2011 New Year Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 31st December 2010:
2011 challenge of Malaysians - to unite and demand that they enjoy equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family
“Malaysia is at the crosssroads.” – 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Road Map (January 2010).
“Malaysia has reached a defining moment on its development path.” – New Economic Model (March 2010).
“We need to see the reality for what it is: we are on a burning platform” – Tenth Malaysia Plan (June 2010).
However, the year 2010, which also marks 21 months of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership, has not been distinguished by any conviction or sense of urgency that Malaysia is “on a burning platform”, “at the crossroads” or “a defining moment” – that the country has no choice but to forge ahead with a paradigm shift in national economic strategy and public policy.
It is the exact reverse. Despite the 21 months of Najib’s premiership, based on his signature theme of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia has suffered greater racial and religious polarization and loss of social cohesion, with the concepts of unity in diversity and inclusiveness, social justice, excellence, integrity and our international competitiveness receiving one setback after another.
The bad old days of “the government knows best” are back with a vengeance, as illustrated by the raft of developments in the closing days and weeks of 2010, eg:
These developments are all inimical to the 1Malaysia concept of unity in diversity and inclusiveness propounded by Najib and not calculated to enhance public confidence in good governance and our international competitiveness.
The Talent Corporation is to start operation tomorrow to carry out a more effective brain-gain strategy to attract talented Malaysians and non-Malaysians to contribute to Malaysia’s knowledge-based economy.
But the Talent Corporation is set to become another expensive failure as how could it convince the return of the talented from the Malaysian diaspora when the present government is incapable to arrest the unchecked brain drain from the country.
Have more Malaysians migrated abroad in the 21 months of Najib’s premiership than the previous 21 months?
It is not that Najib does not have the answer. The New Economic Model had pinpointed the problem and the solution when it said:
“We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving. The human capital situation in Malaysia is reaching a critical stage. The rate of outward migration of skilled Malaysians is rising rapidly.” (p.6)
“Globalisation has created a fierce competition for talent, forcing companies and government to recognize that people are the most valuable assets. To compete on a regional and global scale, Malaysia must retain and attract talent. Malaysia must be seen by its people and others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family.” (p.8)
The Talent Corporation is incapable of giving such an assurance – that Malaysia is “a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family”.
In fact, the developments of the past 21 months, and in particular in the closing days of 2010,which are completely detrimental to the 1Malaysia concepts of unity in diversity, inclusiveness and social justice, will destroy whatever chances of success the Talent Corporation might have.
Only a Malaysian government, with unwavering leadership and political will, can give such an assurance.
This is the national challenge for Malaysians in the new year 2011 – to unite and demand a government and leadership with the political will to convince Malaysians that they enjoy equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family life.
Wishing all Malaysians a Happy New Year.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor