Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, on the Second Outline Perspective Plan, 1991 – 2000, in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, June 17, 1991
The 20-year objective of New Economic Policy and First OPP to build a united Malaysian nation has failed and is being postponed for 30 years under the Vision for 2020
I wish firstly to register the strongest possible protest against the lack of time to Members of Parliament to study the Second Outline Perspective Plan (OPP) and the Report of the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) and to get public feedback before a parliamentary debate on the OPP.
I had suggested that MPs should be given at least one week to study the OPP and to get public feedback, but this had fallen on deaf ears.
In his motion, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, proposed that this House “menyeru semua rakyat Malysia dari berbagai lapisan masyarakat bekerja dengan lebih gigih dan bersedia menghadapi cabaran-cabaran sosio-ekonomi dan politik masa depan selaras dengan semangat Rukunegara dan bersama-sama bersatupadu dalam usaha yang berterusan untuk membangunkan sebuah negara yang adil, progresif dan berdayatahan”.
In not giving ample time for all MPs to study the OPP and the NECC Report and the Malaysian people to give feedback of their reactions, the Prime Minister is himself disregarding and violating this ‘spirit of Rukunegara’ which he is urging all Malaysians to arm themselves with to face the socio-economic and political challenges of the future.
Dr. Mahathir seems to have forgotten that the five Rukunegara principles are dedicated to among other things, the maintenance of a democratic way of life.
In treating MPs and public opinion so cavalierly in refusing to give ample time for all concerned to study the OPP and the NECC Report – in fact up to now, the NECC Report had not been made available to Mps although the Government had promised to make it public – the Prime Minister is only giving lip-service to a democratic way of life for he is treating Parliament as a mere rubble-stamp whose only role is to give formal approval to what had been decided by the Executive.
In a Malaysian where the Rukunegara is lived in its true spirit, there would be a genuine democratic way of life, and Parliament would not be treated in this fashion by the Executive or the Prime Minister of the day, for Parliament would have a important and meaningful role in the formulation and decision on national policies including the OPP.
This dismissive treatment of Parliament is further underlined by the Prime Minister’s departure later today, leading a troupe of Cabinet Ministers, for three-week visit to South America – which seems to convey the message that what is said or done in Parliament, whether by the Opposition or by government backbenchers, is absolutely and completely irrelevant !
Parliament in fact is being told that as the OPP motion had been formally presented, the Government is not bothered whether MPs have got the time to study it before debate, or whether they debate without reading or studying the OPP. The Government is not interested in the OPP formal approval at the end of the debate.
The OPP is not a Plan of all Malaysians or product of national consensus of the Malaysian people but the Plan of a handful of men.
In refusing to maintain the essence of a democratic way of life where the public participate in the formulation of important national policies, the OPP, although it would be passed by Parliament, would NOT be a Plan of all Malaysians, but only a Plan of a handful of people.
In fact, although the Cabinet gave its approval for the OPP early this month, very few Ministers really understood what it was all about. This is why there was the spectacle of two senior Cabinet Ministers publicly disagreeing as to what the Cabinet had agreed about the OPP.
The MIC President and Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Posts, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, claimed that the Cabinet had agreed to categorise the Indian community as separate from the other non-bumiputras in the Outline Perspective Plan, but the Finance Minister and UMNO Vice President, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, immediately issued a disclaimer, denying that the Indian community would be grouped separately from the other non-bumiputras in the OPP.
How could two senior Cabinet Ministers disagree on such an important matter in the OPP, unless the OPP was given the most cursory treatment by the Cabinet, with most Ministers acting as ‘yes-men’ without really studying or understanding the OPP .
Having rammed the OPP through the Cabinet without giving the Ministers ample time to study and understand it, it is now Parliament’s turn to get this treatment- where MPs are not given adequate time to study it and to get public feedback.
Let me sound a warning that if it is the Barisan Nasional Government’s intention to make the OPP the centrepiece of its national policy which can mobilise and unite the energies and commitments of all Malaysians not only up to the year 2,000 but also the Vision of Malaysia in 2,020, this is the wrong way to go about it.
By refusing to give MPs ample time to study and contribute to it, and even more important, to give time to the public to give their feedback, the OPP will be a Plan of a handful of leaders and not a plan of all Malaysians because the people at large, even their representatives in Parliament, had been denied the chance to contribute to its final formulation.
The OPP will therefore lack the legitimacy and credibility of being the product of the national consensus of all sections of the Malaysian society and people.
This will be particularly unfortunate as it is clear that the 20-year objective of the New Economic Policy and the First OPP 1970-1990 to build a united Malaysian nation had fallen and is being postponed for 30 years under the Vision of Malaysia for 2,020 spelt out by the Prime Minister to the Malaysian Business Council in February this year.
