unique distinction of reigning as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Malaysia’s King) twice during his long and illustrious life and Adenan Satem of Sarawak where both earned a very special place in their peoples’ hearts.

For 2018, Najib said we begin to look forward to the middle of this century with the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative and the Malaysia of the future, there are many reasons to be optimistic.

“It is a Malaysia we should be proud of, so let me invite all Malaysians to join us as we welcome 2018 with joy and the spirit of unity in our hearts,” he added.