Friday, November 9, 2007

The National Mission - Strength Of Human Capital To Determine Malaysia's Success

UMNO General Assembly, Nov.7-9.

What is the National Mission to determine Malaysia's success?

A: The National Mission has five main thrusts:-

1) moving the economy up the value chain

2) developing first class human capital

3) addressing persistent socio-economic imbalances,

4) improving the quality of life and

5) strengthening institutional capacity

all of which are universal, constant requirements for national-building.

The strength of our human capital will determine the success of the Mission. It will determine whether we achieve developed-nation status and progress further. Let us all build a nation that enriches every citizen, regardless of race or belief. Let us be a nation where everyone enjoys balanced development. Let us carry our nation to the peak of distinction.

Q: How will the growth corridors help the poor, especially the Malays?

A: The philosophy behind the development corridors is that no one should be left behind. There are fears that these development corridors, especially the IDR, will threaten the future of the Malays. To me, this is an antiquated view. Perhaps in the past, we were laggards in our own land. This is not the case now. We now have many Malays who are well educated and have become doctors, lawyers, accountants and even astronauts. A class of Malay managers, capable of successfully running businesses, has emerged.

Therefore, the presumption that the IDR will harm Malays is an insult to the ability of Malays to compete on the global stage. The NCER has been well received by the people of the north. Similarly, the ECER has elicited a positive response from the people on the east coast, including the Pas government in Kelantan. Our efforts are evidence of the government's sincerity in bringing development to all parts of the country. We put aside politics to improve the quality of life of the people and to lift them out of poverty.

The Prime Minister said the harmony among the various communities and religions in the country was not an “optional luxury” but a necessity.

Islam must be identified as a religion that dispenses justice, prohibits inequity and rejects violence. There is nothing wrong with Islam, the error lies in the misguided actions by those who fail to interpret Islam and those who fail to practise it with open minds and rational thought. Muslims should concentrate on building what makes Islam attractive. The government's stand is that Islam will be respected if it develops intellectual excellence, emphasises the pursuit of knowledge and concentrates on attaining economic success.

During the general assembly in 2004, I laid out the 10 principles of Islam Hadhari, an approach that was understood and supported by the component parties of Barisan Nasional. The Constitution provides that Islam is the official religion of the federation but there is freedom to practise other religions. Guided by the spirit of the Constitution, Malaysians of different religions must exercise mutual respect.

We have received international acknowledgement for our success in developing the Islamic financial system and in building a halal hub, and these efforts are no less important than our individual religious obligations or our fardu ain. These efforts illustrate that Islam is contemporary and relevant in the modern economy. In fact, research in economy, science and technology is encouraged. We should give priority to these pursuits. Islam and the ummah will be developed more quickly when Muslims can show excellence in economy, science and technology. Malaysia has continued to take great strides in becoming a premier global Islamic centre.

In the Islamic capital markets, Malaysia accounts for two thirds of the world's Islamic bonds, amounting to US$47 billion (RM156.5 billion). In line with the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre (MIFC) initiative, Malaysia has liberalised the Islamic finance sector to encourage the participation of foreign institutions in banking, capital markets and takaful.

In addition, we have taken a leadership role in establishing institutions such as the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF). The IFSB, which has a membership of 125 countries, works to co-ordinate regulations and standards internationally, whereas INCEIF is a university-level institution that develops human capital to meet the needs of the Islamic finance sector.

Malaysia is also committed to becoming a world class halal hub. The government has been active in promoting the products and services of Halal Malaysia while strengthening its halal certification. Our commitment is shown through the establishment of the Halal Industry Development Corporation to spearhead and co-ordinate a variety of initiatives.

What is Islam Hadhari?

Islam Hadhari is an approach that emphasizes development, consistent with the tenets of Islam and focused on enhancing the quality of life. It aims to achieve this via the mastery of knowledge and the development of the individual and the nation; the implementation of a dynamic economic, trading and financial system; an integrated and balanced development that creates a knowledgeable and pious people who hold to noble values and are honest, trustworthy, and prepared to take on global challengers.

Principles of Islam Hadhari

Islam Hadhari aims to achieve ten main principles:

• Faith and piety in Allah
• A just and trustworthy government
• A free and independent People
• Mastery of knowledge
• Balanced and comprehensive economic development
• A good quality of life
• Protection of the rights of minority groups and women
• Cultural and moral integrity
• Safeguarding the environment
• Strong defenses

The Ummah must be a society that embraces knowledge, skills and expertise in order to build capacity. Islam makes it compulsory for Muslims to embrace knowledge in all fields. The misconception that there exists a difference between so called secular knowledge and religious knowledge must be corrected. Islam demands the mastery of science and technology and the enhancement of skills and expertise.

It is important for the Ummah to be guided in understanding and practicing Islam as a comprehensive way of life as a means to building a civilization. A wholesome way of life will create the balance between our responsibilities in this world and the Hereafter.

Islam is not merely a ritual, because ritualism is meant solely for the Hereafter. The Government has never practiced secularism that rejects the Hereafter and focuses solely on worldly matters. Islam must be lived as a system that integrates the worldly life and preparations for the Day of judgment.