The spirit of “Malaysia Boleh” should be manifested in fields which will uplift Malaysia’s international prestige, honour and standing like having world-class universities ,ranking among the world’s ten least corrupt nations or among the world’s most dedicated and efficient civil service
- meeting of Perak DAP Branch leaders
by Lim Kit Siang
(Ipoh, Monday): In his 46th National Day Message, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysians can achieve success in any field provided they are willing to train themselves, be disciplined and not be greedy and impatient.
Mahathir is a great believer and promoter of the “Malaysia Boleh” spirit. This “Malaysia Boleh” spirit, however, should be manifested in fields which will uplift Malaysia’s international prestige, honour and standing like having world-class universities, ranking among the world’s ten least corrupt nations or the among the world’s most dedicated and efficient civil service.
In actual fact, in all these three fields, Malaysia had slipped, retreated and regressed as compared to the past.
In the sixties, Malaysia's sole university, the University of Malaya, was rated as one of the best universities in the Asia-Pacific but more than three decades later, it had suffered such a serious erosion of academic standards and quality that it was ranked a lowly 47th position out of 77 universities in the Asiaweek's 2000 ranking of Best Universities in the region, with two other named universities, Universiti Putra Malaysia in 52nd and Universiti Sains Malaysia in 57th position.
Malaysia has currently 17 public universities, 11 private universities, 4 foreign university branch campuses, 3 local private university branch campuses, 2 private university colleges and 516 private colleges/institutes of non-university status - but we do not have a single world-class university when we should have several by
our global development status. I do not think Malaysia even ranks among the world's 300-400 top universities.
At the recent Gerakan National Delegates Conference, the Gerakan leadership expressed satisfaction with Malaysia’s 33rd ranking out of 102 countries in the Transparency International(TI)’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2002, after slipping from the already poor 23rd placing seven years ago in 1995.
The dedication and efficiency of the Malaysian civil service have suffered serious erosion in the past 46 years. The announcement by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the biennial conference of the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) in Malta in April 1996 that Malaysia aimed to be the first country in the world whose 800,000-strong civil service qualify for the ISO 9000 quality standard was quietly buried and forgotten in less than two years, and has never been heard again!
In al these three cases, the “Malaysia Boleh” spirit had faltered and failed.
DAP will be writing to the next Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to suggest that future National Day Celebrations should break from the obsession with externals like flying the biggest national flag or most number of flags for the most number of days and instead focus on the real essence of patriotism in ranking Malaysia as world-class in meaningful measures such as having the best universities, among the least corrupt nations, having most dedicated and efficient civil service or the most IT-literate populace and knowledge-based economy.
DAP is prepared to make our full contribution to focus the “Malaysia Boleh” spirit on important fields of national life, such as:
For a start, DAP proposes to organize a series of public forums on these issues, starting with a public forum on “How to be among the world’s top ten least corrupt nations” in Petaling Jaya next Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2003. The DAP will be sending an invitation to Abdullah to speak at the forum or to delegate a Minister to represent him. The Anti-Corruption Agency director-general or his representative will also be invited.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman