marks of the 2006 Umno general assemblies – (i) racialist and seditious
speeches and keris-wielding undermining national unity and scaring away
foreign investment and (ii) total disregard by Umno delegates about
Malaysia’s losing battle for international competitiveness to face the
challenges of globalization
by Lim Kit Siang
Sunday) : The
2006 Umno general assemblies have two blots:
and seditious speeches, coupled with the insensitive keris-wielding second
year in succession by the Umno Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk
Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, undermining national unity and scaring away
foreign investment; and
Recently, more and more countries
are catching up and surpassing Malaysia in the various indicators denoting
international competitiveness. I will give three examples.
In the sixties
and seventies, the premier universities of Malaysia, Singapore and Hong
Kong ranked among the world’s top universities. Today, the top Singapore
and Hong Kong universities have maintained their world ranking while
Malaysian universities have virtually disappeared out of sight, with
Malaysia’s once premier university, University of Malaya struggling to
remain inside the 200 Top World Universities in the Times Higher Education
Supplement (THES) annual ranking, while totally omitted in the Shanghai
University Jiao Tong University’s Top 500 Wrold Universities ranking.
What is most humiliating to national pride and dignity is that Thailand’s
Chulalongkorn University have for two consecutive years surpassed
Malaysian universities in the THES 200 Best Universities Ranking.
Unctad World Investment Report 2006 revealed the bad news that Foreign
direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia dipped to US$3.97 billion last year
from US$4.62 billion in 2004 and that for the first time since 1990,
Indonesia had overtaken Malaysia in drawing FDIs.
plunge to the lowest ranking in 12 years in the Transparency International
(TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2006, falling five places from 39th
place last year to 44th place, or six places in the three years
of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister or 21 places since
the first TI CPI in 1995 when Malaysia was ranked No. 23. It hid another
tragic story of Malaysia’s decline in international competitiveness –
being overtaken by another country in the TI CPI. For the first 11 years
of TI CPI, Malaysia had always a better ranking than South Korea, and in
1998, Malaysia was 18 rankings higher than South Korea, being ranked No.
32 and No. 50 respectively. In the TI CPI 2006, however, South Korea had
overtaken Malaysia, being ranked No. 42 or two places higher than
Malaysia’s No. 44.
In his press conference after the
close of the Umno general assembly on Friday, Abdullah regretted that Umno
delegates did not debate enough about corruption.
It is the regret of the nation
and 26 million Malaysians that on the eve of the celebrations for
half-a-century of nationhood next year, the five-day Umno general assemblies
had been such a negative and divisive experience for Malaysians,
constituting a major setback for Malaysian nation-building and the Vision
2020 objective of achieving a Bangsa Malaysia.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman