Speech by Lim Kit Siang on the Competition Commission Bill in Parliament on Wednesday, 21st April 2010:
Malaysia has degenerated into a “lebih kurang” nation thanks to four decades of Barisan Nasional “lebih kurang” government
In Tokyo yesterday the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is no more a focused and high-achieving nation.
He said: “In Bahasa Malaysia, we have lebih kurang or more or less; we should be less lebih kurang but more precise.”
Hu Shih, noted Chinese scholar, philosopher and a leading light of the 1919 May Fourth Movement once wrote an article to pinpoint the ills of China which made China “the sick man of Asia”, entitled “The Story of Mr. Lebih Kurang” to explain why China had become a nation of sloths.
Najib has correctly diagnosed the “Lebih Kurang” disease which has afflicted Malaysia turning the country into a “lebih kurang” nation and why Malaysia had slipped from one of the most advanced nations on achievement of Independence in 1957 – second in Asia after Japan – to be caught in a “middle income trap”, left behind by other nations like Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan and now at risk in losing out to even more countries like Thailand, Vietnam and even Indonesia.
Malaysia is losing out in international competitiveness, slipping to 24th placing as compared to No. 21 the previous year.
We once had a world-class university ranked among the world’s top 100 countries but have now lost that strategic advantage.
On Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index, it has been a story of relentless fall from 23rd placing in 1995 to 56th placing in 2009.
We have not been able to retain the nation’s best and brightest brains who could have ensured Malaysia continue as a focused and high-achieving nation – with some two million leaving our shores since New Economic Policy in 1970 because they are not convinced that they have a future in this country of mediocrity and “lebih kurang”.
It is this “lebih kurang” malaise which is the reason for institutions like the judiciary and the civil service losing public confidence and why highways and roof of stadiums collapse, hospitals are paralysed by fungus and sub-standard construction and a whole string of national woes.
If the Competititon Commission Bill is to make any significant contribution to make Malaysia a focused and high-achieving nation, then we must eliminate this “lebih kurang” mentality which has turned Malaysia into “a sick man” in the region.
Malaysia has degenerated into a “lebih kurang” nation thanks to four decades of Barisan Nasional “lebih kurang” government.
May be the only cure is to vote out the Barisan Nasional government in the next general election so that the country can earnestly start on the process of reform and renewal to become again a focused and high-achieving nation.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor