KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is a successful nation that is on the right track despite naysayers claiming otherwise, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said.
Dubbing the government's infrastructural development efforts as "Infra-rakyat", Najib said achievements such as the mass rapid transit (MRT) project, had changed the people's mindset.
"If we could do the MRT, then there is so much more that we can do and God-willing we will. You will see for yourself.
"The future (that we have been talking about) is not an empty promise and not just a fantasy because if we cannot deliver, then we will not make the promise to the people.
"The infra-rakyat has many benefits. Not only have we provided facilities for the people, but we also changed their mindset.
"They feel optimistic and are confident that their future is in the hands of those who are able to bring them far forward as a government," he said during the launch of the Expo Negaraku 2017 at Dataran Merdeka last night.
Najib said the MRT project had not only improved the lives of the people who resided along the MRT route but also the businesses operating in the same areas.
"Six years ago, several business owners along the Bukit Bintang MRT station protested the construction and I told them that their ownership would not be affected and in fact, the value of their business would go up.
"Today, I was told that all of them are satisfied with the project and some even came to me and expressed their regret that their businesses are not located near the MRT.
"I was also told that in Kajang, satay sellers are getting increased sales due to the MRT," he said.
Najib also reminded the people not to be persuaded by his detractors' promises and that Malaysia was on the right track.
"In short, your future is in our hands. There is no need to look left or right. Hold fast to what is in front of you today.
"I just got back from the APEC and Asean Summits and (I believe) that Malaysia is a sucessful nation on the international stage which could not be belittled by anyone.
"World leaders from China and the United States and prime ministers of various countries respect our country. The only ones who disrespect us are only a few in this country. Believe me that we are on the right track, God-willing," he stressed.
Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, also took time for a walkabout at the expo.
Rahman in his welcoming remark said the government hoped to achieve a balance from the expo.
"It is the Prime Minister's and my aspiration that the expo's visitors would not only gain knowledge on infrastructure interactively, but also be entertained and foster assimilation among our multi-racial society," he said.
Hosted by local celebrity Awal Ashaari, the launch was filled with multiple performances by local artistes such as Faizal Tahir.
Also present were cabinet ministers including Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
Organised by the Prime Minister’s Department and initiatied by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), the large-scale exhibition was aimed at showcasing the government’s effort in developing ultra-modern infrastructural and developmental projects for the public.
The month-long expo kicked off yesterday (Nov 15) until Dec 15, and it is open to the public, free of charge, from 10am to 10pm.
Covering more than 60 per cent of the square are the eye-catching five white domes, that are linked at the main entrance.
The interactive exhibition is divided into infrastructure sectors such as telecommunication, energy, transportation and more.
The expo’s weekly themes include Health and Wellbeing; Our Taste; Culture and Tourism; Traditional Games; and Activities an
d Games.Apart from light shows held at the giant dome every evening, visitors are also treated to various other activities including concerts as well as futsal and go-kart competitions.
Suitable for all ages, the event is estimated to draw 500,000 visitors with each of them expected to spend 45 to 60 minutes to experience the whole exhibition.