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Speech by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on the Budget 2011 on Wednesday, 27th October 2010: 

2011 Budget not a child of New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited Mahathirish policies

On Monday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

It was also the start of a week which saw the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) suffering a triple blow.

The first blow was Monday’s tabling in Parliament of the 2009 Auditor-General’s Reports which continues to be annual tale of horrors of waste, mismanagement, misuse of public funds and corruption – as highlighted by headlines like:

The Auditor-General’s Reports, which were completed in June/July this year, were deliberately held back when they should have been tabled on the first day of the budget meeting of Parliament on Oct. 11, clearly to avoid the “annual horror stories” from stealing the thunder from Najib’s 2011 Budget speech on Oct. 15 and his Umno Presidential Address on Oct. 21 - testimony that the Barisan Nasional government is not fully serious and committed to GTP and even Najib’s “People First Performance First” mantra.

The second blow was yesterday when the 2010 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was released – highlighting the failure of the key National Key Results Area (NKRA) in fighting corruption which targeted to increase the CPI score from the new low of 4.5 in 2009 to 4.9 by 2010. In actual fact, Malaysia’s CPI score in 2010 sunk to the lowest in 16 years.

In the nine years from 1995 to 2003, Tun Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister saw Malaysia’s TI CPI score stuck in the narrow groove between 4.8 in 2000 to 5.32 in 1996 while the CPI ranking fell 14 places from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003.

In the five-year premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking fell 10 places from 37 in 2003 to 47 placing in 2008, while CPI score stuck between 5.0 to 5.1.

In his 18 months as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak presided over the worst single-year plunge in TI CPI ranking and score, i.e. a nine-placing fall from No. 47 in 2008 to No. 56 in 2009, with the score plunging to the lowest ever of 4.5 last year. For 2010, Malaysia’s ranking is still at the worst spot of No. 56 hile the CPI score fell further to 4.4.

Abdullah’s National Integrity Plan, launched in 2004 with the five-year target to improve Malaysia’s TI CPI from 37th place in 2003 to at least 30th position in 2008 and the 5.2 CPI score for Malaysia in 2003 to at least 6.5 by 2008 was an utter failure but Najib’s 18 months have seen both Malaysia’s TI CPI rank and score plumbed to new depths despite all the fanfare and hulaballoo of GTP, NKRAs and national transformation.

The third blow to Najib’s GTP is today’s release of 2010 Legatum Prosperity Index ranking Malaysia 43rd out of 110 countries, behind Singapore - 17, Japan - 18, Hong Kong - 20, Taiwan - 22, South Korea - 27 though ahead of Thailand - 52, China - 58, Vietnam - 61, Philippines - 64 and Indonesia - 70.

The Legatum Prosperity Index sub-index on “safety and security” ranking Malaysia as No. 52 out of 110 warrants serious attention as it impacts on our international competitiveness as well as another NKRA on keeping crime low.

Based on this sub-index, the publication The Diplomat recently published a photo essay on “The Safest Places in the Asia-Pacific”. The ten safest nations named are firstly Singapore followed by New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam and Kazakhstan.

The exclusion of Malaysia from this list is a national shame. What has the Prime Minister and the Home Minister got to say?

Both before and after the 2011 Budget presentation on Oct. 15, there have been more world-wide indices adversely affecting Malaysia’s international competitiveness, for example:

  • Lowest press freedom index in nine years last week when Malaysia plunged 10 places to 141 in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index – outranked for the first time by Singapore since the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began releasing its ranking in 2002.

  • World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 which saw Malaysia falling two places from No. 24 to 26 – despite the warning of the GTP Roadmap in January this year of the nation’s competitiveness “slipping significantly from the top 21 most competitive nations in the world three years ago to our current standing of 24”.

  • Malaysian universities falling out of the league of World’s Top 200 universities, whether Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-11 or the QS World University Rankings 2010 or Shanghai Jiao Tong University's 2010 ranking of top 500 universities for the eighth year in a row.

