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Najib Delivers New Year Message of Hope, Prosperity and the Risk of Voting Pakatan at GE13

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has used his New Year message to call on the people to make Malaysia the "best place to build a life" during 2013.

And with the election now clearly in sight he issued a straight-forward challenge to voters: "Give us a clear mandate and we promise to use your trust to the best of our ability to build a Malaysia for all."

Najib used his message to look back on the successes of 2012 in the areas of economic and political transformation and reminded us of how our progress has been noted around the world.

"The World Bank report, Doing Business 2013, for example, has placed Malaysia as the 12th most business-friendly country in the world," he said.

"We have to increase the wealth of the nation by ensuring sustainable economic growth and fiscal health, and stimulate the social movement rooted in hope, where the achievement of an individual is limited only by the imagination," he added.

But he also acknowledged that just as they did last year, many people will need help in what could be a difficult year financially for many Malaysians.

"We have to continue our efforts to improve the well-being of the people through the social safety net system whereby every Malaysian who needs aid will get it, where welfare and subsidy assistance are targeted at the truly needy, and reinforced by the welfare net of family, corporate and religious institutions," he said.

That is as close as Najib has come to acknowledging the role the BR1M payment will play in the coming months. It will help those most in need and will rightly boost BN's fortunes at GE13. The poorest members of society know they are being looked after.

Although his address was for the most part non party-political, Najib rightly used the New Year address to draw attention to his Government's record saying: "All along, it has been proven that we have kept all our promises and commitments."

Indeed, voting reform, the repeal of the ISA, the Felda listing, Budget 2013, Najib is quite happy to let what he delivered in 2012 be the benchmark for his Government in 2013 – on this side of the election and beyond.

"The future of the country and our children is too precious to be gambled or experimented with," he said without naming Pakatan Rakyat.

"Building a successful country requires continuous effort and a clear direction. Destroying a country only requires a short time, but the consequences will be prolonged".

That was as far as his attack on the Opposition went. He could have mentioned the poor record of the Pakatan parties in the states they control, the disunity of the coalition, its lack of clearly enunciated policies or a Shadow Cabinet, and the religious agenda of PAS. But for a statesman, there was no need to belittle the Opposition.

At Umno's General Assembly last year Najib reminded his own party that the mistake of GE13 would be for any party to neglect the middle ground and this address was aimed firmly at those voters all parties should be targeting at GE13.

Najib told them he wants to make Malaysian the best place to "have a family and raise children, a country that has a caring society, a strong family system, neighbourhoods and streets safe from crime, a sustainable environment, quality schools and educational institutions, as well as the best and affordable health care system."

That's what is at stake at GE13 and without wanting to be negative; Najib has again warned voters about the choice they make at the ballot box in the coming months.

2013, the election year, should prove both testing and rewarding for all Malaysians. Najib has restated his case as to why it should be a journey we take with him as leader.

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