Spirit of nation remains strong, says PM Najib in New Year's message

Leading the charge is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced adjustments to Budget 2015's economic growth, along with a RM5.5bil cut in its operating expenditure.

PETALING JAYA - The year 2014 has been the most challenging year of his career and the most difficult in Malaysia's history but the spirit of the nation remains strong, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in his New Year's message.

The message, which was posted on his blog, NajibRazak.com, said 2014 did bring prosperity for the country but it was also the year Malaysians were united in grief.

"In the space of a few months, we lost 93 Malaysians. And we found ourselves at the centre of the world's attention - not once, but twice.

"The disappearance of MH370 and the destruction of MH17 are part of our story now. My heart reaches out to those who lost loved ones; and I share their sorrow. Like so many Malaysians, my family too was touched by tragedy."

Najib said Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, responded to these tragedies as one and he believed that the nation would come out of these two tragedies stronger and more determined.

"We have been tested by disaster, but the spirit of the nation remains strong.

"I am proud of the way we responded to these crises. We did not get everything right, but when MH370 went missing, we were able to bring together 26 nations - including China and the US - in a search that spanned half the globe. When Malaysia asked, the world answered.

"And a few months later, when we found ourselves in the middle of a conflict zone, Malaysia was able to get the breakthrough that no-one else could - securing the return of the bodies and black boxes from MH17. Quiet diplomacy helped bring us closer to finding out what happened to MH17, and securing justice for those who died," said Najib.

He also mentioned the current flood situation, which has affected states in the east coast and northern regions and expressed shock at how bad the situation has become.

"The scale of the destruction was profound, with so many people going through intense personal suffering.

"The Government's priority is to get help to people who need it now - with the supplies and assistance for those who are stranded or displaced - and financial support, so that people can get their lives back together,"

For 2015, he said the priority of the Government was to rebuild the infrastructure, the businesses and the homes that were damaged or lost.

"We must ensure that the development we pursue is environmentally friendly, so that we are not making future floods more likely - or more damaging.

"As we continue the rescue and rebuilding operations, I pray for those who are still at risk. And our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in Indonesia, as they continue the recovery of AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501,"

Next year, Malaysia will chair ASEAN and also hold a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council but despite all the global attention, Najib's focus is on the rakyat.

"Next year, I hope we can build a safer, more prosperous, and more equal society.

"The starting point is security. My greatest responsibility as Prime Minister is to ensure the safety and security of the Malaysian people," he said.