66-Day Countdown to 13GE – Why only aim at 60,000 people for Psy’s “Oppa Gangnam Style” performance on CNY in Penang?

The hot topic among Malaysians regardless of race, age and gender throughout the country second day in running is still Psy and his global hit “Oppa Gangnam Style”, especially the reported cost of RM3 million to bring the South Korean superstar to Penang to ensure a turnout crowd of 60,000 people for the Chinese New Year Open House of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Let all Malaysians have a great day and enjoy themselves with Psy and “Oppa Gangnam Style” in Penang on the second day of Chinese New Year on Feb. 11.

In fact, why only aim at 60,000 people and not go for 100,000 people or even 250,000 people from Penang, all over Malaysia and the neighbouring countries to make the sensational event with Psy really historic and memorable?

It will be really historic if Psy’s premier appearance in Malaysia can also inspire Malaysians to emulate South Korea to pull the country from its bootstraps to undertake a genuine national transformation in governance, politics, economics, education and nation-building to enable Malaysia to take a quantum leap in all aspects of national life in the second Merdeka of Malaysia.

Let Psy’s visit to Malaysia mark the beginning of a national debate and soul-searching as to how South Korea, from a country poorer and more backward than Malaysia more than 50 years ago when we achieved Merdeka, succeeded in catapulting itself into an economic power-house which is now much wealthier than Malaysia, with a per capita income two to three times higher than Malaysia, and more advanced than Malaysia in all fields of human endeavour.

The following 18-year series of Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) provides key to this answer:

Transparency International Corruption Perception Index

Year Malaysia South Korea
Rank Score Rank Score
1995 23 5.28 27 4.29
1996 26 5.32 27 5.02
1997 32 5.01 34 4.29
1998 29 5.3 43 4.2
1999 32 5.1 50 3.8
2000 36 4.8 48 4.0
2001 36 5.0 42 4.2
2002 33 4.9 40 4.5
2003 37 5.2 50 4.3
2004 39 5.0 47 4.5
2005 39 5.1 40 5.0
2006 44 5.0 42 5.1
2007 43 5.1 43 5.1
2008 47 5.1 40 5.6
2009 56 4.5 39 5.5
2010 56 4.4 39 5.4
2011 60 4.3 42 5.4
2012 54 49/100 45 56/100

[From 1995 to 2011, the scale from 10(very clean) to 0(highly corrupt) was used, which is now replaced to a scale 0 – 100 from 2012]

The 18-year annual TI CPI series 1995-2012 show:

  • For the first 11 years from 1995-2005, Malaysia was ahead of South Korea in being perceived as more clean and less corrupt than South Korea, even reaching a difference of 18 rankings in 1999, representing a difference in score of 1.30.

  • South Korea beat Malaysia in 2006, with 42nd ranking as compared to Malaysia’s 44th ranking, and after a draw in 2007 with both ranked in 43rd placing with 5.1 score, South Korea has never looked back in getting better ranking and score in the five years from 2008 – 2012, even beating Malaysia with a return difference of 18 places in 2011.

  • Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking and score in the past four years (2009 – 2012), which are the years under the premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, are the worst in the past 18 years; while South Korea’s ranking and score for the past four years are among the country’s best in the series.

The lesson is clear. In the past 18 years, and particularly in the past four years, South Korea’s governance in transparency and accountability have been successful in restoring public trust by turning back the tide of corruption while the reverse is the case in Malaysia.

This is one lesson Malaysia must learn from South Korea. Are Malaysians prepared to do so?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur