NEXT GENERATION: Their fate and future lie in our decision to choose the right government
I STILL remember the general election campaign in 1982, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad introduced the slogan "Bersih, Cekap, Amanah" (Efficient, Clean, Trustworthy) as Barisan Nasional's campaign motto.
It came a year after Dr Mahathir took over as the fourth prime minister from the late Tun Hussein Onn.
I was seven at the time, and I remember my dad had brought home stickers with the slogan written in white on the BN's light blue background.
The stickers came in round, oval and rectangular shapes, and I soon joined my siblings to plaster the stickers all over our home -- in any nook and cranny that our short hands could reach.
My mother relented at first, but perhaps later regretted it, as the adhesive on the stickers was so strong that it lasted for years on the surface of our doors, windows, cabinets, tables and chairs.
Though I was too small to understand their meaning, the words Efficient, Clean and Trustworthy stayed with me through primary school, and in some way became part of my principles of life and those of my generation.
I learned that it led to a transformation of the country and its people by instilling ethics which were further strengthened with the "Kepimpinan Melalui Teladan" (Leadership By Example) campaign launched a year later.
Coming back to today, now at the age of 38, I could not help but see similarities in BN's political campaign then and now.
Last Saturday night, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak unveiled BN's GE13 Manifesto with its theme "A Promise of Hope".
It was an extension of the slogan "1Malaysia: Rakyat Didahulukan Pencapaian Diutamakan" (People First, Performance Now) that Najib introduced in his maiden speech as the sixth PM after taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009.
As with the flurries of changes brought by Dr Mahathir during his time, Najib introduced the National Transformation Policy, which incorporated the Government Transformation Programme and also created laboratories to get feedback from the people on their priorities.
Following this consultation, the laboratories identified seven National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) for implementation.
In order to achieve the key performance indicators under the NKRA according to schedule or faster, the government adopted the National Blue Ocean Strategy in several NKRAs.
Tomorrow, the Election Commission (EC) will convene a special meeting in Putrajaya to decide on the two important dates for GE13: the polling and nomination days.
GE13 would be the fourth time that I cast my vote, after registering with the EC shortly after my 21st birthday and voting in the 1999, 2004 and 2008 general elections.
In days to come, 557,022 registered voters in Negri Sembilan, where I am stationed, along with millions of Malaysians, will decide not just their fate, but also the fate of young children much like me way back in 1982.
We may have been young back then, but the policy and strategy decided by the right government of that time has shaped our minds and principles of life.
The government chosen by the people that year and years to come has led our generation to experience the economic boom that put our country on track to become a developed nation by the year 2020.
After becoming PM, Najib has taken Vision 2020 set by Dr Mahathir further by announcing recently that Malaysia may achieve that status earlier in 2018.
A nation is considered high income when its gross national income per capita meets or exceeds RM16,066 (US$12,476), according to the World Bank.
Thus, as all eyes and ears are set on the EC's announcement tomorrow, I wish to also remind us all to remember the children who will inherit the nation whose government we will decide soon.
As young and naive as I was back in 1982, I would have never achieved what I have now without the right government to decide on my future.
So, to all the seasoned and new voters out there, best wishes on exercising your right for the country, its people and their children, and do think wisely before ticking on the ballot paper.
Who knows? There may be children out there at this moment happily putting up stickers of election campaign material all over the furniture and doors in their homes as their parents sit and ponder about the country's future.
Their fate and future lies in our decision to choose the government that can set the right policy and strategy for its citizens.