50th Merdeka Anniversary National Mission – restore Malaysia’s position as No. 2 in Asia in economic development

The ING Insurance Agency Force Association Malaysia (INGIAFAM) must be commended for its success in hosting the biggest-ever insurance convention in its history on the occasion of its 25th anniversary with some 2,500 participants.

I am very impressed by the vim, verve, vitality and vigour exuded by the organizers and participants of this Conference and I have no doubt that if these qualities could be extended to the national stage, Malaysia can hold her proper place in the forefront of nations in this challenging era of globalization.

The theme of the ING Insurance National Convention 2007, “Honour — Gratitude — Appreciation”, cannot be more appropriate as the nation is celebrating half-a-century of nationhood on its 50th Merdeka Anniversary. The Conference theme, “Honour — Gratitude — Appreciation”, is not confined just to your family, relatives, your work colleagues and customers, but also to the nation, for we are all Malaysian patriots who love this land and want the best for our country.

Applying your conference theme “Honour — Gratitutde — Appreciation” to the nation, it is worth pondering how to make the 50th Merdeka Anniversary most meaningful for Malaysia.

When we achieved Merdeka 50 years ago in 1957, the nation was second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development. Today, we have lost out to Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong and risks being overtaken by Thailand, Vietnam and even Indonesia.

The 50th Merdeka Anniversary will be the suitable occasion for the private and public sectors and all Malaysians to commit themselves to a National Mission — to restore the nation’s position when we achieved Merdeka in 1957 when we were second in Asia after Japan in terms of economic development. If we cannot beat Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, at least we must be in the same league with these countries as well as ensure that we can never be overtaken by Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

I am deeply honoured and appreciate tremendously the invitation by INGIAFAM to officiate at the opening ceremony of this Convention, as it gives me an educational opportunity to learn about the problems and prospects facing the life insurance industry.

INGIAFAM and other organizations in the life insurance industry should have a systematic programme to raise awareness among Members of Parliament from both the government and the opposition about the problems and prospects of the industry in view of its growing importance to the national economy as well as its role in ensuring the best welfare of Malaysians in the long term for retirement and healthcare, as well as providing protection for individuals and their dependents from financial vulnerabilities arising from death, disability or unemployment and providing for children’s education.

The government had earlier announced the target in 2005 of 50% of the population having a life insurance policy but the country is still far from the goal as the score is around 38%, which may fall to some 27% if we take into account multiple policies by individual policy holders. Malaysia is very behind other developed countries in this aspect, with Singapore at 96%, Hong Kong 107% and Japan 136%.

As the 2008 Budget is being finalized, it should incorporate proposals for the life insurance industry which have been canvassed by life insurance agents and professionals including:

1. Allowing the use of EPF to buy insurance as is being practiced in Singapore. Although the recent EPF Amendment Bill passed by Dewan Rakyat provides for the use of EPF monies to buy insurance for critical illnesses, the scope should be expanded for health and education.

2. Tax relief for EPF and Insurance which at present is listed under the same category and capped at RM6,000 should be separated to allow for RM6,000 relief each for both EPF and Insurance. Furthermore, the present tax relief of RM3,000 for education and health insurance should be increased to RM6,000. In other words, tax relief of RM6,000 for EPF, RM6,000 for life insurance, RM6,000 education/health insurance.

3. Waiver of tax for the 8% par fund profit to provide better benefits to policy-holders.

4. Government should facilitate the establishment of private pension funds by providing more incentives and slashing red-tape and bureaucratic obstacles so that private pension funds can play an increasing role to provide sustainable long-term retirement benefits to Malaysians.

(Speech at the opening of the ING Insurance National Convention 2007 at Genting International Convention Centre, Genting Highlands on Wednesday, May 9, 2007)

  1. #1 by Lrong on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 8:41 am

    Thailand overtaking us is probably just a matter of time, I think… but watch Vietnam… will not be surprised if she zooms past us in a decade or two…

  2. #2 by k1980 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 8:48 am

    Source http://achmedrauff.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-am-being-called-into-court-for-what-i.html

    …I am convicted in the University Court for violating Akta Tatatertib. I am convicted of defamatory remarks and creating harm to the University. In effect if found guilty I shall be either suspended from my studies or be kicked out indefinitely.

  3. #3 by madmix on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 10:36 am

    No 2 in Asia? You have to grow faster than the Dragon (China) to overtake the former asia tigers.

  4. #4 by k1980 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 11:50 am

    More likely No 2 from the bottom, after Laos. Then the BN would put the blame on the non-bumis for sabotaging the economy, for challenging the extension of the NEP, for voting against BN ect ect

  5. #5 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:05 pm

    In the countries like China and Vietnam, there is a real hunger for learning and knowledge.

    In Malaysia we are regressing as exams for Tingkat 6 and UPSR will be removed. Guess some of our children will learn the alphabet and simple numbers just before SPM.

    Based on present situation, we will be lucky to maintain present position with the current NEP policies and government.

  6. #6 by Jimm on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:08 pm

    There is a favorite clause statement found in every car park in Malaysia, “PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK”. Borden that statement to our current situation. They shared the same message.

  7. #7 by kptan on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:29 pm

    Hello my dear Malaysian, if you not dare to make any changes to our government now, one day our women will need to work at oversea as maid.

  8. #8 by paix on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 2:34 pm

    how can you compete when the cream of the crop in your country is leaving in droves? look at the nobel prize winners in the US. many of them are not US born. they were attracted to the US from all over the world. would bodohland attract anybody other than drug addicts, rapists, and purse snatchers?

  9. #9 by Bobster on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:03 pm

    AAB gomen still in deep sleep lah. Globalization … what globalization, not in their vocab. Umnolization got lah. Kristolization ya lah. Spore gomen must be laughing like what, lucky TDM retired, else more headache to LKY & LSL.

