Restoring Local Government Elections Would Help Malaysia Regain Our International Trade Competitiveness

- at the "
Restore The Third Vote" Dinner Organised By DAP Melaka
Lim Guan Eng

(Kota Melaka, Sunday): Malaysia’s drop in the World Competitiveness ranking from 16th in 2004 to No. 28th in 2005 behind Thailand(27) underlines the need for Malaysia to carry out structural democratic and economic reforms. The competitiveness report undertaken by the International Institute For Management Development and supported by the World Economic Forum, should worry Malaysians as this is the first independent and respected international economic report that places Thailand ahead of Malaysia. 

This perhaps explains Malaysian International Development Agency(MIDA) own figures where Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) in 2004 went down by RM 2.5 billion or 16% from RM 15.6 billion in 2003 to RM 13.1 billion in 2004. Total foreign and domestic investment went down by 1.4% from RM 29.1 billion in 2004 to RM 28.7 billion in 2003. 

And also explains why the economy is growing at 5.7% in the first quarter this year, many businessmen complains to me that their business has dropped by 20%! Who benefits from this economic growth when the mass majority of the people do not benefit apart from having to pay higher fuel prices? 

The World Bank academic report released on 9 May 2005 on the quality of local governance from 1996 to 2004 has included democratic rights as one of the key indicators. Malaysia’s performance in democratic freedoms and human rights was a failure from 51.8% in 1996 to 37.4 % in 2004. Clearly democracy and economic development is not mutually exclusive, both are independent.  

Restoring local government elections would help Malaysia achieve a passing grade in democracy and help regain our international trade competitiveness. Thus Malaysians would enjoy not only the democratic right to elect our leaders, good governance and accountability in the form of improved local government services, but also a favourable investment climate that would help the country’s development.

Sack The Entire Public Services Department (PSD) Responsible For The Shameful Rejection Of Scholarships For Top Scholars In SPM

Many Malaysians have been distressed by the shameful scandal of our top scholars denied Public Services Department(PSD) scholarships. It is ridiculous that the top Penang student in SPM have to shed tears of despair publicly before his appeal for a scholarship can be approved. Boys are supposed to shed blood and not tears but the Malaysian education system is so cruel and unjust to force boys to cry publicly.  

There are more such cases today such as the No. 4 top scholar in the country from Klang and No. 17 top scholar in the country from Melaka denied PSD scholarship despite being honoured by both the Prime Minister and Education Minister in a dinner  and presented with excellence certificates. What is the use of having a dinner with the Prime Minister if you are not good enough for a scholarship? 

DAP calls for the immediate sacking of the entire PSD responsible for the shameful rejection of scholarship for top scholars in SPM that has not only affected the country’s image but also caused cruel suffering and injustices to our students. By rejecting scholarships for top scholars, the PSD officials involved have shown that they are not qualified in their duties and judge who should be awarded scholarships. DAP suggests that the government should set up a committee comprising of those who were themselves previously top scholars to ensure that those who judge are at least equal to those whom they judge. 

The time has come to stop the problem of top scholars not getting scholarships, or university places for medicines or recognition from the government from becoming an annual ritual. MCA should stop trying to exploit cheap publicity from the misery of these top scholars by playing the hero and getting the Prime Minister to intervene to award these scholarships to the people. This annual ritual and sandiwara of MCA only shows the failure of MCA in getting the scholarship criteria institutionalized in an open, transparent and accountable manner.

DAP Must Regain Kota Melaka To Let BN See The Tears Of Injustices Of The People And Hear The Cries To Check Corruption

MCA have shown that they do not deserve the support given by the people of Melaka. For the first time in 35 years, MCA won Kota Melaka parliamentary seat. But what have the people gained in principles, ideals or economic development. In principle MCA is no different from a racist and communal UMNO that represents only Malays, where MCA only represents the Chinese and its membership is open to Chinese. In contrast DAP is open to all and stands for a multi-racial Malaysian Malaysia. 

In terms of economic development, BN leaders have given a new meaning to the term, ‘money politics”, where political power is used to enrich themselves and their cronies. Actions against VIPs involved in corruption were taken mostly before the 2004 general elections, whilst the 18 VIPs under investigation “disappeared” when nothing was heard of after the elections.  

Look at corruption in Melaka, this BN state administration is well on its way in the Malaysia Guiness of World Records as the most corrupt administration in Melaka history worse than previous Sultan that caused the downfall of Melaka to the Portuguese. Even UMNO could not accept this and had to take disciplinary action against Datuk Mohd Ali Rustam’s right hand man and Melaka State EXCO member Datuk Amid Nordin for money politics.  

Or MCA State Chair Datuk Poh Ah Tiam failure to prove his innocence over failed attempt to bribe and buy over Bandar Hilir ADUN  Goh Leong San for RM 1 million.  Or giving out so many Datukships indiscriminately including to those charged with criminal offences. Or a MBMB Councillor Sani bin Jantan committing conflict of interest by renting a kiosk in Hang Tuah Mall and owing rental of RM 41,000/-!  

Where else but in Melaka can you find a RM 210 million 21 km Sg Udang-Ayer Keroh highway or RM 10 million per km for a two-lane highway? Or a RM 1.7 million waterfall? Or a RM 880 rubbish bin that cost only RM 80? Or a RM 25,000 water fountain that costs RM 250,000 fountain? Or a  RM 125,000 toilet? 

But it is in MCA’s silence against such injustices that rings most loudly. Where is MCA when the people are bullied by the police or government contractors. Why are their MPs silent in Parliament and State Assemblies when:

  • UMNO Youth attacks the so-called meritocracy system because there are less than 60% of Malay students in law and pharmacy, whilst conveniently keeping silent about the fact that 90% of overseas scholarship recipients are Malays and that Malays form the vast majority in courses like medicine, accountancy and engineering at local universities.

  • The Higher Education Minister promising that non-bumiputera Malaysians will never ever step foot into UiTM.

  • The poor Chinese teacher's daughter with 11A1's being denied a scholarship, while others with 7A's and whose parents are millionaires being given scholarships.

  • Prof. K.S. Jomo, who was denied a promotion to Senior Professor (not even to Head of Department), although he was backed by references from three Nobel Prize winners. 

  • UMNO Youth accusing Chinese schools of being detrimental to racial integration, while demanding that Mara Junior Science Colleges and other residential schools be kept only for Malays;

  • At our local universities, not a single Vice-Chancellor or Deputy Vice-Chancellor is non-Malay.

  • A poor Indian lady having to pay full price for a low-cost house after being dispossessed from a plantation, whilst Malay millionaires demand their 10% bumiputera discount when buying RM2 million bungalows in a gated community.

  • Secondary school History (Sejarah Dunia) syllabus, advocates the racial supremacy concept of ketuanan Melayu as an important component towards Malaysia achieving Merdeka.

What have the people got from MCA’s victory in Kota Melaka except sweat and tears. That is why I wish to urge the people of Melaka to help DAP regain Kota Melaka to let BN see the people’s tears of injustices and hear their cries to check corruption.


*  Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary-General