Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 10th February 2010:
What is Najib’s response to the PERC’s “blistering” report and the prospect of Malaysia becoming even more uncompetitive internationally because of his failing strategy to be “all things to all people”
Yesterday, I criticised the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for coming up with a wishy-washy “1Malaysia” concept, which has come to mean “a thousand and one” different things even to Umno and Barisan Ministers and leaders – resulting in his lament that “I am greatly saddened that such an idea, which is not terribly complicated, is so often not understood.”
This criticism has found support in the latest report of the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) on Malaysia which is quite pessimistic about the Najib strategy of “trying to be all things to all people, but in the end he might satisfy no one”.
In what Malaysian Insider has described as a “blistering report” on Malaysia at the end of January, PERC raised Malaysia’s risk index from 5.24 in December to 5.4 in January – out of a possible maximum score 10 for highest level of risk.
PERC maintained in its report that foreign investments into Malaysia have not been forthcoming, either in direct form or in the equity markets.
It said: “Foreign companies and investors are remaining cautious until they see how Malaysia gets its own house in order.”
PERC is confirming the alarm raised by all astute observers of the Malaysian national scene – that Malaysia is sliding down the slope of becoming even more uncompetitive internationally despite Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan and plan for a Malaysia 2.0 new economic model.
The PERC report said it is “probable” that no other Asian country is suffering from as much bad international press as Malaysia.
Among the developments that caught the attention of world media were the theft of military jet engines, detention of terror suspects from a number of African and Middle East countries following warnings that Islamic militants were planning attacks on foreigners at resorts in Sabah, renewed ethnic and religious “violence” that included arson at some churches and desecration of mosques, and controversy over the integrity of key institutions like the judicial system in the sodomy trial of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The PERC report is highly critical of Najib’s premiership, as it states:
“Mr. Razak’s attempt to put the best spin on a bad situation is understandable. He is fighting for his political life and is trying to stop the erosion in confidence in Malaysia’s prospects.
“However, he is wrong in saying that Malaysia is being defined by the way the majority of the population are coming together. It is being defined by the ability of a minority to dominate the political agenda, shaping policy and compromising the reputation of key institutions in ways that hurt Malaysia’s reputation as a stable, attractive place for foreign investors.”
The PERC report said that while Islamic activists which are “threatening Malaysia’s secular credentials” are getting the widest coverage, it was the Umno elites, described as “a fringe group of insiders who have been able to profit disproportionately from the policies of the ruling coalition” that deserved the most attention.
“They are threatened with a loss of political power that could also impinge directly on their substantial business interests. Malaysia’s future will be determined largely by the tactics this group of insider elites resort to in order to stay in power and the success of those tactics. Their commitment to democracy is a major question mark. If they blatantly manipulate the system in order to remain in power, the public backlash could be worse than anything Malaysia has seen in its modern history.”
Yesterday’s latest judicial ignominy in Malaysia – the 5-0 Federal Court judgement attempting to legalise the illegal, unconstitutional, undemocratic and illegitimate power grab by Najib and Umno in Perak last year – is not calculated to inspire or enhance national and international confidence in Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
What is Najib’s response to PERC’s “blistering” report and the prospect of Malaysia becoming even more uncompetitive internationally because of his failing strategy to be “all things to all people”?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor