Salleh Said Keruak
Tonight, Malaysians will be celebrating the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. In the west it is a time when we reflect on the year gone-by and make our New Year Resolution, which invariably is aimed at improving ourselves. We resolve to stop smoking or to lose weight and so on. Most times, though, we do not achieve these aims and just continue with our bad habits into the following year.
Making New Year Resolutions is one thing. Having the resolve to achieve those targets is something else. It is basically a contest against our own desires, urges and weaknesses and whether we have the willpower to stay committed to those aims. It is all about sacrifices, and unless we have willpower, sacrifice is impossible.
2016 is going to be a critical year and a year full of challenges, not only for Malaysia but also for the entire world. With the continuing war in the Middle East, the ‘war alert’ in Europe, the tension in the South China Sea region, the almost collapse of the oil price, and much more, it is going to be a tough year ahead of us.
Even countries such as Saudi Arabia that has never known what the word ‘recession’ means has just withdrawn subsidies, increased petrol prices by 50% and is expected to become a borrower in five years’ time if the situation continues. And if Saudi Arabia sneezes that can only mean countries like Malaysia would catch the flu, especially with the Ringgit so low.
The English proverb is we must cut our coat according to our cloth. And when that cloth shrinks the coat must definitely be smaller. But how do we squeeze into a smaller coat when we have an excess of body fat? That invariably means we need to shed some fat if we are going fit into that coat. And that is what my Ministry will have to do if we want to make ends meet. We will need to revise our plans and see what ‘fat’ needs to be cut from our spending so that we can ride out the year unscathed.
It is easy to blame the government for our problems and accuse the government of mismanaging the economy. But there are times when we are victims of circumstances beyond our control. And while we can control what happens in Malaysia we have no control over what happens in the rest of the world, which ultimately affects our country as well.
My Ministry has made plans to improve the Internet services in Malaysia. I have already mentioned what these plans are so I need not repeat them here again. Suffice to say that in spite of the expected hard times ahead of us we will not compensate on providing better Internet services to Malaysians. This is my New Year Resolution, which I aim to keep.