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

(IpohMonday): 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:


  • An education system of excellence with world-class universities and quality primary, secondary, mother-tongue and ICT education.

  • Zero tolerance for corruption and culture of integrity in public service with Malaysia ranked among the world’s ten least corrupt nations within a decade;

  • World’s top dedicated and most efficient civil service; and

  • Most IT-literate populace and a leading IT power.


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