To all Malaysians who believe that Malaysia deserves better

As we count down towards this ground-breaking 13th General Election, you can play a significant role in changing the course of our country’s history. By simply daring to change, you bring a brighter future for a Malaysia free from fear, free from ignorance and free from corruption.

Malaysia Deserves Better!

This historic general election will be about the economy and which party has the correct policies, ideas, ideals and principles to make our livelihood better.

Malaysia is caught in a middle-income trap. Many find it hard to believe that in 1966 Malaysia’s GDP per capita of USD350 was ahead of South Korea’s USD130. Almost fifty years later, Malaysia has improved to USD9,977 whilst South Korea jumped ahead of Malaysia to USD22,424.

Since March 2008, a 2-party system gives us both a choice but also make our choices count. Countries that were once less developed than us like South Korea and Taiwan have transformed into high-income economies while we remain stuck in the middle-income trap.

In 1963, Malaysians were richer than the Koreans and Taiwanese, with a per capita income of 13.6% relative to US income, whereas Korea and Taiwan per capita incomes were both lower at 10.7% and 12.6% respectively. 50 years later today, Malaysia is way behind being only half as rich as Korea and Taiwan.

Income as % of US income (in GDP per capita)

1963 1996 2007
Taiwan 12.6% 55.7% 66.8%
Korea 10.7% 49.9% 61.4%
Malaysia 13.6% 30.7% 31.9%

There are 3 critical success factors namely a functioning democracy, fighting corruption and building human talents. Bad governments that fail to deliver are replaced through democratic elections by good governments resulting in progressive reforms and improvements. Corrupt leaders are replaced by those with integrity. And the country’s prosperity is underpinned by building and retraining human talent.

The greatest gift that a good government can bestow to our future generation is not cash handouts but knowledge, education, a just system with integrity and equal opportunity. Only then can we live with dignity and our young live better than us.

Malaysia Deserves Better.

In contrast to these two countries, Malaysia is No.1 in the world in terms of illegal capital flight per capita, with a loss of RM 32,000 for every Malaysian, which is more than even China with a loss of RM6,400 per capita during the same period of time. No wonder then, that our national debt has doubled from RM267 billion in 2007 to over RM502 billion today, five years later.

To top it off, Malaysia has been running a budget deficit for 15 years in a row. The last time Malaysia recorded a surplus was when Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister. It is imperative that he be elected as Prime Minister to put Malaysia back in the black.

By learning from South Korea’s three critical success factors, we can arrest Malaysia’s graceful decline. Pakatan Rakyat has proven that we can run a clean, accountable and transparent state governments. We have overturned deficits into surpluses, reduced our state debts, increased our assets and reserves, and managed to save billions of public funds through open competitive tenders. More importantly, we have channelled our savings to the people through our people-centric social programmes. With your help and support, we can do the same for Malaysia.

Malaysia Deserves Better!

I also wish to assure you that policies which will benefit the people will not bankrupt our country – only corruption will. Our promises in our Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto amounting to RM46 billion can easily be funded by an “anti-corruption dividend” of 25% from the RM206 billion worth of annual government procurements and projects. 25% amounts to RM51 billion in savings that we can potentially reap, which is more than enough to pay for our promises.

Let us move forward to an international and intelligent state – one that educates and nurtures talent; one that promotes and rewards diligence, expertise and entrepreneurship; one that is liveable by being clean, green, safe and healthy; and one that practices integrity, justice and people-centric governance.

Malaysia Deserves Better.

The only progress is change. Only when you have the courage to change, then can you live with dignity. The time has come for us to connect with each other as Malaysian brothers and sisters.

Where your problems be it Malay, Chinese Indian, Kadazan or Iban are our problems. Where your leaders, are our leaders. And where your children, are also our children. And where your hopes are our aspirations.

We do not want to fear the government but the government to fear us. Join us in giving hope to you and the young.

Let us connect with each other so that we can face the challenges of the future together. In preparing for the future, let us not let BN steal our children’s future as they have stolen ours for the last 56 years. Ini kali lah!

Malaysia Deserves Better.

DAP Secretary General
Open letter by Lim Guan Eng in to all Malaysian voters following the dissolution of Parliament to make way for the 13th General Elections on Thursday, 4th April 2013