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Thursday, November 28, 2013

How to fix Malaysia in five easy steps

November 26, 2013
FMT LETTER: From Vivegavalen Vadi Valu, via e-mail

You often read about the never ending issues ailing our country and sometimes we get tired and frustrated by the politicians who run the country. The thing is, have you stopped to think that all our problems actually are a repeated cycle and can be solved easily?

Today, the Prime Minister is quoted to say “it’s either GST or face bankruptcy”. Now, while the statement may seem exaggerated it is not that far off the actual reality facing Malaysia’s looming economic disaster.

In 1993, the World Bank produced a 400-page report on the Asian Economies, and Malaysia was dubbed the ‘Tiger of Asia’ with an annual growth of 9% in comparison with South Korea’s 6% and Singapore’s 7%.

Our GDP per capita stood at US$350 in contrast to South Korea’s US$130. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was also at its highest of US$7.3 billion, whereas our market capitalisation was ranked 1st in Asia at 14.6% (excluding Japan).

Fast forward to the present, Malaysia has never recovered from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, and since then we have fallen behind Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, and now sits on par with Indonesia and Philippines.

While both Singapore and Hong Kong built up their portfolios by providing lucrative incentives and a favourable environment for investors to do business, Malaysia’s stock exchange recorded a drop in listings from 1,025 companies to 976 in 2009.

The final blow came from the World Investment Report 2010, which stated that Malaysia suffered a staggering 81.1% drop in FDI compared to Thailand’s 30.4% and Indonesia’s 44.7%.

This shocking indictment of the current economic state of our country should come as no surprise, for it was revealed that as of June 30, 2011, the country’s debt stands at 54% wherein if it touches 55%, the constitution will have to be altered to increase borrowings, and we may face a similar disposition as Greece and opt for a bailout.

As Malaysia continues to be ploughed under debts, the Government continues to spend lavishly, ignoring the economic climate to ensure that power remains in their hands. Most notably, petrol and sugar prices both respectively being subsidised have been kept in check although being distorted by market value. The question that begs to be answered is why, as petroleum producers, we currently face this deplorable situation?

The New Economic Model (NEM) proposed by the Prime Minister in the first year of his regime failed to curb our decline as he released Part 1 which effectively was rendered useless as we continued the implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which advocates racial-policies instead of merit based policies albeit using the backdoor. The 30% quota for tenders and projects reserved exclusively for Bumiputera’s continued and this further added to wounds of the economy.

Furthermore, the country’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) stands at #54 below countries like Rwanda while Singapore sits at #5. The perceived illicit outflow per annum stands at RM30 billion and it should therefore come as no surprise that the implementation of GST is a must as we can ill afford to depend on Petronas.

The crux of the matter here is mismanagement and corruption, nothing more and nothing less and the generation that will pay the ultimate price will be mine and yours. Then, how do we fix Malaysia?
  • Absolute judicial independence, practising proper separation of powers among the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature plus a shadow cabinet with funding allocated to provide for proper check and balance.
  • Revamp the MACC and PDRM with an independent commission reviewing abuse of powers to ensure those who are put in place to serve the people do just that instead of serving those who sign their monthly pay slips.
  • De-regularise government purchases, practice transparency with ethics and ensure total open tenders with documents of sale and purchase being made public.
  • Improving the education system with globalisation and pro-employment reforms with special emphasis given to children from rural areas, especially those from Sabah and Sarawak.
  • The banning of all racial politics and policies with maximum punishment meted out for repeat offenders. Enough of the bullshit that racism begins at home, it is time we implement a non-partisan and merit based system for all.
The question then is why isn’t it being done if it is in fact that easy? Politics. It does not matter if it is Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, none gives a two hoot about the rakyat public save maybe a few. What can you do about it? Simple, citizen activism – reclaim your rights and powers, as demanding for change will not suffice.

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