DECEMBER 30 ― At the onset of a brand new year, it is important that we take a moment to first look back at all that has happened in 2017, both on a national and global scale. There have been challenges at home and abroad, but we must also take heart from the determination, tenacity and drive that Malaysians as a Rakyat have demonstrated in pressing onwards regardless of any obstacle.
Of course, we would be remiss if we did not celebrate our nation’s achievements in equal measure. Economically, despite ongoing global headwinds, Malaysia has seen solid growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) even recently increased its forecast for our Global Domestic Product (GDP) growth to 5.5 per cent to 6.0 per cent. Moreover, throughout the year YAB Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak has led multiple bilateral talks with other nations including the United States, China, India, Indonesia and Japan, allowing Malaysia to forge stronger partnerships around the world.
Looking ahead towards 2018, it is clear that there are boundless opportunities for Malaysia to continue on its growth trajectory. Indeed, the recent Budget 2018 has laid down the groundwork to tap onto and realise this potential in a holistic manner. From the reductions in income tax which will provide the Rakyat with higher disposable income, to significant allocations towards boosting vital industries, which includes our land, maritime and aviation transport sector.
Without a doubt, the Barisan Nasional Government is wholly focused on catering to the needs and welfare of the Rakyat.
On MCA’s part, we are equally dedicated to our responsibility of reaching out and supporting the community. Through MCA’s undertaking in KOJADI, we have disseminated over RM150 million in loans to SME entrepreneurs, creating new opportunities for these businesses to expand.
MCA has also prioritised the importance of education, and we are proud to note that KOJADI’s student loans have also made tertiary education accessible to many of our younger generation. Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) have collectively produced over 200,000 successful graduates, and will continue to offer quality courses in the years to come. Today, UTAR is already ranked the second best university in Malaysia, and MCA is determined to continuously upgrade UTAR’s facilities to become one of the best universities in the Asian region.
In addition, neo-urbanisation efforts for Chinese New Villages across Malaysia are well underway. MCA is driven to create new opportunities for youth from these areas, particularly through empowering them via entrepreneurship as well as modern agriculture programmes. It is our hope that this will serve to revitalise these rural villages while also establishing an economic platform for the community.
MCA continues to strengthen our diplomatic ties with China on behalf of our nation. As China’s One Belt One Road initiative progresses and international connectivity is further enhanced, Malaysia stands to benefit greatly from this economic game-changer.
These are among the significant achievements by MCA and BN this year, and we are more committed than ever to continue serving the Rakyat in the year ahead.
As a nation of united Rakyat, we have come far over the decades, and we are well on track to reaching our goal of becoming a developed economy. I am confident that if we continue to uphold our Malaysian values of moderation, mutual respect and acceptance of one another, we will continue to thrive. In this coming year, let us once again pledge to work together to reject any divisive elements, and drive our beloved tanah air to greater heights.
To those travelling over this long weekend, do stay safe on the road. A very Happy New Year to all!
* Dato Sri Liow Tiong Lai is the Minister of Transport and the President of MCA
** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.