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Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 19th January 2010: 


There can be no successful new economic model for Malaysia without a credible and meaningful new governance model

Over the weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government would announce the new economic model for the country within a month.

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the sixth Prime Minister in April last year, he announced that the government would introduce a new economic model for the country to ensure that Malaysia makes a quantum leap to escape the middle-income trap to become a high-income country through greater emphasis on innovation, creativity and competitiveness.

In May last year, the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the new economic model would be announced in the second half of the year.

Why has this timeline for the new economic model been postponed until this year when according to Husni’s own admission, the country has already lost a decade in economic stagnation?

Malaysia has not only lost one decade in economic stagnation but four decades in failing to fully realize the economic potential of the rich natural and human resources of the country, resulting in Malaysia losing out not only to other countries including Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea but at risk of being overtaken by an increasing list of other countries like Vietnam, Thailand and even Indonesia.

There can however be no successful new economic model to enable Malaysia to make the quantum leap to escape from the middle-income trap to become a high-income country unless there is also a new model of good governance for Malaysia.

What is the credibility of all the government talk about a new economic model, which must entail a total innovation of the Malaysian economy and the nation-building process when Malaysia is facing a losing battle in international competitiveness as illustrated three recent adverse global rankings, viz:

  • falling three places from 21st to 24th ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2009-2010;

  • drop of two places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010: Reforming Through Difficult Times from 21st to 23rd placing; and most disastrous of all,

  • nine-placing plunge in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2009 from 47th to 56th ranking.

The spate of bad news on the front of governance in the past three weeks since the start of the new year does not inspire confidence that despite all the propaganda and publicity about 1Malaysia, KPI and NKRAs, the government is prepared to remake itself with a new model of governance, without which there can be no successful new economic model.

Just to give one instance. True, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has got a new Chief Commissioner and moved out its Selangor MACC headquarters at Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam following reports that it had been haunted after the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock.

But nobody is convinced that MACC is prepared to turn over a new leaf to single-mindedly declare war against corruption regardless of Barisan Nasional “ikan yu” or “ikan bilis” and stop its disgraceful role in its first year of operation as catspaw of Umno/Barisan Nasional political agenda to destroy Pakatan Rakyat-controlled state governments.

MACC played a sinister and ignoble role in the illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional overthrow of the lawful and legitimate Pakatan Rakyat government of Perak and had tried to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor, the most infamous episode being the MACC’s shameful “cars and cow” allegation against the Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

After the national and international outrage directed at the MACC following the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16 last year, the MACC stepped on the brakes to soft-pedal and suspend its operation to target the PR elected representatives and their special assistants.

Can we have an unequivocal assurance from the new MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamad that the MACC will never again play the role of the Umno/BN catspaw to serve the Umno/BN political agenda to topple the PR Selangor state government and will co-operate instead with Pakatan Rakyat to create a culture of zero tolerance for corruption in public life?

This is just one instance whether the Najib premiership is prepared to usher in a new model for good governance – whether in fighting corruption, restore confidence in the judiciary, roll back the tide of endemic crime, an inclusive and tolerant nation-building policy - without which there can be no meaningful or successful new economic model.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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