These are not the signs of a country prepared to take a quantum leap to escape the decades-old middle-income trap to achieve inclusive, sustainable high-income developed status in 2020 but those of a country heading towards a failed state or a bankrupt nation in 2019 as warned by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Idris Jala.

A veteran leader had warned that “It is time to wake up”.

He said: “Without a doubt, Malaysia is slipping. Billions have been looted from this country, and billions more are being siphoned out of the country as our entire political structure crumbles.”

Warning that corruption is the single biggest threat to the nation, he warned that corruption has become institutionalized in our political system and ruining Malaysia.

Who is this veteran leader? He is the head of the Barisan Nasional by-election in Galas, the MP for Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh.

Will his views about the crisis of nation-building now be heeded? Of course not - just as it is clear that the Prime Minister does not have the political will to implement the New Economic Model (NEM) which he launched on March 30 to transform Malaysia into a developed, competitive and high-income economy with inclusivity and sustainability.

Despite all its bombast and pyrotechnics, Naji’s 2011 budget is not a child of the New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited Mahathirish policies which have landed Malaysia in the middle-income trap for more than a decade, setting the country towards a failed and bankrupt nation come 2019.

The symbol of the 2011 Budget and the ETP is the proposed RM5 billion 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower, is a throwback to the era of Mahathirish obsession with mega projects.

If Najib is seriously committed to a New Economic Model, based on economic, social and government transformation, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for Malaysia to achieve targets as being ranked among the first twenty if not first ten of the least corrupt nations in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index or having at least 10 universities which are ranked among the Top 100 Universities in the world?

In fact, it must be asked whether Najib is secretly trying to out-Mahathir Mahathir not only to build a tower higher than Mahathir’s Petronas Twin Towers, but which could be acclaimed as the tallest in the world – however brief the claim?

The “No Mega Tower” facebook campaign is nearing the 200,000 mark in less than 12 days. The last I checked, it registered 191,000 at 2 pm as compared to 2,170 in support of the Mega Tower facebook campaign.

The Prime Minister has asked the government to give priority to the social media and to respect the views of ordinary Malaysians, especially the young generation of all races.

The majority using the facebook are young Malaysians and the Prime Minister should seriously cancel the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka Tower project as it will not only end up as a white elephant which will be worst possible symbol for any any national transformation in the country.

It has been estimated that the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka Tower with 3 million sq ft will add to the glut of office space in Kuala Lumpur which will be equivalent to 7.8 years of office space supply in Kuala Lumpur based on the average annual take up of 1.72 million sq ft in 1985-2009, even without taking into account massive projects announced recently.

In Segamat, its tallest 20-storey building completed in the early 80s have become a Tower for Birds, housing swiflet farms, as only the ground floor is occupied. Lets not end up with the highest swiflet farm in Malaysia and probably in the world!

Najib’s 2011 Budget is not convincing that it represents the first budget of a New Economic Model to transform Malaysia from a middle income country to an inclusive and sustainable high-income developed country by 2020, emphasising high-skilled human capital, efficient public services, a reinvigorated private sector.

The Talents Corporation that is to be set up early next year is to formulate a National Talent Blueprint and develop an expert workforce database as well as to collaborate closely with talent networks globally, but what surety is that the National Talent Blueprint is not condemned to failure like previous “Brain Gain” programmes for the simple reason that there is no political leadership and will in the Najib administration to achieve the vision spelt out by the New Economic Model, viz: “Malaysia must 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”.

Any doubts about the lack of political will and leadership of the Najib administration to spearhead political, economic, social and government transformation which must be the pillars for Malaysia’s economic and national salvation are banished by the recent Umno General Assembly and Najib’s Presidential Address and Closing Speech.

What reaction does Najib expect to elicit when he used the language of “crushed bodies, lives lost” for Umno to defend power at any cost in Putrajaya and even talked about “ethnic cleansing”?

