`NGOs have the ear of the govt' [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PUTRAJAYA: PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government is appreciative and recognised the role and contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in efforts to develop the country.
As an open and rational government, he said it always listened to the views of NGOs in the interest of the people and nation.
He said the political landscape, coupled with globalisation and advances in information and communication Technology (ICT), meant that the role played by NGOs has never been more important.
"As such, besides getting support from political bodies and various institutions, we cannot ignore the role NGOs play in the country.
"The recognition of NGOs in the context of nation-building cannot be understated. It is only right that we give due space and opportunities so the role of NGOs will be taken into consideration by the government," he said at a Hari Raya gathering for NGOs at Seri Perdana here yesterday. Present were his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and leaders representing 45 Malay NGOs nationwide.
Najib said even though the approach of Umno and Malay NGOs was different, the objectives and principles were the same, which is to champion the interest and success of Malays in the country so that they continued to be role models for the Muslim community worldwide.
"Our principles and objectives do not differ in the context of Islam, the Malay race and the country."
To ensure the position and interests of the Malays continued to be assured, he said a major assembly with the theme "Empowering Malay Economy" would be held at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam on Sept 14.
Najib said the position and wealth generation of the Malays was not only seen from the aspect of ownership of valuable corporate equities, but also in the larger context of property ownership, savings and intellectual property.
"We cannot focus on certain individuals only. Whatever policies to develop the Malay economy must be comprehensive so that Malays would feel that each individual would receive equal opportunity and support."
Touching on the fuel price hike, Najib, who is also the finance minister, said the government reduced the subsidy for fuel and but did not raise the price of petrol.
He said giving huge amounts of subsidies would be detrimental to the country in the long run.
Najib later joined hundreds at Sultan Zainal Abidin Mosque for special prayers for the safety of the first batch of pilgrims leaving for Mecca last night.
He reminded haj pilgrims to uphold their reputation as one of the most orderly, peaceful and well-mannered people.
"Three days ago, I spoke with (Saudi Arabia's) King Abdullah, who said Malaysians were among the most respected visitors to the country."
The 800 haj pilgrims, who boarded four flights at 1.30am from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang earlier this morning, were fully sponsored by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) foundation as part of its special haj programme.
The prime Minister also conveyed his appreciation to Lembaga Tabung Haji for maintaining the price to perform haj at RM9,980 per person as opposed to RM15,555 which was the normal rate.
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