- Drive the economy towards higher-value sectors and activities;
- Upgrade our education system;
- Reduce inequalities in income and opportunity;
- Improve the quality of life; and,
- Improve the effectiveness and performance of our public institutions, from the civil service to the judiciary.
If we stay committed to this course, we can only grow stronger in the eyes of the world. We would evolve from our middle-income status, we would have a dynamic, innovation-driven economy, we would have skilled and capable future generations, and we would have public institutions of strength and integrity. However, I think there is something more that we must have, not only to rise in the eyes of the world but also in the eyes of our people. We should not only think of what the country should do, but what the country should be. A country is not only defined by its achievements, it is also defined by what it stands for.Finding what a country stands for is far more difficult and complex. It takes many years, perhaps hundreds of years, before a country's values are crystallised.The United States has a constitution that is over 200 years old, which promised all citizens a voice, but it was only in 1920 when women were granted the vote.
It was in 1964 when the right to vote was effectively enforced for African-Americans. In the case of a country as young as Malaysia, only 50 years old, the question of what we stand for, the values that connect us to each other, is still being formed. The endeavour to find an answer to this question will go on beyond my lifetime. However I believe that our 50-year history provides us the outlines. As someone blessed by God with the opportunity of becoming prime minister, of being in public service for over four decades, of serving some of the finest men and women in Malaysia's history, I see three values that have dominated our 50 years as a nation. These are the values that will to shape our nation as we embark on our next 50 years. Continued......