Wednesday, April 11, 2012












Assalamualaikum W.B.T, Good Afternoon and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Profesor Ir. Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar,
Vice Chancellor of UiTM;

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Abdul Nasser Abu Kassim,
Regional Head, Government and Middle East Business Development, Air Asia;

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Rozman Hussin,
Managing Director, Digicity;

Yang Berbahagia Datin Paduka Norazlina Zakaria,
Timbalan Pengurus Besar, Hal Ehwal Korporat, PKNS;

Yang Berbahagia Prof Dr Rozainun Abdul Aziz,
Dean, Faculty of Accountancy UiTM;

Lecturers and Students;

Distinguished Guests.

1. First of all, I would like to thank the organizing committee for inviting me to officiate this event. I am glad to be amongst the promising accounting students of UiTM.

2. My sincere congratulations go to all of you for being exemplary students. I am certain that your faculty and UiTM are proud to count you as their students. You make the noble concept that is embodied by UiTM a success.

Honourable Guests,

3. As you well know, Malaysia is embarking on a momentous transformation into a high-income economy by the year 2020. We envision ourselves as having a highly productive culture that rests on high-technology industries which will create higher income for the Rakyat. This will then lead to a better quality of life for Malaysians.

4. One of the fundamental prerequisites of a high-income nation is the quality of our human capital. We want our human capital to not just be competent and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills but to also be creative and innovative. This is what will take Malaysia forward and into a developed-nation status.

5. The future of Malaysia is about you and your place in it. In fact, if recent trends are anything to go by then all of you will be at the centre of the new world economic order. With Asia as the renewed engine of global growth I would expect you to be at the forefront of new discoveries and trends.

6. It may be of interest to you that the Guardian newspaper published some startling figures last year. The report found that a common factor of revolutions in
Tunisia and Egypt and protests elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa is the “soul-crushing high rate of youth unemployment”. According to the report up to twenty-four percent of young people in the region cannot find jobs. The nonexistence of employment opportunities served as the spark for the unrest. Youth unemployment is also a reality of life in other parts of the world. In the UK, young people aged between 16 to 24 who make up approximately 40% of all unemployed which translates into 1 million young adults without work. In Spain more than 40% of young people are unemployed. In France the rate is more than 20%, and in the US it's 21%. In country after country, many young people have even given up looking for work. Furthermore, the report cites a recent survey in the UK that revealed more than half of the 18-25 year olds surveyed expressed their intention to emigrate to look for jobs.

7. The situation in Malaysia is very very different. We haven’t enough young skilled and educated people in the right industries to fill the present vacancies. The Economic Transformation Programme is creating ever more opportunities on the horizon. My young friends, as they say the world is your oyster. Do not be afraid to embrace this world in a way that will make others look in awe upon your religion, your nation and your race.

8. However, in our pursuit of success let us always be honest and sincere. Having integrity is something that we can truly be proud of and this quality will never go out of fashion so to speak. Our good name is what others will remember us for and the best legacy you can leave your children and the next generation.

9. Warren Buffet or popularly known as the Oracle of Omaha said, ‘In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity; intelligence and energy. And if they don't have the first, the other two will kill you’.

My young friends,

10. The role of accountants is important to maintain order in how finances are managed. Leaders have to be accountable to the way a country's finances are handled. We can't be spending more than we have or can afford by way of borrowings lest we want to end up bankrupt like Greece sending ripples throughout the EU and indeed the world.

11. It’s easy for Pakatan Rakyat to make promises purely to confuse and deceive the electorate, but they don't have any sound plans on how to fund these concessions other than taking more and more money from Petronas. It is just a pie in the sky. Empty promises. Deceit and lies. The abolishment of highway tolls, PTPTN, to increase fuel subsidies etc are empty promises which will leave us with a destabilised economy that would do more harm to the people when all hell eventually breaks loose like in Greece.

12. Will we end up begging for bailouts from the International Monetary Fund like what the former Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance did in 1998? Isn't it enough proof that the BN Govt has been practising good governance in managing our national coffers when we have paid off completely our World Bank debts amounting to RM7bil, and have only 10% left to pay to the Asian Development Bank for its RM3bil loan to us?

13. Also, it is general perception that accountants are only interested in balancing numbers, and are risk adverse - and as such they make bad entrepreneurs. Thus it is important that accountancy-trained entrepreneurs be able to take calculated risks in order to compete in the biz world.

14. Malaysia's way to generate wealth is by taking risks, albeit calculated ones, which have proven to be correct in making us the 24th largest trading nation in the world. We are among the most attractive investment destination for hi-tech industries. If we were timid in our approach to develop the economy, we wouldn't have succeeded as well as we have.

15. Allow me to cite an example of our determination, resolve and intelligence in solving problems in how we used capital controls to defend our currency and stock market from foreign attacks despite the foreign currency speculators and Western dominated international organizations like the IMF working hand in glove with the Western media and colluding with our own Deputy Prime Minister then to severely rupture the Malaysian economy. Images of Presidents and Prime Ministers of South East Asian Nations bowing before the IMF in signing ceremonies effectively handing over their economies to the IMF made headlines in magazines such as the Times and The Economist. Malaysia was deemed the “pariah” of the global economic and financial order. Our former Prime Minister faced relentless attacks from Western leaders and a barrage of disparaging reports on the so called “sin” that Malaysia has committed. If it was wrong to want to protect our sovereignty from foreign control, to want to have control of our own destiny, to want to protect our banks, small and medium companies or family owned companies- or to do what we think is right for us then so be it. And guess what? Today the world acknowledges that the IMF forced flawed instruments on countries that took its aid. That destroyed many people livelihoods and drove many more to suicide. In fact, if you are following recent events in the United States you can’t help but think of the wrong policies and theories that they have adopted and indeed forced other nations to adopt to their own detriment. I would argue that Western nations can learn from Malaysia’s experience in handling the 1997 Asian crisis though I doubt that they would be able to effectively implement even parts of what we did considering the political gridlock in the US for example.

16. Thus, it is our prudent management of our finances and our sound economic theory and stable Government that cares for the people which is why we have made PTPTN available. This fund is meant to give students from poor backgrounds an opportunity denied to them due to their unfortunate circumstances. We want to give everybody a chance to achieve their full potential even if they come from poor families. Furthermore, the Malaysian Govt foots 90% of our education costs unlike some countries like Chile for example where students rioted for months burning cars, throwing rocks and smashing windows with scores of students and police injured. All the students wanted were “free and equal” public education. That is exactly what we have here and more.

17. On another note, I believe that accountants have another important role to play in the fight against corruption. With your skills you are equipped to sniff out irregularities and corruption. It is part of your profession to assist the Govt to reduce corruption in whatever capacity you serve be it in Government or in the private sector. To date many organizations and companies have signed a Corporate Integrity Pledge or an Integrity Pact with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency. Most recently, Felda Global Ventures Berhad and Federal Land Development Authority signed both types of pledges with the MACC.

My friends,

18.Work with me and let’s chart the future of our nation together. It won’t be easy and will require lots of sacrifice but our struggle will be worth it and rewarding in itself. As our Tokoh Pendidikan, Aminuddin Baki rightly said – ‘Tuah itu tidak datang menggolek atau jatuh ke riba kalau kita tidak mengusahakannya’.

19. And with that, I would like to end my short speech by congratulating the recipients of today’s awards. I wish you the very best in your future endeavours. Please feel free to contact me on my twitter @MukhrizMahathir and perhaps we can exchange new ideas.

20.Thank you.

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