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M’sia good example of comprehensive Islamic nation: PM

KUALA LUMPUR, 5 Aug 2009: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is in a great position to share with the world its uniqueness of being a comprehensive Islamic nation.

“I am also proud to mention that we do this in a way that is shared with our non-Muslim communities,” he said in his latest blog entry.

“Malaysia has many good examples to share with the world: a thriving Islamic finance industry, a comprehensive pilgrimage fund and administration system, and syariah law, to name a few … Malaysia should be proud of that.”

Najib said he believed that promoting and sharing the way Malaysia managed Islam was one way to ensure that Islam could be better understood and respected by nations of the world.

The prime minister was responding to a question posed by Nurul Shafika Ahmad on 1Malaysia.com.my.

She wanted to know why Islam was still being questioned by some groups and countries, and Muslims persecuted in many ways such as being prohibited from performing prayers, accused of terrorism, and detained in Guantanamo Bay, among others.

“As a Muslim, I am disappointed. I hope this will end after President Obama’s administration. Don’t let this be another heartless Bush,” she wrote.

Najib said President Barack Obama had made a gesture the Muslim world did not see from his predecessor, George W Bush, during his eight years in office.

“The speech delivered by President Obama in Cairo early last June was a watershed moment as the United States is now making a concerted effort to mend the frayed relations with Muslims across the globe.

“From an international perspective, I sincerely believe we will see a more positive relationship between not just the world leaders, but also the citizens of these countries, based on respect and open dialogue,” he said.

The prime minister also said Muslims, while forming expectations and demanding respect for Islam, must also be mindful of doing the same to others.

“It is our role as Muslims to reflect the best qualities that the Quran and Hadith continuously speak of.

“By displaying the positive values of Islam — respect, knowledge-seeking, peace-loving — we will also be able to dispel widely held stereotypes about the Muslim community and break the cycle of violence,” he added.

To another question, Najib said he understood that at first glance, the decision to liberalise the economy might appear awkward for bumiputera. He said however, that while the government took measures to revitalise Malaysia with a new economic model, the needs of Malaysians would not be overlooked.

The prime minister said the global economic landscape had change immensely over the decades, and as such, Malaysia must transform itself to further enhance its competitiveness.

He also said that the government would remain committed to promoting sustainable national agendas that included meaningful and effective bumiputera participation.

In this regard, Najib pointed out that the government had established Ekuinas to manage bumiputera participation in the economy.

“Ekuinas has just established its management team very recently and is expected to announce its initial framework by end of August.

“Ekuinas must stand on a ruling that it will be commercially driven, provide genuine partnerships and meritocracy, with investments focused on strong Malaysian companies,” he said.

On a more micro-economic level, Najib who is also the finance minister, said the government was working hard to further develop the country’s small and medium enterprises (SME) via the SME Development Council. — Bernama

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