Jade Emperor Festival Or 8th Day Of Chinese New Year Message By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 7.2.2014.
During this year’s Chinese New Year festivities, the regular topic of discussion in family reunion gatherings is how the toxic atmosphere of playing with the fires of racial and religious hatred has paralysed the pursuit of happiness and hastened the brain drain by accelerating the exodus of human talent. Penang will counter UMNO’s dangerous games of playing with the fires of racial and religious hatred with the weapons of social justice, economic prosperity, good governance and clean leadership.
Recent events coupled with the refusal to address the pressing issues of entrenched corruption and cronyism as well as price hikes that threaten the livelihood of ordinary Malaysians, have lent credence to the view that BN has stopped governing because they no longer know how to rule. The PR Penang state government’s success in becoming the first state in Malaysian history to wipe out poverty and becoming the only state not to raise local services such as quit rent, assessment, business license fees and water tariffs has made UMNO desperate.
The performance of Penang PR has made UMNO more desperate when even the Prime Minister disclosed in Parliament that Penang was No.1 in attracting Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) from 2010 to August 2013, with RM19.7 billion out of Malaysia’s total FDI of RM103 billion. Penang is not only the village champion but also now a world champion when Lonely Planet listed Penang as the No.1 food destination of the world.
The violent demonstrations by UMNO supporters in Penang, the attack by UMNO supporters on a senior Malay civil servant carrying out enforcement action, the attempted fire-bomb attack on a Catholic church in Penang and the call by a UMNO division to ban the 200-year old practice of open selling of pork in a 95% non-Muslim area in George Town is clearly intended to distract attention from UMNO’s price hikes even at the cost of destroying the very foundations of a nation-state so assiduously built by UMNO’s founders Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak.
Since Merdeka, official government statistics have revealed that more than 2 millon highly-skilled and talented Malaysians have left the country. In their place are more than 5 million unskilled foreign migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam – clearly a loss in exchange value in skill gaps and management expertise for Malaysia.
Even these unskilled foreign migrants sent back RM20 billion in remittances in 2012, a figure expected to increase to RM30 billion this year. With so many unskilled foreign migrants, some Malaysians are feeling like strangers in their own land, particularly in Sabah.
Malaysians must not lose hope but compel UMNO to back down from playing with the fires of religious and racial hatred by focusing on the economy. Malaysians must persist to insist in integrity and transparency to fight the cancer of corruption, the pursuit of excellence and competitiveness must not be given up, give hope to the future by providing a platform of equal opportunities not only to build human talent but allow them to realise their potential and most important of all that social harmony can only be achieved by celebrating our differences.
The public can not compromise in demanding good management and productivity skills in our political leaders. Political leaders must be subjected to the criteria of adopting sound management techniques of setting targets, rewarding performance and ensuring that the results can be measured.
Only with an objective outcome-based administration can we ensure that the pusuit of happiness is not an empty dream but a vision that can be realised through hard work, collaborative effort and respect for rule of law. There can be no rule of law when justice easily falls victim to power. There can only be rule of law when our legal system protects rights of all citizens and serve the people.
LIM GUAN ENG
—-Mandarin Version —