This failure was admitted right at the very outset of the Second OPP. Para 1.04 states: “ The NDP ( New Development Policy ) will set the pace to enable Malaysia to become a fully developed nation by the year 2020 not only economically but also in all other aspects. It has to be fully developed in terms of national unity and social cohesion, in terms of its economy, in terms of social justice, political stability, system of government, quality of life, social and spiritual values, national pride and confidence. The Government envisions that by the year 2020,Malaysia will be a united nation, with a confident Malaysian society, infused by strong moral and ethical values, living in a society that is democratic, liberal and tolerant, caring, economically just and equitable, progressive and prosperous, and in full possession of an economy that is competitive, dynamic, robust, resilient and socially just.”
This Government now expects to have a united nation in 2020, when21 years ago, when it launched the First OPP and the New Economic Policy, it envisaged a united nation in 1990!
As one major architect of the NEP had once said, we must not mistake the means for the ends of the NEP, The means are the two-prong strategy of elimination of poverty and restructuring of society, while the ends is the overriding objective of achieving national unity.
What is the success of this overriding objective of national unity of the EP and the First OPP? For substantial numbers of Malaysians, the NEP was not the force for national unity, but the chief causes for national division and in particular racial polarisation in the country.
I would have expected the Second OPP to devote a full chapter to asses the success or setback of the NEP to achieve its overriding objective of attaining national unity, for it is this criteria which must decide the ultimate success or failure of the NEP!
There is however no such assessment in the Second OPP, which can be taken as an admission by the Government that the NEP had failed in its overriding objective to archive national unity among the diverse races in the country.
When the DAP joined the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) in mid-1989 after all the DAP leaders had been released from detention under the Internal Security Act under Operation Lalang, the DAP representatives were shocked to find that although the NECC had formed five committees, one to review the implementation of policies concerning poverty, another to review policies on restructuring of society, a third on human resources development, a fourth on national economy and international development and a fifth on collection of data and methodology, there was no special committee to review the most important aspect of the NEP, namely, the overriding objective of achieving national unity!
The NECC would have served no purpose whatsoever if failed to deal with the most important issues in the NEP – which is to achieve national unity. I t was the result of the DAP’s specific proposal at the plenary session of the NECC that a sixth committee to review the achievement of the NEP’s overriding objective on national unity was formed.
I do not know what is the result of the deliberations of the NECC committee on national unity, as the DAP pulled out of the NECC later the same year when we became convinced that the Government was not sincere in making the NECC a serious and meaningful forum to search for a national consensus on national economic policies in the 1990s.
The Barisan Nasional government is not serious about the problem of national unity in Malaysia.
The omission in the Second OPP to asses the result of the overriding objective of the NEP to achieve national unity is a major defect.
When we take into account the recent launching, with great fanfare, of the new 33-member National Unity Advisory Panel, one reaches the inescapable conclusion that the Barisan National government is not serious about the issue and problem of national unity.
In fact, on the eve of the launching of the Second OPP and NDP, there was the irresponsible communlisation of the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City issue, particularly by UMNO leaders and the Gerakan National Vice Chairman who is also the Vise Chairman of the National Unity Advisory Panel, Datuk Alex Lee, to remind all concerned about the failure of the NEP to achieve national unity after 20 years.
As if this was not enough, there was also the open disagreement among Barisan Nasional leaders over the meaning of the National Culture, even publicly between the UMNO Minister for Culture, Datuk Sabarrudin Cik, and the Deputy Minister of Culture, Chan Kong Choy, over the Malaysian Chinese Cultural City project.
With the composition of the National Unity Advisory Panel, dominated by government officials at Federal and State levels which would ensure that the Prime Minister would only hear echoes of his own voice and rhetoric, there is nothing to indicate that this new body on national unity will not be as ineffective or irrelevant to the issues of national unity as its various predecessors of the past 25 years.
There are many other indices to show that the problem of national unity and national integration have become more complex and intractable in the past two decades, as the serious problem of the alienation of the people and States of Sabah from the Federal government, largely because of the politics of the harassment, victimisation, discrimination and persecution practiced by the Barisan National Federal Government, whether through the Internal Security Act or the anti-corruption laws; and religious polarisation in the country.
DAP’s proposal for NDP accepted by Government but not the replacement of ethic quotas and percentages by principles of equity and meritocracy
During the Fifth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review debate in Parliament in June 1989, I proposed that a new policy to replace the New Economic Policy (NEP) is required in the 1990s, which I called the NDP – National Development Policy.
The Government has announced that the NDP will replace the NEP, which will stand for the New Development Policy.
However, the DAP’s proposal that the NDP, which promotes national unity, economic growth and social equity, should replace ethnic quotas and percentages and ethnic perspectives with the Malaysian perspectives and the principles of social equity meritocracy have not been incorporated into the Second OPP and Barisan National NDP.
