Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 13th January 2009: 

Almost daily reminder of deterioration of quality of life in Malaysia – whether in crime, health or education  

There is almost a daily reminder of deterioration of quality of life in Malaysia – with three news items today highlighting worsening crime, health and education conditions in the country.

The first is the shocking news “MIC division treasurer killed by intruders” (the Sun), on the latest victim of endemic crime in Malaysia – MIC Ipoh Barat division treasurer N. Sidambaram, 64, who was killed by six parang-wielding intruders in his house on Jalan Wayang in Buntung, Ipoh early yesterday morning.

This comes on the heel of the attack on the Tawau acting OCPD Supt Ramli Ali Mat who was seriously injured after being stabbed in his house by a group of five men and the attack on another policeman, L/Kpl S. Paramasivam, 49, who was beaten up by a group of 10 Mat Rempits using helmets and metal roads while on anti-crime rounds in Kuala Lumpur requiring five stitches for his wound in his head, both incidents happening in the first 12 days of the new year.

These crimes provide vivid illustration of the serious breakdown of law and order in Malaysia with the government unable to deliver its most elementary duty – to ensure the safety of its citizens, visitors and investors!

The second is the report that the dengue toll had climbed relentlessly to 112 dengue deaths last year – with the Health Minister, Datuk Liow Tiong Lai continuing to show no real ministerial concern or interest to the worst dengue epidemic and mortality figure in the nation’s history!

What has happened to Malaysia’s previous reputation for excellent public health services and standards?

The third is Singapore Straits Times report “Singapore’s top student is Malaysian” – Haw Sue Hern from CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, Singapore (who is from Subang Jaya ) who scored 10 A1s making her top O-level performer out of 36,640 students in Singapore.

This highlights the grave and continuing problem of “brain drain”, giving a most adverse reflection on the education system in the country - especially taken into account the indifferent and irresponsible attitude adopted by the Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is still to break his month-long silence and explain Malaysia’s disastrous showing in the 60-nation Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007 for Year-8 secondary students.

Instead of transforming ourselves from a nation with “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” into a “First World Infrastructure, First World Mentality”, we are heading in the opposite direction towards a nation with deteriorating quality of life for Malaysians.

When we have a Health Minister who is not concerned about the dengue epidemic and the unprecedented dengue toll and cases last year; a Home Minister not concerned about the endemic crime in the country where Malaysians are no more safe whether in the streets, public places or even in the privacy of their homes; or an Education Minister unconcerned about deteriorating educational standards, the first conditions for reform to ensure all Malaysians to enjoy quality healthcare, education and personal safety are just not present.

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