The time has come to implement economic policies that are clean, fair, competitive and improves the well-being of the people as well as attract back talented Malaysians that can help transform Malaysia into a high-income nation enjoyed by all. What better time than the year of the water dragon to initiate such changes so that the coming general elections marks the new beginning that would be enjoyed by all Malaysians rich and poor by 2020.
Present policies which are corrupt, opaque with no open tenders and benefits only certain cronies would only bring Malaysia backwards. A good comparison is South Korea. In 1970, Malaysia’s Gross National Income(GNI) per capita was USD 380 as compared to South Korea USD 260. But 40 years later in 2010, Malaysia’s GNI per capita was at USD 7,760 while South Korea had exceeded us by almost 3 times at USD19,890 (World Bank)
Malaysia’s failure to compete is compounded by the horde of Malaysians leaving. Even the BN government concedes that 2 million Malaysians have left the country since Merdeka in 1957. Countless Malaysians have PR in foreign countries including present Ministers and former Ministers. No one blames the 2 million Malaysians for leaving when the present policies stresses more on politics of division and hate than results-oriented performance drive our best and brightest away.
A recent example is the unfair, harsh and humiliating treatment of temporary Chinese primary school teachers by reducing their benefits arbitrarily without any consultation. How much will it cost the Federal government to continue maintaining existing benefits or even increasing them to temporary teachers? I doubt that such costs will exceed the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation scandal where money meant for rearing cows is used instead to purchase luxury condos.
Why allow the few cronies to earn extraordinary profits at the expense of 28 million Malaysians. For instance, it took RM 6 billion to build the North-South Highway. But the toll operators have collected RM 24.3 billion as at 31.12.2010 and yet can continue to collect toll till end 2038 and increase toll every year! As the toll operators have already made RM18.3 billion in profits, there is no reason why toll can not be abolished.
Even more talented Malaysians will leave if BN continues to blame the Chinese and minorities for the federal government’s failed policies or use the Chinese threat to frighten the Malays. How can the Chinese be a threat to Malays when critical economic sectors such as banking, insurance, ports, highway toll concessions and infrastructure, transport, automotive industry, IPPs, sugar, rice, flour, plantation products, oil and gas are dominated by Malays?
We must grow up believing in our abilities, trusting each other and have faith that Malays and non-Malays can be world champions. Malays and non-Malay kids must grow up respecting each other as Malaysians and hating only corruption. 2000-9 is the lost decade of corruption where RM1,077 billion of “black money” was illicitly and secretly taken out of Malaysian.
Enough is enough! Let us implement policies that will stop corruption, wipe out poverty, attract back Malaysian talents so that Malaysia can be a high-income nation enjoyed by everyone regardless of race, religion or gender.
Instead of focusing on cronies, let us implement people-centric policies that are clean, fair, competitive and improves our standard of living.
LIM GUAN ENG