The policy of ethnic quotas and percentages remains in the Second OPP, although no specific time frame has been set for the attainment of the equity restructuring target of at least 30 per cent for bumiputras. In the year 2000, a review of the achievement of this target would be made.
For higher education, however, the policy of ethnic quotas remains intact .Thus Para 4.57 of the Second OPP states that “the existing policy on entry quota into the higher learning institutions among the various ethnic communities will be continued.”
As the OPP admits, the NDP is basically an extension of the New Economic Policy.
Unless the Government learns from the mistakes of the NEP, the NDP would probably be as divisive and destructive as the NEP as far as national unity and national integration are concerned. Twenty years after the NEP, the Government should have taken a brave step to stop dividing Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, for all Malaysians who are born and bred in this country are full-blooded sons and daughters of the soil – bumiputras of Malaysia!
During the Fifth Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review, I also called for a common vision for all Malaysians in the Year 2,000 and 21st century so that they could work in unison towards a common destiny although they lack a common past.
The NDP is now to set the pace for the first lap of the 30-year vision of fully development Malaysia by Year 2020 as has been expounded by the Prime Minister.
The DAP has no quarrel with Dr. Mahathir’s vision of a fully developed Malaysia in the Year 2020, just as nobody has any quarrel with the overriding objective of the NEP when it was launched in 1970 to achieve national unity.
Twenty years later, the NEP’s overriding objective of achieving national unity has proved illusory. Will Dr. Mahathir’s Vision in Year 2020 proved to be a equally illusory?
This is why what is important to consider about the Vision of Malaysia in Year 2020 or any long-term national plan is what are the premises on which they are based.
For the Vision of the Malaysia being a fully-developed nation by the year 2,020, Dr. Mahathir spelt out nine strategic challenges.
It is meaningless to spell out these nine strategic objectives for 2,020 unless we are prepared to take immediate and concrete steps in their direction. We cannot be sincere or serious about these nine strategic objectives or he Vision of Malaysia in Year 2020 if we are taking steps and actions which take us further and further form these nine strategic goals.
I will give a few examples. The first of the nine strategic objectives spelt out by Dr.Mahathir is the challenge of establishing a united Malaysian nation with a sense of common and shared destiny – a nation at peace with itself, territorially and ethnically integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership, made up of one “Bangsa Malaysia” with political loyalty and dedication to the nation.
I have said earlier in my speech that the thrust and implementation of the NEP in the past two decades took the country down the road in the opposite direction from this strategic objective. This explains for the serious problem of migration of Malaysian professionals abroad, the serious problem of racial polarisation in the country, and the alienation between the people of Sabah with the centre.
The nine strategic objectives should be a standard to measure and evaluate present government policies and decisions if it is serious about Vision for 2020 for Malaysia.
Are we prepared to de-emphasise our ethnic, cultural and religious differences, or in dividing Malaysians into bumiputras and non-bumiputras, or to take the first steps for all Malaysians to identify themselves as ‘Bangsa Malaysia” with the new laminated identity cards discarding the column of race?
We also see numerous examples where what the government of the day wants is not ‘political loyalty and dedication to the nation’ but ‘political loyalty and dedication to UMNO’, which explains for the political and development discrimination of Sabah and Kelantan.
Or take the strategic challenge of “fostering and developing a mature democratic society, practising a form of mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy that can be model for many developing countries”. Is the manner the OPP is being rammed through Cabinet and Parliament, without giving the MPs and the public adequate time for study, participation and public feed back, an indication of the type of ‘mature democratic society’ and ‘mature consensual, community-oriented Malaysian democracy’ that Dr. Mahathir has in mind?
Or the strategic challenge of ‘establishing a mature, liberal and tolerant society in which Malaysians of all colours and customs, cultures and religious beliefs and yet feeling that they belong to one nation”. If this is so, why then the controversy over the Chinese Cultural City project with all the communal and chauvinist outpourings by UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders or the stubborn refusal to amend the Selangor Islamic Law Administration Enactment or to modify Islamisation measures to take into account the legitimate sensitivities of non- Muslim Malaysians?
IF we are serious about the Vision of Malaysia in Year 2020 and the achievement of the nine strategic challenges to realise this vision, then these nine strategic objectives should begin to be a standard to measure and evaluate government policies, decisions and actions from now onwards!
Ensuring Malaysians enjoy universally recognised human freedoms should be the tenth strategic objective and challenge for Malaysia
There is one strategic objective omitted by Dr. Mahathir, which should be the tenth strategic challenge for Malaysians.
Dr. Mahathir omits the strategic objective of ensuring that Malaysians enjoy human freedoms which are universally recognised as in the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.
