Media statement by Lim Kit Siang at Parliament on Sunday, 17th October 2010:
Najib’s 2011 Budget is not a child of New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited policies
Despite all its bombast and pyrotechnics, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2011 budget is not a child of the New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited 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.
Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s obsession with mega projects like the proposed RM5 billion 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower is back with a vengeance.
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 88-storey 452-metre RM2billion Petronas Twin Towers was acclaimed as the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1998 (squeaking past the Chicago Sears Towers by 33 feet because of spires atop the Petronas Towers although the highest occupied floor in the Sears Towers was actually 200 feet higher than the top floor of Petronas Towers) but it was overtaken by Taipei 101 Tower (101 storeys, 509 metres) in 2004 and Shanghai World Financial Centre (101 storeys, 492 metres) in 2008.
The world’s tallest building is Dubai Tower (Burj Khalifa) – 828 metres with 152 storeys – completed this year.
Or is Najib harbouring the ambition to just build the tallest building in Asia. He will have to take into account South Korea’s Lotte World II, which is 501.5 metres tall with 110 storeys, expected to be completed in 2013.
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 and equal opportunity for all Malaysians.
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 Najib’s shocking attempt to compromise the civil service and government pensioners to enlist them to be Umno supporters.
When launching the Umno Club for retired government servants in his official residence at Seri Perdana last night, Najib said he is baffled that there are civil servants and government pensioners who support the opposition.
He said: “Civil servants should know better that it is only Umno that can ensure our survival.”
He asked: “I want to ask who were the ones who questioned Article 153 in the Constitution? Malay privileges; who questioned them?
“Who caused the incident of not offering prayers for the well-being of the king? Who wanted Universiti Teknologi Mara to be opened to the non-Malays. Not Umno, but the other side.”
In one fell swoop, Najib has demonstrated that his 1Malaysia policy and all the talk about economic, social and government transformation to underpin a quantum leap for the nation to escape the middle-income trap and achieve an inclusive, sustainable high-income developed nation in 2020 are all just bunkum.
What is worse, his utter contempt for MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, PBS and other Barisan Nasional component parties in his 1Malaysia scheme of things – as they are all irrelevant and immaterial to UMNO, making a complete mockery of his 1Malaysia policy.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor