End the 50-year New Economic Policy if Najib wants to lay claim to innovation or shift to a new economic model as the NEP had stunted Malaysia’s economic growth and prevented the nation from becoming a high-income country

In his first budget, the 2010 budget, presented to Parliament on Friday, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed that he is laying the foundation for the development of a new economic model to become a high-income economy.

He stressed that the new economic model must be based on innovation, creativity and high-value added activities so that Malaysian can remain relevant in a competitive global economy.

Najib announced that his government “will transform Malaysia through a comprehensive innovation process, comprising innovation in public and private sector governance, societal innovation, urban innovation, rural innovation, corporate innovation, industrial innovation, education innovation, healthcare innovation, transport innovation, social safety net innovation and branding innovation.”

So far, Najib’s most successful innovation in his First Two Hundred Days is “branding innovation”, as never before has a Prime Minister’s slogan, “1Malaysia”, been promoted so blatantly, not only during by-elections but there is even a 1Malaysia Toilet in Terengganu, putting the previous Prime Minister’s slogan of “Islam Hadhari” to shame – all thanks to the tens of millions of ringgit spent on public relations companies, in particular the US-based Apco Worldwide PR firm to promote the new Najib brand at public expense.

As for “innovation” in other important sectors of national life, Najib has got very little to show.

Najib said the focus of his budget will be on the well-being of the rakyat, with particular emphasis on advancing the role of the private sector as the driver of economic growth and developing high-skilled human capital and enhancing the efficiency of the public service.

This is nothing new as it is said in every budget speech in Parliament as far as I can remember, but they have not been able to stop the significant decline of private investment to below 10 per cent of GDP, with total domestic direct investment decreasing from RM72 billion in 1997 to RM56 billion in 2008, while total net foreign direct investment (FDI) plunged from RM19.7 billion to RM3.6 billion.

Najib should end the 50-year New Economic Policy if he wants to lay claim to innovation or shift to a new economic model as the NEP had stunted Malaysia’s economic growth and prevented the nation from becoming a high-income country.

Ad hoc and half-hearted measures tinkering with the NEP will not take an innovation economy very far. Let me just give two examples from Najib’s list of budgetary proposals announced on Friday:

  1. RM10,000 for each approved permit (AP) to open AP holders from 2010, with a portion of this collection to be channelled to the bumiputra development fund in the automotive sector.

    If the Najib government believes in accountability, transparency and integrity, all APs should be put up for open tender.

  2. Award National Scholarships to 30 crème de la crème students strictly on merit for educational studies in world renowned universities.

    This is a paltry and most ridiculous figure. In March this year, the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok announced that out of 2,000 Public Services Department scholarship scheme for foreign degrees, 20 per cent or 400 scholarships would be for excellent students, 60 per cent or 1,200 scholarships for bumiputra and non-bumiputra SPM leavers; 10 per cent for 200 scholarships for Sabah and Sarawak bumiputra SPM leavers; the remaining 10 per cent for disabled students who excelled in their studies.

    What is another 30 when 400 of the 2,000 PSD scholarships are already meant for “crème de la crème” – or has the Barisan Nasional government again been misleading the people about the award of the 400 PSD scholarships based on “merit”?

[Speech by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang at the opening of the DAP Negri Sembilan State Convention held in Port Dickson on Sunday, 26th October 2009 at 10 am]

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 12:13 pm

    Lets be realistic and fair. Not just Najib but who can, within 200 days, show significant departure from a 50 year policy like the NEP (that has been entrenched during Mahathir’s administration of 22 years and seeped into mindsets) without being immediately booted out of office?

    As a concession that this is the case, even PR’s leader Anwar spoke different tunes to different audiences. For all his & PKR’s inclusivist platform, when branded a traitor to his own people by UMNO, he quickly on by election campaign trail reaffirmed his commitment to constitutional safeguards of Special Malay privileges, Islam and Bahasa Malaysia to a largely Muslim Malay audience as reported by The MalaysiaInsider. And even Selangor MB had to balk when his proposed appointment of Mdm. Low Siew Moi as PKNS head was met with objection from the corporation’s own staff, outside NGOs and even some PAS quarters.

  2. #2 by k1980 on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 12:24 pm

    PSD scholarships based on “merit” mean that they are tuans only, not for pendatangs. The irony is that many of the pendatangs’ ancestors came to this land years before the tuans’ ancestors, during the Funan and Srivijaya era! So who actually is tuan and who is pendatang?

  3. #3 by johnnypok on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 12:42 pm

    They now need specially-made wheel-chairs, because NEP has totally destroy the whole system of muscle co-ordination.

    It will take many generations to regain back the normal mode. By then, they will be left far behind Singapore.