Dr. Mahathir seems to regard human rights as a dirty word and a dishonourable objective.
This may be the reason why the Malaysian Government was so hysterical over the criticism of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report 1991 which placed Malaysia 55th among 88 countries in the Human Freedom Index (HFI).
Malaysia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Tan Sri Razali Ismail, told the governing council of the UNDP in New York last week that the incorporation of the Human Freedom Index had tarnished the whole human development report.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, in attacking the UNDP Report, said that there were reports of a European country, categorised as having a very high level of human freedom, where free sex was practised and where even 12-year-olds were known to be allowed to have sexual relationships.
I do not know whether the latter part of the statement is factual, but in any event as far as I know, this is not one of the 40 indicators adopted by the UNDP for assessing the Human Freedom Index.
I have just received a copy of the UNDP Human Development Report 1991 and from the 40 indicators used to measure the Human Freedom Index, I agree with the Malaysian government that the indicator on the ‘personal right to homosexuality between consenting adults’ is objectionable.
Human Development is incomplete if it does not incorporate human freedom.
I find the other indicators a good measure of human freedom, like THE RIGHT TO travel in own country, travel abroad, peacefully associate and assemble, teach ideas and receive information, monitor human rights violations, ethnic language; THE FREEDOMS FROM forced or child labour, extra-judicial killings or “disappearance”, torture or coercion, political censorship of press; THE FREEDOMS FOR peaceful political opposition, multi-party elections by secret and universal ballot, political and legal equality for women, social and economic equality for ethnic minorities, independent newspapers, independent courts, independent trade unions; THE LEGAL RIGHTS to a nationality, being considered innocent until proved guilty, open trial, prompt trial, freedom from police searches of home without a warrant, freedoms from arbitrary seizure of personal property.
The Malaysian government can rightly object to the use of the indicator of the ‘personal right to homosexuality between consenting adults and to the placement of Israel on, a higher Human Freedom Index than Malaysia, and the DAP will give it full support. But these objections cannot detract from the great value of having a Human Freedom Index.
We must accept the truism that human development is incomplete if it does not incorporate human freedom. An objective, reliable human freedom index could be an important tool of human freedom.
It cannot be disputed that Malaysia has a low level of human freedom. Nobody in Malaysia is asking for the right to riot in the street and burn houses, but the human rights of the liberty of the person from arbitrary arrest, freedom of expression, thought, belief and information, a free press, the freedom of assembly and association and the upholding of the important democratic principles like the Independence of the Judiciary.
In Malaysia, violations of human rights and freedoms is everywhere for all to see. Only last month, the Sabah Foundation director, Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, was detained under the Internal Security Act for alleged involvement in a plot to take Sabah out of Malaysia.
Although the Government and the Police had been alleging that there had been such a secession plot for the past year, and had detained six other persons under the ISA, the Government had not been able to produce one iota of evidence to substantiate its allegation or taken up the DAP proposal that it issue a White Paper on the so-called Sabah Secession Plot.
The fact that the Malaysian Government does not accord a high place to human rights is to be seen by the fact that it had refused to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights which Malaysia voted in support in the United Nations General Assembly but had refused to ratify for the past 25 years.
I have a motion before the House to ratify the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, but the government’s regard for human rights is so low that it has refused to even accord time for a parliament debate on the motion.
South Africa has lifted it state of emergency, and even Taiwan has annulled its emergency laws. But Malaysia continues to live under four Proclamations of Emergency with the government showing no preparedness to end the four emergency decrees promulgated in the past quarter of a century. Can the government give a valid reason?
In his motion, Dr. Mahathir called on the people to be ready to face the political challenges of the future. Is the government itself prepared to face these political challenges which will determine the quality of life enjoyed by Malaysians
Why did the Government reject the NECC recommendation for a standing commission to check deviations, abuses of power, conflict of interest and corrupt practices.
The people are entitled to know why the Government has rejected the NECC Report and why it had refused to release it to the public as promised earlier.
I understand that one of the most important recommendations of the NECC Report if for the established of a permanent Royal Commission to monitor the implementation of the national economic policy to uphold the principle of the accountability and to check against deviations and all forms of abuses. This recommendation is in line with the fifth Rukunegara principle of ‘Good Behaviour and Morality’.
Another proposal the DAP made when we first joined the NECC was for a seventh committee to review the deviations, abuses of power, conflicts of interest, and all corrupt and unethical practices committed under the New Economic Policy.
The 1980s, in particular, was a decade of NEP scandals of deviations, abuses of power, conflicts of interest, corrupt and unethical practices and volumes would be needed to catalogue these ‘heinous crimes’.
This proposal was not accepted but sidetracked and after the DAP had withdrawn from the NECC, was allowed to rest.
