(Petaling Jaya, Monday):
his 2003 budget speech last Friday, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister,
Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad seemed
rather shy and ashamed of the K-economy
Master Plan when he made short shrift of it by devoting one mere line to
it, when he said:
“The Government has recently launched the Knowledge-Based Economy Master Plan based on knowledge, creativity and innovation to generate stronger economic growth without overly depending on capital and labour.”
There are reasons enough for
Mahathir to be rather shy about the
Master Plan and not to trumpet it in the usual fashion, such as:
fact, the K-Economy Master Plan had been formulated in violation of the public
pledge by Mahathir that it would be the product of a “18-month
process of national consultation,
brainstorming, drafting and national mobilisation" rather than a secretive,
8, 2000, at the Second Global Knowledge Conference, Mahathir announced that the K-economy
Master Plan would be the
"Strategic Initiative One" to reinvent Malaysian society to grasp the opportunities of the
said that the K-Economy Master Plan would be "for the entire nation and for
every citizen" and would not be drafted by the best brains behind
closed doors because it must be relevant to Malaysians and become a personal
master plan for all.
He said "the whole process of national consultation, brainstorming, drafting and national mobilisation should be completed within 18 months from this day" and that the formulation of the K-economy Master Plan would "not be an elitist process but one involving everyone from the teacher to his pupil, to his fisherman father, to the mechanic, to the secretary, janitor and the chairman of the board."
Nothing of what Mahathir pledged publicly about the formulation of the K-Economy Master Plan happened and this is why the K-Economy Master Plan has become the joke of the IT world – trundled on a bullock-cart, later than others, longest to complete and up till now still a mystery to MPs and Malaysians.
After its official launch by the Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Dr. Shafie Miohd Salleh on 9th September, my office tried to get a copy but was told that the K-Economy Master Plan are available only at the end of the month. Two weeks after Parliament had convened, MPs still do not have any copy of the K-Economy Master Plan when it should the centerpiece of the parliamentary debate on the 2003 Budget which starts today.
If the K-economy Master Plan,
which should be the most important
of all government Master Plans as it holds the key to Malaysia’s future
prosperity in the face of the challenges of globalisation and information
communications technology, is treated in such a shabby and contemptuous fashion,
it does not speak well about the commitment and necessary mindset of the
policy-makers and planners for a knowledge-based economy and society for
It is not too late for the
government to immediately table the K-Economy Master Plan so that every MP would
be armed with a copy and be sufficiently equipped to be able to debate
intelligently the K-Economy Master
Plan in the budget debate and the country’s future as a K-economy and society.