  4. #4 by -ec- on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 2:10 pm

    the 30 national scholarship based on merit is really a national insult to the students, to the rakyat and to education in large. there will only be 30 non-race-based best students? ridiculous!

    does it mean all other scholarship given from now onwards will not be based on merit? based on what then? ridiculous!!!

    as to converting ptptn loan to scholarship: can’t these people foresee abusive practice? when the awarding of degree is monetary based and every mark given has a $ tag on it, are you giving too much power to the universities and their lecturers and professors? imagine you are student eagerly wanted to converted the loan to scholarship on whatever reason, what will the students do if they cannot excel or wanted to go the backdoor way? will it be introducing or worsening (if there is already existed) corruption in the education sector?

    the value of a college or university degree is equal to or less that the amount of student loans.

    really a no-brainer policy! nep has to go, race based quoto has to go. the education sector must be liberalized and democratized.

  5. #5 by Loh on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 3:08 pm

    Najib has realised that human resources are needed to make any country high income earner. He intends to lure talents by offering a double-standards scheme in taxation for foreigners coming to the Iskandar project. He considered that action as equivalent to replacing brain drains due to NEP, but he would be able to choose Muslim talents to remain, making those foreigners a-class-above-non-Malays, as NEWMalays in due course.

    The more Najib knows about how NEP hurt the country, the more double-standards scheme would be introduced, with the ulterior objective of getting into Malaysia NEWMalays in the making.

    Najib announced that the 10,000 a piece APs will be given to bumiputras either in cash or in APs. He has not justified it against the objectives of the NEP.

  6. #6 by Loh on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 3:10 pm

    The 30 scholarships will still have a race quota, but will be more in keeping with article 153, where reasonability might be introduced.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 5:56 pm

    If the NEP stumbling block is not removed from national development, Najib’s aim of transforming the nation into a high-income country might well end up chasing an elusive dream!

  8. #8 by undertaker888 on Sunday, 25 October 2009 - 9:43 pm

    I don’t know. If I am able bodied, I will find it a joy to being able to earn a decent and an honest living. I will try to my job well with integrity.

    Do I always want other people to ridicule me all the time that I am useless, not able to stand on my two feet and be independent?

    If a government always “imagine” that i really need help although help has been provided for 50 years, do I not feel insulted with no integrity left?

    I will question myself, am I really this useless? Or is it I am been told I am “handicapped” all these years that I will not be able to stand on my own two feet?

    Am I really all that? If that is so, how can I be TUAN?

    If this is all NEP is all about, if I am that race, I will feel insulted. Special rights or no special rights.

  9. #9 by Bigjoe on Monday, 26 October 2009 - 7:24 am

    The downside of NEP and the need to change it is obvious to Najib. He has made some marginal changes. The issue is why is so little? Is it because of the challenge of the warlords or is there an intellectual problem in the first place. To what extent does Najib believe the NEP have to be removed? His own brother Nazir, who believes in its elimination eventually, have confessed that he and his brother have debated the issues and differ on it.

    At the start of the problem is Najib weakness as a leader. This is not a man who got to the top by performance and influencing others. He got there by squirming and biding his time. He is not a strong leader by a long short.

    But underpining that mediocre leadership is weak intellectualism. In other words, the man does not believe in much of anything and not vigorous intellectually to see that the NEP have to be removed FOR the good of the Malays. In other words, even if he hears the argument for it, he does not have the mental capacity and imagination to see how removing the NEP is best for the Malays in the long run. Even more so he cannot imagine that its best to remove it now while we can afford to put in measures from the fallout. Do it later, we may not be able to afford real solutions to fix what can go wrong with any big policy change.

    So the bottom line is, while he is no idiot, Najib is not smart enough for the challenge of the time. Compounding the problem is that character wise, he is also not strong – too cowardly and trapped by his own fears to take real risk of leadership.

    Najib is what we call average, he is not below but he is not above either. The problem is the challenge and the job now require more, much much more than just average. As a nation we are too kind to mediocrity – we tolerate it too much for too long probabaly a conditioning of the NEP policy (with its corresponding corruption) for decades.

    So the test of the times is not just for Najib but for Malaysian in fact too. Are we a nation that accepts mediocrity as fate OR do we do something about it? Do we deserve excellence? Do our children in the future judge us a forebears who were not equal to others in more developed nations in building strong foundation of excellence or do we do them proud? In crude terms, are we Malaysian men and women of exception OR are we pussies?

  10. #10 by taiking on Monday, 26 October 2009 - 8:35 am

    Najib is a disaster. Umno is a disaster. Malaysia will become a disaster.

  11. #11 by Godfather on Monday, 26 October 2009 - 11:09 am

    The NEP will end only when there is nothing left to steal.

  12. #12 by johnnypok on Tuesday, 27 October 2009 - 6:03 am

    NEP will only end when all the recipients finally succumb to the deadly drugs.

  13. #13 by taiking on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 - 2:18 pm

    They started with clutches. Now they have progressed to wheelchairs. And soon they will need drips. Still it must feel good for them to have the billions and the palaces and the ferraris and the disneyland trips. Bone loss as a result of prolonged sitting? No. No trouble really. Mca and mic MPs are ever willing to push them about in their wheelchairs and all.

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