One of the nine strategic challenges listed by Dr. Mahathir in his Vision of Malaysia 2020 was the “establishing of a fully moral and ethical society, whose citizens are strong in religious and spiritual values and imbued with the highest ethical standards’. If this is so, then how could the government reconcile this strategic objective with the rejection of the NECC recommendation for a Standing Royal Commission to prevent deviations, abuses of power, conflicts of interest, and all forms of unethical and corrupt practices under the national economic policy?
The NECC has recommended the following functions for the Suruhanjaya Di-Raja untuk Pengesanan Pelaksanaan Dasar Pembangunan Negara:
(1) Mengawas dan mengesan jentera pembanguan ekonomi negara dan memastikan supaya tindak pegawai Kerajaan serta badan-badan swasta menepati hasrat dan matlamat Dasar Pembanguan Negara.
(2) Memastikan supaya jentera pentadbiran Kerajaan dan sektor swasta dijalankan dengan adil dan saksama dan juga menentukan supaya tiada penyelewangan atau penyalahgunaan berlaku dalam sektor awam dan swasta;
(3) Suruhanjaya boleh menarik perhatian kepada pihak berkenaan sama ada dalam sektor awam atau swasta mengenai penyelewangan atau pengyalahgunaan, salahlaku, salah-tadbir dan sebagainya, dan membuat perakuan untuk memperbetulkan perkara yang terlibat;
(4) Mengumpul, menyedia dan menganalisa data dan perangkaan yang berkaitan dengan pelaksaan Dasar Pembangunan Negara;
(5) Badan ini juga boleh memperakukan supaya sesuatu undang-undang itu dipinda jika terdapat sebarang kelonggaran yang boleh membawa kepada penyalahgunaan kuasa atau penyelewangan.
Whenever complaints were raised about deviations and abuses of the NEP, the government would blame it on the implementors and implementation, but not the policy. It has however been rightly said that a Plan or Policy is as good as its implementation.
For this reason, I propose to move the following amendment to the motion tabled by the Prime Minister, by adding the following words to the end of the motion, after the word ‘berdayatahan’:
“And Resolve that a Royal Commission of Inquiry comprising not less than 15 and not more than 20 members representing a fair cross-section of the multiracial society and from all territories to monitor the implementation of the Second OPP 1991-2000 and the National Development Policy with the following terms of reference:
(a) mengawas dan mengesan jentera pembanguanan ekonomi negara dan memastikan supaya tindak pegawai Kerajaan menepati hasrat dan matlamat Rangka Rancangan Jangka Panjang Kedua, Dasar Pembagunan Baru dan sembilan cabaran stratejik yang diutarakan oleh YAB Perdana Menteri dalam visinya untuk Malaysia pada tahun 2020
(b) memastikan supaya jentera pentadbiran Kerajaan dijalankan dengan adil dan saksama dan juga menentukan supaya tiada penyelewangan atau penyalahgunaan berlaju dalam sektor awam；
(c) Suruhanjaya boleh menarik perhatian kepada pihak berkenaan dalam sektor awam mengenai penyelewangan atau penyalahgunaan, salahlaku, salah-tadbir dan sebagainya, dan menbuat perakuan untuk memperbetulkan perkara yang terlibat;
(d) Mengumpul, menyedia dan menganalisa data dan perangkaan yang berkaitan dengan pelaksanaan Rancangan Jangka Panjang Kedua dan Dasar Pembagunan Baru;
(e) Badan ini juga boleh memperakukann supaya sesuatu undang-undang itu dipinda jika terdapat sebarang kelonggaran yang boleh membawa kepada penyalahgunaan kuasa atau penyelewangan;
(f) Cara kerja bentuk Suruhanjaya ialah antara lain :
(i) sebarang penyiasiatan yang dilakukan hendaklah bebas dri arahan dan kawalan Kerajaan atau mana-mana pihak lain;
(ii) orang ramai boleh menyampaikan segala pengaduan secara bebas kepada Suruhanjaya;
(iii) Badan ini tidak terikat kapada perintahan Kerajaan, tetapi hendaklah mempunyai tatacara kerjanya sendiri; dan
(iv) Ahli Suruhanjaya adalah diberi perlindungan daripada didakwa dalam menjalankan tugas-tugas mereka;
(v) Suruhanjaya hendaklah diberi kuasa untuk memanggil saksi, mengemukakan dokumen dan juga mempunyai kuasa sampingan yang berhubung dengan perjalanan Suruhanjaya; dan
(vi) Suruhanjaya ini hendak ditubuhkan tidak lewat dari enam bulah selepas kelulusan Rangka Rangka Rancangan Jangka Panjang Kedua dan Dasar Pembangunan Baru dan dibubarkan tidak melebihi satu tahun selepas tamatnya Dasar Pembangunan Baru.’