    Just drop by Bangkok Airport. Though full of defects just take a look at various foreign airlines and the number cp to KLIA only MAS and AirAsia … what a pity. That’s what we call globalization ie number of foreign investment. If not because of political instability, Thai easily overtaken us in very short time.

  10. #10 by ktteokt on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 10:20 am

    Half a century of independence but still struggling to keep its head above the water despite all the rich resources. Malaysia is a lucky country where we enjoy sunshine everyday, no natural disasters and full of natural resources. We get what we plant, we get what we dig and even the rarest mineral is obtained in Malaysia but look at what they do with it? The petroleum they dig is too good to be used by Malaysia itself, so we sell our high quality petroleum to others and buy lousy petroleum from abroad. Isn’t all these redundant?

    Remember when our currency was speculated by Soros, Mahathir had the guts to say “we close doors”. How to close? We depend on the outside world for our needs. If at all Malaysia were to close its doors to the outside world, it would have to take the same steps taken by China when it announced communism, where everyone had to work and toil for the sufficiency of the nation. But do you think our specially privileged “bumiputras” will do that? They have been spoon-fed since the implementation of the National Economic Policy and all of a sudden, you ask them to work! No way!!!

    The weather of our nation is extremely suitable for cultivation of crops especially sugar cane for the production of sugar, but sad to say, Malaysia still imports its sugar despite the existence of the so called “GULA PERAK” those days. We plant rubber and oil palm, we produce tin but look at the prices, all controlled by foreigners. We have London Tin, London Rubber. I bet none of the management personnel from these companies know how tin is dug or how rubber is planted but yet they control the prices. Take the case of petroleum, whenever OPEC feels like it, it raise the prices of this commodity and the effect is immediate.

    What a shame on Malaysia! Claiming to have been independent for half a century but still in its infant stage. All these are attributed to the laziness of certain groups in the nation who depend on the other groups for an easy life. The slogan “Malaysia Boleh” has brought about much negative effects and from the way things are going, I think one important word is left out from this slogan, the word “MATI”.

  11. #11 by Bobster on Wednesday, 16 May 2007 - 7:12 pm

    Now AAB trying to pull string with Spore gomen, asking them to help to develop Iskandar township. You think Spore gomen so FOOLISH like Msian gomen. Those guys are many steps ahead of us in planning and implementation. Every step taken or word spoken has been pre plan and follow thru till the plan success. Unlike Msian gomen simply tembak, today says this tomorrow says tat can’t even make up her own mind (well, I guess due to the cronies pressing wrong buttom when calculating how much they should pocket each).

    Spore gomen looking at the BIG PICTURE how their NATION will be benefited in the NEAR FUTURE. MSIA gomen looking at the SMALL PICTURE how each datuk or tan sri can be spoon fed and how much they (the cronies) can make before RETIRING. That’s one of the many differences between the two nations.

    Globalisation? What globalisation? Not in vocab of the ruling party of this country … all still talking abt BUMI rights. YES, one day this country going to learn a very hard lession, YES one day. Retribution from THE ALMIGHTY that many called ALLAH.

  12. #12 by al-jajawi on Thursday, 24 May 2007 - 2:32 pm

    Go to http://al-jajawi.blogspot.com for complete comments. First para is as follows:

    Angpows are not cheap, maa!
    I refer to your news report (May 23, 2007) entitled ‘PM denies pay rise linked to election.’ My question is: Why would the PM want to admit that it is linked to the general election? No rational political leader would admit to such a naïve intention. The fact that the election must be held before March 21, 2009, and that signs are showing that it could be held much earlier, makes the denial seem so fragile that it can be likened to the act of the robber who buried his loot and put up a sign that says ‘There is no money buried here.’

  13. #13 by achmedrauff on Wednesday, 4 July 2007 - 3:22 pm

    Lets face it….we know how the Parliament and the Dewan Rakyat can be. We have seen it on You Tube. Some MPs act like monkeys while others may just smoke in the plush lobby. When education is in question there are many factors to consider why quality of higher education is in such a sad state. Don’t mention English but Bahasa Malaysia also can’t be mastered properly. I agree on PF should formulate something to facilitate in the purchase of life and education insurance. Besides…it’s not for anyone else but the Rakyat in the end and we vote for them.

  14. #14 by dtam1009 on Monday, 16 July 2007 - 9:50 am

    why is the public blame for the increase of crime rate?
    What kind of world is this? Where are the law enforcer?
    i’m just wondering why State police chief Deputy Comm can comes out with such an excuse.
    Does this comment from him make sense ?
    I’m just wondering will a bank be blamed for having much money when robbers go in to rob.

  15. #15 by akarmalaysian on Sunday, 14 October 2007 - 1:22 am

    i believe in upholding the constitution of malaysia.i believe in people of malaysia.i believe thr are capable malaysians who can lead this country to greater heights globally.i believe thr are malaysians fr all walks of life who care for each other.but i dun believe the present government who claims to be what they are.i dun hv faith in the present leadership.i am jz a simple malaysian who can simply see wats going on.in malaysian history i believe these are the dumbest and maybe the most crooked leaders we hv seen in malaysia today.and maybe the greediest lot of all.

  16. #16 by year of snake on Friday, 7 December 2007 - 4:09 pm

    They just don’t want to admit it but if there were no such thing as Bumiputras and everyone are just Malaysians, to-day the exchange rate between Singapore and us would be one to one. All the bright brains would still be in Malaysia working and contributing instead of migrating to other countries. At the back of their minds our neighbours are happy that we are practicing the present policies because they are benefitting them indirectly.

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