How can Malaysia become a Developed Nation? 

On 12 June 2018, delivering his keynote address at the 24th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia, Tun Dr Mahathir said that a Developed Nation status for Malaysia could be achieved provided that the right policies were in place and Malaysians worked very hard.

When he stepped down as prime minister back in 2003, he believed that Malaysia could attain developed status by 2020.

But the policies put in place were changed by the succeeding prime ministers. Even if we work extremely hard, we cannot achieve it by 2020. may be by 2025.

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In 2013, about 7 years ago, I wrote and published my book namely Malaysia: Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020. The book has 6 chapters namely as follows:

1 Leakages and Corruptions

2 Human Resources Development

3 Governance Issues

4 Religious Harmony

5 Growing Divisiveness

6 Conclusion: Transforming Malaysia into A Modern and Progressive Democracy

In 1970 when the new economic policy was introduced our GDP per capita was the same as Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. After 49 years, the GDP per capita of Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea is 4, 3 and 2.5 times bigger than ours GDP per capita respectively. All these countries do not even have timber to build their houses. They import almost everything.

At one time, we were the biggest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world. Moreover, we have petroleum. Yet we could not become a Developed Nation. Why?

The biggest culprit is in the implementation of the new economic policy. The policy of helping the Malays to be completive is very good but the implementation of the policy is poor.

As you can see from the news recently, many Government officers including former Prime Minister Najib were being charged for corruption of huge sums of money. Najib as 1MDB Chairman had Rm 2.6 billion supposedly channelled into his personal account. He said it was a generous donation from the Saudi Royal family.

Corruption is ruining Malaysia which is now being branded as one of the most corrupted countries in the world. It is worse than many countries in Africa.

My proposal: Practise Meritocracy 

Managing the country is like managing thousands of companies and conglomerates. The Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir must appoint the best people irrespective of race to be ministers and deputy ministers. If these political leaders are really good, they would know how to make rules and regulations to help people to do better than before.

The Government must always appoint the best people in its civil service.

The Government must strictly practice meritocracy for promotion at all levels of management so that the whole machinery can operate efficiently.

How I practise meritocracy?

This reminds me of my experience when I was on the Board of Directors of IJM Corporation Bhd. All the directors were engineers and our chief financial officer was Krishnan Tan. When we wanted to borrow huge sums of money for some projects and expansion from the bank, Krishnan suggested a more effective and cheaper way was to issue ICULS (irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks).

As engineers, we did not know anything about ICULS. We all agreed unanimously that Krishnan was the best man to manage the company. So, we appointed him as the Chief Executive Officer of the company in 1984. His management was so efficient that the company continued to make more and more profit every year. As a result, the company’s share price continued to climb. The current market capitalisation of IJM Corporation is about Rm 12 billion.

The private sector knows how to practise meritocracy to make profit. If the Government also practise meritocracy, Malaysia will become a Developed Nation.  

The key to success is to practice meritocracy.

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