The new Economic Policy would have been more successful in achieving its overriding objective of national unity if there had been a similar mechanism throughout its 20-year life span to check against deviations and abuses, and in particular to ensure that in its implementation “no particular group experiences any loss or feels any sense of deprivation.”
Call on Finance Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to eliminate corruption and all forms of conflicts of interest and dismantle the incestuous corporate-political ties which corrupt the corporate sphere
I congratulate Anwar Ibrahim on his further elevation as Finance Minister. He has now the power and opportunity to put his youthful ideals into practice, in particular to eliminate corruption abuses of power, conflict of interest and all forms of unethical practices which had been spawned by the New Economic Policy.
A special phenomenon of the NEP had been the very close and even incestuous corporate-political ties, particularly involving UMNO, which had created the very unhealthy state of political patronage in the country’s corporate sphere.
It is for him to answer a question which a Malay entrepreneur had once posed publicly: “Why do more politicians and professionals dare to abuse their positions and flout the laws? Does the present system of implementing the NEP enable more patronage to be conferred and abuses to be condoned?”
Have we reached the stage where bumiputras and non-bumiputras believe that should aim to be power brokers and influence peddlers rather than dedicate themselves to becoming the most efficient managers, producers and manufactuers?
Will Anwar Ibrahim start a clan-up a of the corporate stables in Malaysia by a dismantling such unhealthy corporate-political ties, as best represented by Renong, United Engineers Malaysia (UEM), and Fleet Group which have corrupted the corporate sphere and given integrity and honestly such a bad name in Malaysia?
NEP has brought prosperity to MIC President, whose daily change of clothings would cost tens of thousands of rinngit while the Indian community has become more backward educationally and socio-economically
The Second OPP claims that as a result of the NEP, absolute poverly is diminishing in Malaysia and the inequalities in income are also narrowing. The Second OPP has failed however to address the problem of growing intra-ethnic inequalities while inter-ethnic inequalities have been substantially reduced.
In fact, income disparities within the Bumiputra community are higher than among the other ethnic groups, which is the result of the wealth and income being concentrated in the new class of NEP rentiers.
This favoured ‘rentier’ class, who act as trustees for the bumiputra have-nots, are motivated to collect ‘quasi-rents’ in the form of unearned economic rewards, rather than motivated to create new wealth and improve productivity. Instead of responding to competitive economic performance criteria, individuals and agencies become dependent on subsidies and permanent institutionalised protectionism, which generate enormous social costs, both for the economy and the government.
Among the various communities certain groups had been serious left behind, such as the Orang Asli, the Ibans, the Kadazans and the Indians.
However, although the Indians have been left behind under the New Economic Policy, socio-economically as well as educationally, the MIC leaders have all made good.
This was vividly brought to me by a report in the Penang edition of the New Straits Times dated 13th May 1991, which showed the high living of the MIC leaders while the overwhelming majority of the Indians suffer in the estates and urban slums.
This report was headlined ~ A get-together for ‘Zenga men’ with the following story and pictures by Harris Iskandar Taib:
“It was a classy occasion. The gentlemen were all wearing Zenga suits which a boutique spokesman said cost no less than $2,000 and the women were in exclusive dresses.
“It was at the Lafite’s, a European restaurant at the Shangri-La.
“After all, the night was Ermenegildo Zenga’s premiere of its latest Spring/Summer collection, and the taste was expensive, portraying the Italian designer’s exclusivity and class, the organisers said.
“Ermenegildo Zenga suits were everywhere.
“Encik Abdullah Ang, whose escapades whiles serving time in Kajang prison led to a major revamp of the Prison Department, was there.
“Energy, Telecommunications and Posts Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, a ‘Zenga’ man, also lent his presence at the thank-you dinner held by Ermenegildo Zenga Malaysia last Thursday.
“‘Actually, most of my salary goes to Italy,’ the Minister said while sipping white wine, adding, ‘I ‘ve been a Zenga man for 20 years when I first bought my first Zenga tie.’
“It was cocktails and Italian food for Zenga customers, a thank you for partronising the only two stores in Malaysia – one at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, and the other at the Shangri-La.
“Deputy public Enterprises Minister, Datuk Dr. Siti Zaahrah Sulaiman was also at the function, dressed in black evening dress, decorated with golden beads.
“Encik Abdullah Ang sat at one of the VIP tables with among others, Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange general manager Encik Mohamed Salleh Abdul Majid.
Oh yes, the NEP has brought prosperity to the MIC leaders, like the MIC president and Energy, Posts and Telecommunications Minister, Datuk Samy Vellu, whose daily change of clothings cost tens of thousands of ringgit while the Indian community lagged further and further behind, whether educationally or socio economically!
