Where did we go wrong

In 1970, when NEP was first introduced, our GDP was at par with Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Today, after 38 years under the Barisan Nasional government, our GDP lags far behind these neighbouring countries although they have far less natural resources than us.

Singaporeans, for example, have a per capita GDP which is 3 times ours and an average standard of living which – if not three times better – is certainly more prosperous. Similarly, the citizens of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have forged far ahead of us in their per capita GDP and other social and economic indicators.

If we do not wake up to make some changes, we will soon be a third class nation instead of a fully developed one, which is our vision.

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All Malaysians – especially our politicians – should look ahead and plan for the future. In the last general election and in the recent Permatang Pauh by-election, the electorate has shown that they are not willing to stay still or stagnate and have the rest of the world pass us by.

The new governments of Kedah, Kelantan, Penang, Perak and Selangor are the outcome of the people’s ability to seize the opportunity to bring change. This momentous decision is already having positive impact and outcomes in terms of the standards of governance and leadership of these key states.

In Perak where I live, I know for sure that the state government is transparent. When everything is open, they cannot practise cronyism, nepotism and corruption. The past practice of giving out billions of ringgit in contracts, for example for all the concessions for highways, water and power supplies, without open tenders has ruined our economy.

You do not see this sort of practice in Singapore or other advanced countries. That is why Singapore is classified as one of the best managed nations in the world. Why don’t we govern our country based on practices such as these?

If all Malaysians vote with their eyes open in the next election, it is highly likely that the opposition will gain enough seats in Parliament to change the current government. In fact, all forward looking politicians can foresee the future.

As it is, except for Umno MPs, all other MPs of BN component parties have practically no say in the government. These Barisan MPs who have been marginalised must ask themselves why they should remain a part of an authoritarian government and to suffer this indignity.

Many Malaysians, including myself, need to be reassured that the leaders of Umno will not continue to draw their keris to show their ‘supremacy’.

We also need to be reassured that the next Umno prime minister – whoever he is – will come down hard on any leader who belittles fellow non-Malay citizens by trying to classify them as immigrants with less rights in the country.

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