KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Feb 2009: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said last night he would not do anything which would embarrass the government once he stepped down as prime minister.
“That doesn’t mean you cannot do something. You can do something (constructive) without embarrassing the government,” he said at a dinner chat with members of the business community last night.
He was responding to a question about whether he foresaw any role for him on the international arena once he left office in late March.
“I would prefer to discuss with Najib (Deputy Prime Minister and successor Datuk Seri Najib Razak) before I want to do something,” Abdullah said.
The event A Prime Minister’s Passage, which was also attended by Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, was organised by the Kuala Lumpur Business Club at a hotel here.
Abdullah also said he was happy to note that Najib would continue with the National Mission and the country’s national agenda towards achieving Malaysia’s Vision 2020 goals.
Replying to a question on his achievements and challenges, Abdullah said that he was happy that he managed to fulfill the promises he had made in areas such as reforming the judiciary and fighting corruption.
He cited the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Bill and Judicial Appointments Commission Bill that were passed in Parliament last December.
“That I am happy. It was a very big promise I made (and delivered),” Abdullah said.
On the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which he officially launches today, Abdullah said he believed the commission will soon be very active.
“They need some power in order to do what they have to do…they need freedom. That’s what we want to give them. We don’t want to interfere,” he said.
Abdullah said he hoped the bill on the reforms of the police would also get through.
Freedom and responsibility
Asked about people crediting him for the greater openness he brought, Abdullah said: “Everybody seems to be happy with what they think about the freedom given (under my administration).”
However, Abdullah said the people must shoulder more responsibility if they were given more freedom.
“You must (also) think what is good for the people and the public, not just what is good for you (as an individual).
“I know that I have a higher level of tolerance. One thing…more freedom…you must be more responsible. There is no such thing as absolute freedom. All of us are restrained in some ways,” he said.
Abdullah stressed that if everyone was more responsible and rational, Malaysia would be a much better country, thus attracting more visitors and foreign investments.
Challenges for Muslims
On the challenges of the Muslim community worldwide, Abdullah noted that poverty, illiteracy and lack of progress were the real threats to Muslims.
That was why, Abdullah said, that when he was the chairperson of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), he came out with several initiatives to give an economic face to the 57-member organisation.
About what he would do once he stepped down from the prime minister’s post, Abdullah said he would have more time for golf, fishing and little bit of gardening.
However, Abdullah said he would not start a personal blog.
Asked about what he would miss most, Abdullah said: “I don’t know what I am going to miss until I am out of office.” — Bernama