Kelantan, Kedah and Sabah should be declared Special Development Areas to receive special development allocations under the NDP
Grave regional disparities persist 20 years after the NEP. In terms of income differentials across states, the relative position of the less developed of Kelantan and Kedah had worsened during the OPP1 period.
For instance, Kelantan’s state GDP Per capita as a proportion of national average had fallen from 0.47 in 1970 to 0.40 in 1990 – after 18 years of UMNO rule which promised development and progress to the most backward state in the country! (Table 2-8)
Kedah’s state GDP as a proportion of national average has also deteriorated from 0.67 in 1970 to 0.59 in 1990.
The incidence of poverty is the highest in Sabah at 34.3 per cent, followed by Trengganu 31.2 per cent, Kedah 30 per cent and Kelantan 29.9 per cent.
It is a measure of the gross disparity of income and wealth under the NEP in the past two decades that although Trengganu has leapt to achieve the highest Sate GDP per capita as a proportion of national average (excluding Federal Territory) with the ratio of 1.62, it has the second highest incidence of poverty of all states!
DAP proposes that the three states of Kelantan, Kedah and Sabah should be declared Special Development Areas to receive special development allocations under the New Development Policy and the Second OPP to ensure that the people in these states can look forward to a more equitable social and economic development in the year 2,000.
DAP proposes amendment of the Federal Constitution to confer on every citizen the fundamental right to development and protection from discrimination for political reasons
When he visited Kelantan at the end of last month, Dr. Mahathir said that pilitics and development should not mix. I hope the Barisan National Government will be true to this pronouncement and break away from the past tradition of trying to use development as a political blackmail to bargain for electoral support.
The Government must recognise that the right to development is a fundamental and inalienable right of every Malaysian, regardless of political affiliation or inclination, because he is a citizen and a taxpayer, and should never be discriminated for political reasons.
I would commend to the Government that next time it presents a Bill to amend the Federal Constitution; it should include an amendment which declared that it is a fundamental right of every Malaysian to the right to development and protection against discrimination in development because of political reasons.
Bumiputra equity share would have reached about 27 per cent in 1990 if bumiputera ownership of bulk of nominee companies is taken into account.
The NEP has failed in effecting a balanced restructuring of the Malaysian society.
A key element under the second prong strategy of the NEP was the restructuring of equity ownership in the corporate sector, with the target that by the end of 1990, the Bumiputera share would be increased to at least 30 per cent that of the other Malaysians increased to 40 per cent.
The equity holdings of other Malaysians has increased to 46.2 per cent, with the Chinese accounting for 44.9 per cent, the Indians share have remained constant at 1 per cent as twenty years ago and others 0.3 per cent, In the case of foreigners, their equity ownership has declined from 63.3 per cent in 1970 to 25.1 per cent in 1990. The equity ownership of Bumiputeras has increased to 20.3 per cent which the Second OPP described as “far short of the targetted level of 30 per cent”.
However, if we take into account that the share of equity registered under nominee companies stands at 8 per cent, and that the bulk of these nominee companies camouflage bumiputera ownership, the Bumiputera equity ownership would have reached bout 27 per cent.
One-sided and selective restructuring without corresponding restructuring in the civil service, army, police, Felda schemes and in the political sphere
One important reason why the NEP had been so divisive in Malaysia in the past two decades is because it was carried in a very one-sided and selective basis.
The objective of eliminating the identification of race with economic function and vocation sounded hollow when there have been no corresponding attention to moving non-Malays into the sectors where they were under-represented, whether in the civil service, the army, police, Felda schemes or in the agricultural sector.
In the civil service in the 1970s for instance, about 75 per cent of the new jobs in the public sector went to bumiputras; while in eighties, over 97 per cent new appointments in the civil service exceeding 200,000 posts went to bumiputras.
The newspapers today carried front-page headlines of the MCA President, Datuk Lim Liong Sik, declaring that anyone who suffers injustice because of any deviation or discrimination under the NDP should complain to the MCA.
What is the use of complaining to the MCA when the four MCA Minister are blissfully unaware of the deviations and discriminations in the restructuring programme under the NEP as highlighted by the grave disparity in the intake of government servants in the 1970s, which got worse in the 1980s.
There has been no discernible effort to restructure other sectors where the non-Malays are grossly under-represented as in the police, army, Felda or the agricultural sector.
Similarly, the MCA and Gerakan Minister stood by without any concern when in the entire history of the New Village development under all five Malaysia Plans, less than $75 million in public funds have been allocated – working out to only about $3 a person a year for the over one million new villagers.
In contrast, the Fourth Malaysia Plan also provided more than $5 billion in development funds to Malay-oriented land and regioal development and irrigation projects.
