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by Lim Guan Eng
(Batu Pahat, Sunday
): Only by giving DAP a historical breakthrough in a MCA stronghold like Johor can the people reject BN’s beggar politics and diabetic economic policies that has caused Malaysia to be less competitive where we are now 3 times worse off than South Korea when we were 3 times better off 30 years ago before the implementation of the New Economic Policy(NEP).
Only by allowing DAP to win Parliamentary and state seats in Johor especially for the first time in areas such as Johor Baru or Batu Pahat, then only can we ensure that new Chinese primary schools are built based on education needs and not on political needs of UMNO. MCA Vice-President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is wrong to say that building new and relocate Chinese schools from rural to urban areas to meet the Chinese community's present and future needs is a moral obligation to MCA.
Building new Chinese primary schools is not a moral obligation, it is a firm political commitment by MCA that should be sufficient to trigger off resignation of MCA Ministers if the BN fails to fulfill this promise. MCA’s failure to make it a commitment that can not be compromised has resulted in BN refusing to build new Chinese primary schools in heavily congested areas in Johor Baru.
Dong Jiao Zong had estimated that there is a shortage of 21 Chinese primary schools and 105 acres of land are needed to build these schools in Johor Baru.(see table). Instead of 57 Chinese primary schools, there are only 36 Chinese primary schools in the Johor Baru area, including Kulai. When are these schools going to be built? If the government only builds five or so Chinese schools every four years once when an election comes, then it will take 188 years, or 47 elections, before the 134 schools will be completed
The Chinese community must refuse to be treated like “beggars” by rejecting UMNO and BN’s “beggar politics” and demand political equality as well as equal economic and employment opportunity. 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 by Hishamuddin of new Tamil primary schools by sorely required by the Indian community? Only Samy Vellu has revealed that there are 21 new Tamil primary schools by till today he still can not produce the list of new Tamil primary schools demanded by Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang.
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”
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.
In contrast to UMNO’s “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.
Malaysians must reject diabetic policy traps like the NEP that has lost us not only 3-4% economic growth yearly but will also destroy the economic health of the Malays and Malaysia. 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 and avoid answering the questions asked by poor Malays, “Where has all our money gone?”.
NEP can be likened to diabetes. Giving NEP is like giving sweets. Initially it is good but the more sweets we take, the unhealthier we become. 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. Instead of facing up to the challenges of globalization and a free world market economy, the NEP has done the reverse by making the country more inefficient, less competitive and less 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 bumi equity is only 18.9%, far below the 30% target in the NEP. However this 18.9% is based at par value which is not an accurate estimation of real worth. No one in the world uses par value to calculate real worth except Malaysia. The correct methodology to measure real worth would be market capitalization value. Based on market value, Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute(ASLI) estimated that bumi equity is actually 45% or more than RM 325 billion.
The revelations by ASLI expose the real reasons why UMNO leaders continue to provoke racial sentiments and blame the Chinese by using them as scapegoats for the so-called failure of the NEP. By denying the fact that the bumi equity is 45% based on market value, UMNO leaders are making a desperate attempt to distract attention from poor Malays asking who are the rich Malays who have benefited from this RM 325 billion and demanding a share of such wealth.
Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was right when he mentioned that the Chinese in Malaysia were systematically marginalized but he was half-right because he forgot to include Indians, orang Asli, poor Malays and bumis from East Malaysia. Malaysian can not continue to give Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a 91% electoral mandate when he fails to deliver his promises to enlarge democracy, end corruption, end political double-standards and discriminatory policies such as the New Economic Policy, quotas, income inequality and socio-economic injustices.
The time has come for Malaysians to undertake the historic mission to punish BN by denying them their 2/3 majority for failing to fulfill their promises and marginalizing all Malaysians, especially refusing to share the country’s wealth with all Malaysians regardless of race or religion.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP