60-Day Countdown to 13GE – When will Najib make a statement whether Malaysia can ever catch up with South Korea or at least begin to close the yawning chasm between the two countries?

On the occasion of Korean pop superstar Psy’s Gangnam Style performance at the Prime Minister’s CNY Open House in Penang tomorrow, will Datuk Seri Najib Razak make a statement whether Malaysia can ever catch up with South Korea or at least begin to close the yawning chasm between the two countries?

A Cabinet Minister said Psy’s appearance will make Penang world-famous but it is more important that Penang and Malaysia become world-famous because of our own achievements in all fields of human endeavour.

Sixteen years ago, when we proclaimed the Multimedia Super Corridor as “a gift to the world”, Malaysia and South Korea were on the same level embarking on the IT journey.

Today, MSC and Malaysia have faded away from the world radar screen as an international IT hot spot, while South Korea has powered ahead to become the first country in the world to become a broadband society as well as the land of fastest internet in the world – with an average internet speed in 2012 of 14.7 Mpbs, 650% higher than the average 2.2 Mpbs registered in Malaysia.

In fact, Malaysia is ranked among the world’s worst nations in internet speed – even slower than Thailand’s average internet speed of 2.9 Mpbs for 2012.

In good governance, Malaysia trails behind South Korea especially in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index in the past five years, where Malaysia is perceived as more corrupt, ranging No. 47 to 60 in world ranking in contrast to South Korea’s ranking from 39 to 45.

In the latest 2002 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders), Malaysia hit a historic low in ranking at No. 145 while South Korea is ranked No. 50.

Recently, the 2011 Trends in Mathematics and Science Survey (TIMSS) highlights that Malaysia is the country which suffered the biggest drop in scores among all participating countries for both mathematics and science, while confirming the continuing pattern of domination by a group of Asian education systems – South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong – in these two critical subjects.

Malaysia woefully lags behind South Korea in educational excellence. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-2013, four South Korean Universities are listed among the World Top 200 Universities while six in the World Top 400 Universities – but not a single one from Malaysia.

Has Najib any answer to the question why Malaysia is lagging so far behind South Korea in all fields of human endeavour, when 56 years ago when Malaysia achieved Merdeka, South Korea was poorer and more backward but is now two or three times richer than Malaysia?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur