PETALING JAYA - Instead of his usual recorded message televised on the eve of National Day celebrations, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak addressed the nation "live" this year with a promise - he will not let Malaysia fail despite the shrinking currency.
Calling on Malaysians to adopt the 1957 spirit of Merdeka, he also vowed not to let instigators destroy the nation.
Asking people to use the ballot box to judge the government, he pleaded for calm so that he and his team could focus on ways to overcome the current challenges.
He said there were five indicators showing that Malaysia was on the right track of development.
"The first is that we are still recording a positive growth. We recorded 6 per cent growth last year and 5 per cent this year.
"This is unlike in1998 when our economy shrunk to negative 7 per cent," he said.
Other indicators included strong economic fundamentals, reducing poverty rate from 49.3 per cent in 1970 to 0.6 per cent last year and Gross Domestic Product increasing to 47.2 per cent.
Malaysia had also been recognised as the 12th most competitive country in the world, he said.
"We can succeed," he said at the KL Convention Centre.
Present were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa.
Najib also called on the people not to believe rumours that Malaysia would go bankrupt.
"Such allegations are spread by those with certain agenda," he said.
He vowed not to let those "inside and outside" destroy the nation.
He said that during the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, the Government pinned the blame on currency speculator George Soros.
He said the Government had also introduced various programmes to help address rising cost of living.
"Malaysia is certainly not a failed state. And we are not going bankrupt."
He also hit out at the Bersih 4 rally, saying that demonstrations were improper.
"This country is built on the sacrifices of our heroes who had given their lives to ensure the people will be free and live in peace," Najib said.
"That is why we reject any form of street demonstrations."