Dec 12, 2006

Abdullah Has Reason To Be Happy With His Achievement

At the beginning he condemned his predecessor, calling him as "the old man", and now he is praising himself? As the saying goes, "Self praise is NO praise" or "masuk bakul, angkat sendiri"

BANGKOK, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said he had reason to be happy with his achievement since becoming prime minister three years ago but wanted to do more to narrow certain lopsidedness in development in both human and physical infrastructure in Malaysia.

"Well, taking into consideration the time factor, also the problems that I have faced and the deficit that I had to reduce, what I have achieved today in the third year as prime minister, I have reason to be happy," he said.

Abdullah, who took over from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 31, 2003, said this in an interview with Bangkok Post editor-in-chief Pichai Chuensuksawadi at his residence in Putrajaya.

He said it was not an easy passage as he had tabled the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the National Mission on March 31, 2006 and only at the end of May that the Lower and Upper Houses endorsed the plan.

"It took time to plan the Ninth Plan. It is not something I could think of off the top of my head. I had to think very, very hard. This plan must be able to take us to Vision 2020, especially the National Mission. I must aim for 2020.

We must view the three five-year plans that provide continuity, one after another, for this period of 15 years is the National Mission," he said.

Abdullah said more needed to be done in human capital development although the process would be difficult.

"Human capital to me, the people must be mentally, physically and spiritually strong. I believe in that. There are many people who are clever but who are cheats. Who are rogues. Who abuse power. Who are corrupt. I don't want that. If you are clever, you must be a good man," he said.

Besides different types of training including for students who had finished their schooling to be ready for the workplace, Abdullah said the curriculum from primary to tertiary education would also be looked into.

Another thing that Abdullah said he was trying to do was to reduce the development gaps as there were certain areas like in the north, Kelantan and Terengganu which were not doing well unlike most progressive Klang Valley.

"There is a certain lopsidedness in development in both human and physical infrastructure. This includes the opportunities. I always believe in quality opportunities," he said.

Citing education as an example, Abdullah said the same quality education must be provided to children in rural and urban areas with adequate books and trained teachers.

"If you are talking about Internet penetration, you must include them. We cannot achieve our 2020 vision if we have this lopsided development. We have ethnic gaps, regional gaps, occupational gaps. People in industrial areas are getting better income, and those in agriculture are not. There are so many gaps," he said.

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