Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 7th August 2010:
Biggest flaw in Soi Lek's new-fangled theory that Malaysia trapped for a decade as middle-income nation because of "non-progressive" competition between UMNO and PAS is whether he would back down from it when pressured by UMNO
The main objective of MCA President Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek's new-fangled theory that Malaysia had been trapped for a decade as a middle-income nation because of "non-progressive" competition between UMNO and PAS is to pass-the-buck and disclaim MCA responsibility for the deplorable state of the Malaysian nation 53 years after Merdeka to the extent that one Cabinet Minister had warned that Malaysia could go backrupt in the year 2019!
However, the biggest flaw for Chua's new-fangled theory is whether he would back down from it when pressured by UMNO!
In the first place, Malaysia had been stuck in a middle-income nation trap for some two decades and not just the past 10 years - as admitted by the New Economic Model that since becoming an upper-middle income country in 1992, Malaysia has largely stayed where it is.
Can this be solely explained by the competition between Umno and PAS in using religion to strengthen their influence resulting in "non-progressive policies"?
What is the role of MCA as the second largest component party in the Barisan Nasional coalition in the formulation and implementation of "non-progressive policies"?
When former Prime Minister, then Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad arbitrarily and unconstitutionally declared on Sept. 29, 2001 that Malaysia was already an Islamic state, who were the first to give support to the "929 Declaration" if not the BN component parties of MCA and Gerakan?
The New Economic Model (NEM), which had been abandoned unceremoniously in less than three months although it was proclaimed as the basis of the Tenth Malaysia Plan, had pinpointed the disastrous effects of retrogressive policies causing Malaysia to lose out in the competitiveness stakes of nations, eg: "A disastrous exodus of human capital has flowed from the perception that in Malaysia's labour markets, rewards have historically not been commensurate with skills, achievements and merits."
The New Economic Model warned that Malaysia risks being left behind or worse still, suffering a reversal in living standards, unless it implements far-reaching and comprehensive reforms.
The NEM has given the correct prescription when it said that for Malaysia to face up to the challenges of globalization and compete on regional and international scale, Malaysia must retain and attract talent and "be seen by its people and by others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family".
This is where MCA failed dismally as a leading component party in the governing coalition, not just in the past decade but the past few decades!
Instead of foisting a political fallacy on Malaysians with his new-fangled theory as to why Malaysia had been being trapped as a middle income nation in the past two decades, the MCA Ministers and leaders should own up to their role in Malaysia's faltering international competitiveness and defend the NEM prescription of high-income advanced Malaysia with inclusiveness and sustainability with a major overhaul of nation-building policies, by stamping out corruption, ending institutional degradation and implementing affirmative action programmes based on need targeting the 40% of Malaysian households which still earn less than RM1,500 a month.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor