22-Day Countdown to 13GE – Najib deserves an “F” in his NTP report card for failing to acknowledge, much less tackle the issues of Corruption, Crime and Education
Najib released his National Transformation Program (NTP) Report Card yesterday evening in his ‘State of the Union’ address that was broadcast live on mainstream media and also online. To no one’s surprise, he gave himself top marks in both the Government Transformation Program (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Program (ETP). Nearly all of the KPIs set were met, if not surpassed, in each of the National Key Results Areas (NKRAs) and the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs). But to borrow a phrase from a popular author, there are ‘lies, damned lies, and KPIs’. If we compare the stellar achievements of Najib’s report card in just three areas – Corruption, Crime and Education – to reality and also other more credible evidence, we are left with no choice but to give Najib an “F” for his NTP Report Card.
The Anti-Corruption NKRA achieved an unbelievable 97% score (out of 100%). Such a high score makes a mockery of the widespread perception that the BN government has failed miserably in walking the walk. This absurd score must not have taken into account Malaysia’s world leading worst ranking in the 2012 Bribe Payer’s Survey where 50% of respondents in the country acknowledged that their company has failed to win a contract or gain new business because a competitor has paid a bribe. Our top rank put us ahead of countries such as Nigeria (24%) and China (27%).
For one of the components of this NKRA – the number of people in the database of convicted offenders – a score of 132% was achieved because 395 offenders were included in this database compared to the target of 300. And yet, those who are guilty of grand corruption on a massive scale are left to roam and worse yet, allowed to continue to plunder the country and abuse their power. No one captures this phenomenon more than the Chief Minister of Sarawak who has ruled the state for 32 years and counting. Despite the many calls, both domestically and internationally, for our country’s anti-corruption agency to conduct a comprehensive investigation into his assets and finances; despite the fact that some sources, such as the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), have listed Taib’s wealth at US$15b (RM45b) which would make him the richest person in Malaysia; our Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) still refuses to prosecute Taib for corruption.
The recent explosive allegations revealed in a ‘sting’ operation by international NGO, Global Witness, have once again put the spotlight on Taib and his cronies but needless to say, our toothless MACC, together with our even more toothless Prime Minister, who signed the Transparency International Malaysia’s Elections Integrity Pact with Taib looking over his shoulder, will do nothing to get to the bottom of this international scandal.
The Reducing Crime NKRA achieved equally ‘astounding’ results. Overall crime has apparently been reduced by 27% over the past 3 years, Street crime has fallen by a whopping 41% over the same time period and the fear of becoming a victim of crime has also apparently fallen by an eye popping 57%.
But despite these seemingly significantly improvements in the Reducing Crime KPIs, there have not been any reports of even one neighbourhood in the Klang Valley which feels safe enough to stop operating private security guards in that particular area as a result of these improvements.
Doubts about whether crime has genuinely been reduced have not been assuaged by serious accusations that the Police have deliberately fudged crime statistics by shifting reports of crime from index to non-index crimes in order to meet their GTP KPIs. And the Home Minister and the Police have not shown any degree of transparency by not releasing detailed breakdown of these crime statistics by district and by type of crime. The PDRM annual report, which gives detailed crime statistics, was discontinued after the start of the GTP, perhaps in fear that the fudging of crime statistics would come to light. Even the former IGP, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, has called on the PDRM and on the Home Ministry to publicly disclose all the relevant crime statistics so that the people can get a more accurate picture of the crime situation in the country and see where the reduction in these crimes have decreased.
It is laughable and disgraceful that Najib’s report card still uses rankings such as the Global Peace Index (which includes items such as defense spending and the presence of wars) to try to ‘convince’ us that Malaysia is ranked as the safest and most peaceful nation in Southeast Asia.
Under the Improving Student Outcomes NKRA, 10 out of 11 KPIs were achieved with a score above 90%. The % of Band 6 and 7 schools (the worst performing schools) were decreased by 43.6% (compared to a target of 20%) and the % of Ban 1 and 2 schools (the best performing schools) were increased from 27% (compared to a target of 8%).
But these achievements fly in the face of Malaysia’s world leading fall in the International Mathematics & Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 rankings as well as scores. Malaysia fell being in 10th position in 2003 to 20th in 2007 and to 26th in the recently released 2011 results for Math scores. Malaysia also fell from 20th in 2003 to 21st in 2007 and then to the 32nd position in 2011 for Science scores. Malaysia also had the ignominy for suffering the largest falls in the Math and Science scores across all content domains (together with Jordan).
Such a result would have led to the resignation or the sacking of any Education Minister in any normal democratic country but here in Malaysia, the Minister of Education and Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yasin, has not even acknowledged this problem, much less try to find ways to address this serious decline in our education standards. Not surprisingly, the drastic fall in our TIMSS scores are not even mentioned in Najib’s Report Card.
There is a saying that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. In our case, we have a Prime Minister who not only fails to acknowledge our past and current mistakes, he takes pride, assurance and comfort in giving himself high marks for achieving KPIs which are set and measured by his own government and government agencies. Any rational person who evaluates just these three NKRAs would find the record of Najib’s government deeply and tragically flawed.
The only way for Najib and the BN to truly learn their lesson would be for the people of Malaysia to vote them out of government so that they can see what honest and efficient delivery will be like under a Pakatan Rakyat government. While we cannot promise an immediate “A”, we are confident that we can perform significantly better than Najib’s “F” in not just these three NKRAs but also in all other aspects of governing and governance.