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The “knowledge-based economy” (KBE) is one in which information and knowledge, rather than material resources, drive activities.

This will be one of the most important acronyms of today’s’ and future economy.

Knowledge knows no boundaries. Knowledge is fast changing. Work will require a lot more brain than brawn, compared to the past. Workers at all levels will find that they need continual learning. It will affect the family, and the way society is organised.

People in today’s situation are highly mobile. More people travel to other countries, for business or leisure, or to sample life there.

Our population are young and had the vigour and energy of new immigrants. The threats were tangible and visible to everyone.

Today’s challenges are less obvious and therefore more complex. Challenges are opportunities for growth.

The world is changing and we must change with it. We, Malaysian, thrived in the last 54 years despite adverse geographical and political circumstances. With good government and a determined and hardworking population, there is no reason why we cannot rise to the challenge again.

At the threshold of the 21st century, we re-affirm our ideals of meritocracy, racial harmony, strong leadership and a government free from corruption.

We also seek to articulate new ideals to add to the future, reaching for a vision of a home that we as Malaysians will build together – 1 Malaysia.

As a society, we must widen our definition of success to go beyond the academic and the economic.

We must not be so seized by the five ‘Cs’ of cash, car, condo, credit card and career, that we lose sight of more enduring traits like character, courage, commitment, compassion and creativity.

Success is not so much whether we live up to other people’s expectations, but whether we live up to our own. We must strive to be the best that we can be.

Sometimes, paradoxically, this can be tougher than being what society thinks we should be.

Opportunities do not fall from the skies. They need to be created and grasped. We must aspire this country to be one of the great global centres where people, ideas and resources come together to spark new opportunities.

To enable our own people to make the most of opportunities available here, it is a must for this country remain committed to developing the full potential of every citizen.

Educational opportunities must remain open to all who have the ability, regardless of family, financial or social background.

Malaysians of all ages will always have opportunities to upgrade and renew their knowledge and skills.