PM Najib lists five challenges Malaysia has to overcome

The challenges listed by Prime Minister Najib Razak are geopolitics, peace and security, economy, placing people's interests first, and the country's transformation.
The challenges listed by Prime Minister Najib Razak are geopolitics, peace and security, economy, placing people's interests first, and the country's transformation.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PETALING JAYA • Malaysia has to face five challenges in its quest to provide a better future for its citizens, Prime Minister Najib Razak said in his Aidilfitri address.

The challenges are geopolitics, peace and security, economy, placing people's interests first, and the country's transformation.

"Malaysia is facing a serious challenge of a new world of geopolitical risks, including the crisis involving the Islamic nations of the Gulf, North Korea's nuclear programme and the implications of Brexit.

"Of course, all these developments have to be examined carefully because if the crises cannot be resolved immediately, they can undermine the prosperity of the nations in the region and the world," he said last Saturday.

On peace and security, Datuk Seri Najib noted that there have been several attacks in recent weeks by terrorists or extremist groups around the world.

"I urge all the people in Malaysia to avoid being influenced by the ideology of extremism and terrorism, such as those of the (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), which has misinterpreted the concept of jihad in Islam. We should avoid any threat of external elements which may threaten national security, because Islam is a religion of peace and prosperity," he said, calling on Muslims to be careful of false information being spread on social media.

As for the national economy, Mr Najib said that despite global uncertainties, it grew at a rate of 5.6 per cent in the first quarter, compared with 4.5 per cent in the preceding quarter.

In March, the value of exports reached a new high - it grew by 24 per cent to RM82.63 billion (S$27 billion), the highest monthly export achieved, said Mr Najib.

Export performance has also recorded a double-digit growth for four consecutive months since last December.

On the need to put people's interests first, the Premier said the government has channelled various forms of assistance and initiatives, such as the 1Malaysia People's Aid and affordable housing, to ease the cost of living.

Mr Najib also noted that the world was on the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, amid developments in technology. As Malaysia seeks to implement its 30-year transformation plan by 2050, he said, he hopes it will succeed in joining the ranks of the world's most advanced countries.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2017, with the headline 'PM Najib lists five challenges Malaysia has to overcome'. Print Edition | Subscribe