Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the 1991 Penang DAP State Convention held at Auditorium F, Komtar, Penang on Sunday, 6th October 1991 at 10 am
Call on Dr. Mahathir to direct all universities, MARA and all colleges and hostels to immediately end their exclusivity and become multi-racial in student enrolment
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, yesterday called on Tunku Abdul Rahman College to review its philosophy of exclusivity and to open its doors to students from all races.
In making such a call, the Prime Minister should be prepared to set an example and direct all local universities, MARA and all colleges and hostels to immediately end their exclusivity and become multi-racial educational institutions in their student enrolment.
The Barisan Nasional Government should realise that education, and in particular fair and equitable higher education opportunities, had been one of the most devisive issued in the country under the New Economic Policy and had been a main cause of racial polarization and national division.
If the Barisan Nasional Government is sincere in wanting to have a united Malaysian nation, then it must ensure that under the National Development Policy 1991-2000, there is a liberal and enlightened higher education policy whereby the majority of Malaysian students who want to seek higher education studies can do so in the country, and not at prohibitive costs overseas.
The Barisan Nasional higher education policy had been very short-sighted and against the national interest, and it drained the country’s resources involving $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year, which could have been better spent inside the country rather than overseas.
If Malaysia is to become a fully developed nation in Year 2020, then Malaysia must place the highest premium on developing the most important resource of the country, which is the human resource.
Japan and the four little dragons, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore have scarce natural resources, but they could become economic powerhouses because of their emphasis on the development and promotion of human resources.
Malaysia has more natural resources than Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore combined, and was even in a higher stage of economic development than the four little dragons 30 years ago, but we have fallen behind them in economic development because in Malaysia, human resources was given low premium.
A good example of the Barisan Nasional government’s refusal to give the highest priotity to development and promotion of human resources as the key to Malaysia becoming a fully developed nation in Year 2020 is its continued policy and attitude towards the problem of ‘brain drain’ caused by the emigration of Malaysian professionals, talents and skills overseas during the NEP period.
In Parliament in July, I had called on the government to set up a high-powered committee to end such a brain-drain and to effect a ‘reverse brain drain’ whereby Malaysian professionals, talents, and skills abroad could be lured to return to Malaysia to take part in the national development and reconstruction. However, the Barisan Nasional government’s attitude continues to be one of ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’.
So long as the Barisan Nasional government refuses to give the highest premium and priority to the development and promotion of human resources, Malaysia will never realise her full potential for economic development, whether in year 2000 or 2020.
Call on Penang Chief Minister to present Penang’s Sixth Malaysia Plan at the next meeting of Penang State Assembly
In July, Parliament adopted the Sixth Malaysia Plan which embodied the Barisan Nasional Government’s development programme for the whole country for the next five years, 1991-1995.
The Sixth Malaysia Plan is not merely a national plan, but also a sum total of the various respective state development plans for the next five years.
As the national Sixth Malaysia Plan had been approved by Parliament, Penang must have its Sixth Malaysia Plan in the context of the national Sixth Malaysia Plan.
For this reason, DAP calls on the Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Koh Tsu Koon, to present Penang’s development plan under the Sixth Malaysia Plan at the next Penang State Assembly for debate.
Penang State Government should not allow MPPP to increase assessment rates
It was reported recently that the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) will be increasing the assessment rates on the island. Although the 12 per cent for residential properties in the city and 10.5 per cent in the outskirts will remain unchanged, owners would have to pay an increase of 5.5 per cent to 8.2 per cent based on the revalued prices of properties. It has been estimated that owners of rent-control houses in the city would have to pay as much as 42 per cent more if the reviewed value of properties was used to calculate rates.
The MPPP is an anomaly in a democratic country, for it is not an elected body and is therefore not accountable and responsible to the ratepayers for its actions and decisions.
It is most deplorable that the MPPP Councilors conduct their meetings in a cloak of secrecy. Before the MPPP decide to increase the assessment rates on the island, it should give the people the reasons and let the ratepayers an opportunity to be heard.
Penang ratepayers complain that the MPPP wants to increase its assessment rates without any improvement in the municipal services resulting in Penang ratepayers paying more and more for worse and worse services.
Before the MPPP is allowed to increase assessment rates, the MPPP Councilors must justify such an increase, not only for an improvement of municipal services, but to convince the people that the Municipality had exhausted all means to reduce unnecessary expenditures.
The final responsibility now rests with the Penang State Exco, which should not allow the MPPP to increase its assessment rates.