67-Day Countdown to 13GE – Don't just idolise Psy and Gangnam Style but learn the most important lesson that UBAH in 13GE is a prerequisite for Malaysia to make the quantum leap

The talk of the country today is the 13GE secret weapon of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to attract 60,000 people to his Chinese New Year Open House in Penang at the iconic Han Chiang High School on Feb. 11 by inviting South Korean superstar Psy to perform Gangnam style.

The invitation to Psy is going to cost UMNO/BN and eventually the Malaysian people a "bomb" but most Malaysians, including Najib and UMNO/BN leaders, have missed the most pertinent point of the invitation to Psy for Najib's CNY Open House in Penang.

Malaysians must not just idolise Psy and Gangnam Style but learn the most important lesson that UBAH in the 13th General Elections is a prerequisite for Malaysia to make the quantum leap to become a fully developed country like South Korea.

UMNO/BN leaders have been trying to scare Malaysian voters by warning that if there is a change of Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 13GE, there will be chaos like the "Arab Spring" countries and Malaysia will become bankrupt in five, three or two years - depending on which BN leader is talking!

Why do Malaysians want change in the 13GE? Is it because Pakatan Rakyat leaders and Malaysian voters who support the notion of ending the 55-year UMNO hegemony and one-coalition government want chaos in the country and for Malaysia to become bankrupt in two, three or five years' time?

It is only the politically mendacious or the mentally retarded who could believe in such nonsense and garbage.

DAP and the Pakatan Rakyat have never advocated revolution but peaceful and democratic change through the ballot box.

Instead of comparing Malaysia with the "Arab Spring" countries, we should compare Malaysia with South Korea.

As late as the early 1960s, South Korea was one of the world's poorest countries, with a per capita income of less than US$100 - even poorer and more backward than Malaysia which was No. 2 in Asia after Japan in terms of prosperity and income, having a per capita income of US$200 when we achieved independence in 1957.

In the first decade of our independence, Malaysia is still ahead of South Korea as Malaysia's per capita GNP stood at US$290 as compared to South Korea's US$160.

Today, 55 years after Merdeka, South Korea has turned the tables, and from having half of our per capita income, South Korea's per capita income is two to three times higher than that of Malaysia. IMF for instance estimates that in 2012, South Korea's per capita GDP is US$23,021 as compared to Malaysia per capita GDP of US$10,578.

In 2011, an international investment bank report anticipated South Korea to rank among the world's top 10 wealthiest countries for per capita GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity in 2030 and 2040.

What is the secret of South Korea's economic success, transforming itself in half a century from a country which was poorer and more backward than Malaysia, with only half our per capita income to become two-to-three times richer than Malaysia - with stunning advancements reflected in every field of human endeavour, whether development of human resources, technology or even in the field of culture, as illustrated by the phenomenon of Psy and Gangnam Style?

The answer is to be found in the political reforms which South Korea underwent from authoritarian rule to greater democratisations in the past few decades which allowed South Korea to take its economy to an entirely new level of innovation and creativity.

Malaysians do not want to compete or be compared with "Arab Spring" countries. We have been overtaken by South Korea but we must dare to stand up to catch up and close the gap that has opened up between Malaysia and South Korea.

Let Psy and his Gangnam Style be a sober reminder to Malaysians that if we are to reach for new heights of national achievements and not to be stuck in the political, economic, educational and nation-building grooves as a result of 55-years of UMNO/BN rule, then UBAH in the 13GE is a national imperative and a patriotic objective.

Only then can Malaysia hope to produce our own Psy and Gangnam Style to even dazzle the world and South Koreans in their own country during their national festivities!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur