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by Lim Guan Eng
): Snap elections are expected next year when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Deputy Prime Minister announced that UMNO party elections scheduled for September 2007 by 18 months. Even MCA did not believe Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s denials of snap elections when it announced it is considering amending its party constitution to follow UMNO’s pattern of postponing its party elections next year for general elections.
The question is whether Malaysian voters will be compliant by continuing to give Badawi a 91% electoral mandate as in the last general elections or follow former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suggestions of a need for a stronger opposition to provide checks and balances in a democracy. It is clear that Badawi is looking towards snap elections as a way out to resolve the serious split within UMNO’s leadership between he and his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
So long there are still MPs and Ministers who support Tun Dr Mahathir, Pak Lah will remain in office but without with full powers as Prime Minister. Snap elections is cleaner than the bloody internecine battles of UMNO party election to cleanse his administration from Mahathir elements that continuously make Badawi seem weak and indecisive.
Even mosquito BN parties such as Deputy Minister and PPP President Datuk M. Kayveas do not fear Badawi and makes bellicose threats of PPP leaving BN, if PPP is not given any seats to contest at the next general elections. If Tun Dr Mahathir is the Prime Minister Kayveas would be immediately sacked as Deputy Minister and PPP expelled from BN for making such threats.
Continuing to give Pak Lah a 91% electoral mandate would only help him resolve his internal UMNO problems without bringing democracy or end corruption, political double-standards and discriminatory policies such as the New Economic Policy, quotas, income inequality and socio-economic injustices.
Corruption is so pervasive that even a religious institution like the Tabung Haji is not immune as the 2004 Auditor-General Report questioned such scandals as:
• the inordinate delay in the construction of the Matrade building which was to cost RM167 million but eventually took 12 years and RM287.5 million to complete; and,
• the case of Tabung Haji wrongfully paying RM436.38 million for two buildings when it should have been RM267.92 million.
The Malays must therefore wake up from “diabetic” policy traps such as the NEP that UMNO is using to enslave the Malays to blindly support UMNO. NEP can be compared to diabetes. Giving NEP is like giving sweets. Initially it is good but the more sweets we take, the more unhealthy we get. If we do not give up sweets, we will surely end up with diabetes which will kill us.
That is why the Malays must boldly reject such diabetic politics of patronage like the NEP and instead seek a policy based on merit, yet helps the needy, encourages self-help and gives equal opportunities to all. The NEP has made the country inefficient, less competitive and productive as well as more socio-economically inequitable.
The United Nations Human Development Report consistently list Malaysians as suffering the worst income inequality between the rich and poor in South-East Asia. This is conceded by the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP) which showed the share of income of the bottom 40% of the population declined from 14.5% in 1990 to 13.5% in 2004 whilst the share of the top 20% of the population increased from 50% in 1990 to 51.2% in 2004.
Whilst our country has made some economic progress in absolute terms as compared to 40 years ago, we are worse off in relative terms compared to countries such as South Korea. In 1966 annual per capita Gross Domestic Product(GDP) was less than US$ 130 as compared to Malaysia’s US$350. By 1980, barely 10 years after the NEP, South Korea had caught up with a per capita GNP of US$1900 as compared to Malaysia’s US$ 1,830.
By 2005 according to the International Monetary Fund., GDP per capita in South Korea had far exceeded Malaysia at US$16,421 as compared to Malaysia’s US$5,040. From a position where Malaysia was almost 3 times better than South Korea 40 years ago, the NEP has made us three times worse. Without the NEP, Malaysia would have an additional 3-4% economic growth every year.
Not many Malaysians, whether Malay or non-Malay are rich like UMNO, MCA or MIC millionaires. How many Malays own APs or shares or are millionaires like UMNO Youth Deputy President Khairy Jamaluddin who can own RM 9.2 million worth of shares or like Datuk Roslan Hashim who can spend RM 3.5 million for his wedding or Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi who can afford to give RM 42 million worth of properties and RM 1 million cash to his former wife.