How can the Malaysian Chronicle editor Wong Choon Mei be harassed and victitmised of publishing a report using these terms, when this was exactly what Najib said, regardless of the English translation issued by Bernama?

This was what Najib said in his Umno Presidential Address last Thursday:

“Walau berkecai tulang dan juga badan, walau bercerai jasad dari nyawa. Saudara dan saudari, walau apa pun yang gerjadi, Putrajaya mesti kita pertahankan!”

Pakatan Rakyat parties of DAP, PKR and PAS are also prepared at any cost to capture power in Putrajaya in the next general election and end the long decades of BN/Umno misrule and misgovernance, but we are fully committed to achieve this objective by peaceful and democratic means through the ballot box and we do not talk about “crushed bodies, lost lives” or “ethnic cleansing”.

The Prime Minister must come to Parliament to explain what he really meant when he used these terms as there is more than a threat that he would not accept the electoral verdict of the people for a change of Federal government from BN to Pakatan Rakyat and that he is prepared to abandon the democratic process and subvert the rule of law to perpetuate himself and Umno in power.

The leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties were asked to give their reactions to Najib’s speech after his Umno presidential address and Malaysians are very disappointed that not a single one of them, whether MCA President, Gerakan President, MIC President or president of the other BN component parties dare to express their disagreement or concern with Najib’s use of the language of “crushed bodies, lost lives” and “ethnic cleansing”.

Not even now, after more than a week! Does this imply that they all fully agree with Najib’s implicit threat or are they so impotent and irrelevant that they dare not speak up what is in the minds of ordinary Malaysians?

There is however another side to the coin of Najib’s “crushed bodies, lives lost” speech – for it reflected a realization that Umno and BN could be voted out of power in Putrajaya in the next general election by the Malaysian electorate.

Najib had himself told Umno that Umno must reform or it will be reformed – that he would execute the New Economic Model or he will be executed!

Najib has found that he biggest enemies of his four critical signature pillars to effect a national transformation come from within – whether 1Malaysia People First Performance Now concept, Government Transformation Programme, New Economic Model and to use the Tenth Malaysia Plan and the annual budgets to operationalise the GTP and ETP.

I commend the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for his courage and conviction in declaring that he is Malaysian first and Malay next, although more than six months after I had thrown the challenge in Parliament to all Ministers whether they have the 1Malaysia DNA and are prepared to declare that they are Malaysians first and their race second, which is the declared objective of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept.

I share his disappointment when he said in a recent interview that he was puzzled and regretted why his Cabinet colleagues did not speak out as he did, even the Ministers from MCA.

Let me quote Nazri said in his interview with the Red Tomato publication:

“They are people who are just like me in the cabinet, but they are afraid. Even the MCA ministers, none of them has repeated what I’ve said that they are first Malaysians then Chinese – none of them. To me, it is not right to say that if we had said so, then we’d fall into the ‘trap’ of Kit Siang.

“What ‘trap’? The Indian Ministers didn’t come out to say that, other Malay Ministers did not, Kadazan and Iban Ministers also didn’t say so. I am a Malay, yet I’m taking the risk to come out to say. Why others can’t? Let me tell you, they all agree with me….”

Let all the Ministers, whether Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah and Sarawak BN component parties explain and declare during the winding-up of the budget debate what is it they are afraid of and why they dare not declare that they are Malaysians first and race second as propounded by the 1Malaysia concept?

Ex-top cop Mat Zain's Open Letter is testimony that criminal justice system had further deteriorated after 2005 Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission report

Recently, both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had made great play about the successful NKRA on crime reduction, claiming that there have been a drastic drop in the crime rate particularly in street crime with improvement of the crime index since January this year.

However, up and down the country, ordinary Malaysians do not feel this dividend of fall of crime index in their daily lives as they do not feel comparatively safer in the streets, public places or privacy of their homes as compared to previous years.