In Fact, a meaningful restructuring programme to eliminate identification of race with function must be all-dimensional- to cover not only the economic function, but also the political function as well.
The more and more marginal political role of MCA, Gerakan and MIC in the Barisan National Government.
What is the role of MCA, Gerakan or MIC in the Barisan National government? The politics of MCA, Gerakan and MIC are the politics of marginalisation, who play a very marginal role in decision-making in the government- to the extent that the Gerakan President and Minister for Primary Industries, Datuk Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, did not even bother to return from overseas to attend the final Cabinet meeting on the OPP. Dr. Lim is right – it did not matter at all whether he was present at the Cabinet meeting or not.
It is therefore of completely no use for the MCA, Gerakan, MIC or even UMNO leaders to claim that they would check any deviations in the NDP, when under the NEP, they allowed colossal deviations, abuses of power, conflicts of interests, unethical and corrupt pratices to be so rampant.
As a result, under the NEP, there was double deviation: firstly, where it is the politically well-connected Malays who benefit from the NEP and not the poor Malay masses.
This has prompted one noted non-Malay academician to talk about “ a mood of deepening despondency that hard work, honest labour and merit are no longer enough to succeed in this country – one needs to not only be of the ‘right’ race but also to have the ‘right’ connections.”
The only answer is to support the amendment motion which I will move for the establishment of a Royal Commission to check on the implementation of the Second OPP and NDP which I had mentioned.
Can Malaysia develop a culture of merit and competitiveness to enable Malaysia to stand tall in the world?
In this foreword to the Second OPP, Dr. Mahathir said that with the globalization of the world economy and the rapid changes taking place in the international environment, the economy must be made more resilient to meet these challengs.
He said that Malaysians “must work harder and discipline ourselves to achieve continuous competitiveness in the world economy. Quality and excellence must become the hallmark of our nation.
We should seriously ponder whether we can develop such a culture of merit and competitiveness to enable Malaysia to stand tall in the world in the light of the pertinent remark from the non-Malay academician about the feeling that to succeed in Malaysia, one has not only to be of the ‘right’ race but to have the ‘right’ connections.
What we need would be a revolution in the value system completely different from one spawned by the NEP. We must give premium to merit and excellence to enable them to enjoy their just reward.
Recently, the problem of brain drain in our universities and the doctor shortage in the government service had again become public issues.
Eighty lecturers, 70 of whom are from the medical faculty, have quit the University of Malaya to join the private sector – including one of its most experienced cardiac surgeons.
In the past decade, academic standards in the local universities had been seriously compromised, and the culture of merit and excellence have become an endangered species.
Proposal for creation of different salary structures for university staff and government doctors completely separate from the civil service
The problem of academic achievement and excellence has reached a crisis stage and a radical solution is needed. So long as the university lecturers are placed in the same bracket with the other civil service staff, the problem of the brain drain from the local universities and the continued deterioration of academic standards will continue to persist.
The solution is the creation of a completely separate salary structure for the academic staffs in the local universities so that any salary increase for the university staff would have no connection with the rest of the 800,000- strong civil service structure.
The Government should also consider de-linking the salary structure of government doctors and specialists from the rest of the civil service to resolve the grave problem of doctor shortage in government hospitals.
In this connection, the DAP calls for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to inquire and make recommendations to resolve the acute problems in the national medical and health service before acting on the startling proposal by the Prime Minister to allow foreign doctors to practise in the private sector and even set up clinics.
The Royal Commission should inquire as to how the government hospitals could regain public confidence, which means maintaining high standards of hospital and medical care for all patients.
If public confidence in the government hospitals are restored, private hospitals would not be able to impose high and exorbitant charges.
The Royal Commission should also propose innovative and imaginative measure to reform the medical services to make it more attractive for doctors to remain in the government service, in terms of salary structures and working conditions, and other benefits, although it would not be possible for the government to compare with the private sector.
Sustained human development
Finally, I want to end by adopting what is very well stated in the UNDP Human Development Report 1991. There is no conflict between growth and human development – though there may be a conflict between those who would allocate resources to the rich and those who would direct them to the poor.
People must be t the centre of human development. Development has to be woven around people, not people around development. It has to be development of the people, by the people, for the people.
Development will help enhance everyone’s individual and social space – with two caveats. One is that the essence of society is not unrestricted satisfaction of individual choices, but the respect for everybody’s potential, possibilities, needs and interests. The second is that options for the present generation should not be increased by compromising the options for future generations. In short: development must be sustainable.
Each generation must meet today’s needs without incurring debts it cannot repay: financial debts, by overborrowing; social debts, by neglecting to invest in people; demographic debts, by allowing unchecked population growth, and environment debts, by exhausting natural resources.