Not many non-Malays are as rich as MCA Deputy Youth President Ling Hee Leong who became the youngest billionaire at 27 years old when he borrowed RM 1.2 billion to purchase 3 publicly listed companies.
UMNO claims that the 30% bumi equity in the NEP has not been achieved. This is another desperate attempt to distract attention from the fact that in terms of market capitalization bumi corporate share has exceeded 45% with more than RM 325 billion. Clearly UMNO wants to avoid being questioned by the poor Malays who are the rich Malays who have benefited from this RM 325 billion.
The Chinese Community Must Reject UMNO and BN’s “Beggar Politics”
Similarly the Chinese community must have the courage to reject UMNO and BN’s “beggar politics”. DAP expresses concern that MCA Ministers are allowing UMNO to manipulate the Chinese community to accept “beggar politics” as building one new Chinese primary school is a far cry like a “drop in the ocean” from the 134 new Chinese primary schools required throughout the country based on needs. What about Tamil primary schools? Why is there no mention of new Tamil primary schools sorely required by the Indian community?
The announcement by Education Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein Onn that there will be two new Chinese primary schools built under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP) namely SJKC Putra Height Selangor and SJKC Kulai II, Johor is politically motivated to save MCA. This is clearly an attempt to mollify the Chinese community angry with MCA following Deputy Education Minister Datuk Noh Omar’s announcement in Parliament on 20.9.2006 that not even one new Chinese or Tamil primary schools will be built under the 9MP.
However Hishamuddin lied as there is only one and not two new Chinese primary schools. SJKC Kulai II from Johor is actually a relocated school and not a new school. As for SJKC Putra Height Selangor, even though it is a new school, this is a Wawasan school applied for by ADUN Subang Jaya Dato’ Lee Hwa Beng, as proven in a letter dated 20 April 2004 by Tuan Haji Ahmad bin Abdul Rashid Ketua Sektor Pengurusan Pembangunan Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor.
What is one new Chinese primary school when Dong Jiao Zong(DJZ) announced that 134 new Chinese primary schools and 836 acres of land are required based on needs of the expanding Chinese population in Penang, Johor Baru as well as Klang Valley of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor? MCA should feel ashamed for getting only one new Chinese primary school when 134 new Chinese primary schools are required, is no different from playing “beggar politics”.
Why should the Chinese community be thankful to the government for the one new Chinese primary school when as taxpayers they have every right to expect their contributions to be utilised to promote mother-tongue education. Building only one Chinese primary school when 134 are required is no different from UMNO treating the Chinese community as beggars as it is clearly not enough and a mere drop in the ocean.
Beggar politics is prevalent not only on Chinese schools and Chinese education but also in economic opportunities, employment and university places. MCA and Gerakan leaders may be willing to be treated as political beggars by UMNO to save their Ministerial posts. At the next general elections, the Chinese community must speak with one voice to reject UMNO and its “beggar politics” and demand to be treated with respect and equal political rights, social justice and equal economic opportunities.
A New Commitment To Democracy, Accountability And Equal Opportuities.
There must be equal opportunities in education and employment to face the challenges of globalization. Malaysians must be encouraged and rewarded for hard work. Unless we are good enough we will not be able to compete internationally. We must liberate human resources and potential – for all people, not just a privileged few. Human resources, more so than natural resources, is the nation’s key both in economic and social progress.
The people should therefore judge the government’s economic performance in terms of competency and management, not on whether, “Are we better off now than before?”. But on the real question, “Should we not be much better off than we are now if the government was clean and competent”
In contrast to UMNO’s “diabetic” economic traps and “beggar politics”, DAP offers Malaysians a new and vital commitment to democracy and accountability within the institutions that govern us; a recognition of the multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society in which we now live; a belief in social equality and freedom through human rights practices and rule of law; and a commitment towards wealth creation and wealth distribution by means of good governance, social justice, public ownership of essential services as well as private enterprise that protects the interests of workers, consumers and small businesses.