In fact, the continued mushrooming of gated and guarded communities in the country is most eloquent proof of the failure of the police force in the country to discharge its most basic duty, to ensure that Malaysians, visitors, tourists and investors enjoy the two fundamental rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime.

In its 2005 Report, the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission made 125 recommendations to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service focused on three core functions – to keep crime low, to eradicate corruption and to uphold human rights.

Five years have passed. Have we progressed or regressed in the overall objective of the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission Report to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police service capable of performing the three core functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and uphold human rights?

In my view, the police report card based on the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission Report is in red ink as there is regression instead of progress in all the three police core functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and uphold human rights.

But this is not only the view of Malaysians outside the police force but also that of independent, dispassionate and objective former officers of the police force.

In this regard, I refer to the Open Letter by a former top cop, former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Mat Zain Ismail, dated 8th October 2010 which is powerful testimony that the criminal justice system had worsened after the 2005 Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission Report.

Mat Zain was the police officer who headed the initial investigation into the 1998 case of Anwar Ibrahim’s “black eye” assault while in police custody in Bukit Aman and recommended that the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor be prosecuted for criminal assault against Anwar, but his recommendation was ignored until a Royal Commission of Inquiry was subsequently set up resulting Rahim being found guilty and sentenced to two months’ jail.

Mat Zain recounted in his Open Letter when referring to the investigation into Anwar “black-eye” assault case in 1998, that he had to decide at the time whether to salvage the honour of PDRM or that of Rahim Noor and he decided with sadness to propose that Rahim Noor, whom he had the highest respect as a leader, a colleague and family friend, be prosecuted under Section 323 of the Penal Code.

Mat Zain wrote the Open Letter to Datin Kalsom Taib, wife and biographer of Datuk Shafee Yahaya, former head of the Anti-Corruption Agency, in response to questions asked in her book about police investigations into allegations against former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for abuse of power in June 1998 in ordering a halt to corruption investigations against Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman, head of Economic Planning Unit. Mat Zain was the officer in charge of investigations into the allegations.

Mat Zain was also the officer responsible for the investigations into the four police reports lodged by Anwar from 9th July 1999 to 20th August 1999 when in Sungai Buloh prison on abuses of power and obstruction of the process of justice directed against Mahathir, the then Attorney-General the late Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, current Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail as well as reports of corruption and abuses of power against Tun Daim Zainuddin, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Cik and the late Tan Sri Eric Chia.

Mat Zain revealed in his Open Letter that he had written in May this year to Tan Sri Ismail Omar, then Deputy IGP and to the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, for a review of the investigations into the false evidence produced against Anwar in the “black eye” assault case of 1998 “to protect the credibility, impartiality and image of the of PDRM which had been seriously affected since 2006”.

Mat Zain made the very serious allegation that former IGP Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Gani Patail had allowed fabricated evidence in the Anwar Ibrahim “black eye” assault case and must be held responsible for the current mess of the criminal justice system.

Mat Zain asked in the Open Letter:

“Apa sudah jadi dengan Sistem Keadilan Jenayah kita?....Siapa yang sepatutnya dipersalahkan? Siapa yang menyebabkan Sistem Keadilan Jenayah kita menjadi kucar kacir sehinggakan sesiapa juga boleh mempermain-mainkannya tanpa takut kepada sebarang tindakan dan hukuman undang-undang? Saya tidak teragak-agak untuk menyatakan bahawa keadaan ini berpunca daripada ‘precedent’ yang dibuat oleh Tan Sri Gani Patail dan Tan Sri Musa Hassan sendiri.”

Gani Patail, Musa Hassan or the Home Minister Hishammuddin and IGP Ismail cannot keep mum on this most incriminating and devastating Open Letter by a former top cop and I call on the Home Minister to give a full and satisfactory accounting on this matter to Parliament.

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



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