Najib’s 2011 Budget is not a child of New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited policies

Despite all its bombast and pyrotechnics, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 2011 budget is not a child of the New Economic Model but bears all the marks of old discredited policies which have landed Malaysia in the middle-income trap for more than a decade, setting the country towards a failed and bankrupt nation come 2019.

Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s obsession with mega projects like the proposed RM5 billion 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower is back with a vengeance.

If Najib is seriously committed to a New Economic Model, based on economic, social and government transformation, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for Malaysia to achieve targets as being ranked among the first twenty if not first ten of the least corrupt nations in the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index or having at least 10 universities which are ranked among the Top 100 Universities in the world?

In fact, it must be asked whether Najib is secretly trying to out-Mahathir Mahathir not only to build a tower higher than Mahathir’s Petronas Twin Towers, but which could be acclaimed as the tallest in the world – however brief the claim?

The 88-storey 452-metre RM2billion Petronas Twin Towers was acclaimed as the tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1998 (squeaking past the Chicago Sears Towers by 33 feet because of spires atop the Petronas Towers although the highest occupied floor in the Sears Towers was actually 200 feet higher than the top floor of Petronas Towers) but it was overtaken by Taipei 101 Tower (101 storeys, 509 metres) in 2004 and Shanghai World Financial Centre (101 storeys, 492 metres) in 2008.

The world’s tallest building is Dubai Tower (Burj Khalifa) – 828 metres with 152 storeys – completed this year.

Or is Najib harbouring the ambition to just build the tallest building in Asia. He will have to take into account South Korea’s Lotte World II, which is 501.5 metres tall with 110 storeys, expected to be completed in 2013.

Najib’s 2011 Budget is not convincing that it represents the first budget of a New Economic Model to transform Malaysia from a middle income country to an inclusive and sustainable high-income developed country by 2020, emphasising high-skilled human capital, efficient public services, a reinvigorated private sector and equal opportunity for all Malaysians.

The Talents Corporation that is to be set up early next year is to formulate a National Talent Blueprint and develop an expert workforce database as well as to collaborate closely with talent networks globally, but what surety is that the National Talent Blueprint is not condemned to failure like previous “Brain Gain” programmes for the simple reason that there is no political leadership and will in the Najib administration to achieve the vision spelt out by the New Economic Model, viz: “Malaysia must be seen by its people and by others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family”.

Any doubts about the lack of political will and leadership of the Najib administration to spearhead political, economic, social and government transformation which must be the pillars for Malaysia’s economic and national salvation are banished by Najib’s shocking attempt to compromise the civil service and government pensioners to enlist them to be Umno supporters.

When launching the Umno Club for retired government servants in his official residence at Seri Perdana last night, Najib said he is baffled that there are civil servants and government pensioners who support the opposition.

He said: “Civil servants should know better that it is only Umno that can ensure our survival.”

He asked: “I want to ask who were the ones who questioned Article 153 in the Constitution? Malay privileges; who questioned them?

“Who caused the incident of not offering prayers for the well-being of the king? Who wanted Universiti Teknologi Mara to be opened to the non-Malays. Not Umno, but the other side.”
In one fell swoop, Najib has demonstrated that his 1Malaysia policy and all the talk about economic, social and government transformation to underpin a quantum leap for the nation to escape the middle-income trap and achieve an inclusive, sustainable high-income developed nation in 2020 are all just bunkum.

What is worse, his utter contempt for MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, PBS and other Barisan Nasional component parties in his 1Malaysia scheme of things – as they are all irrelevant and immaterial to UMNO, making a complete mockery of his 1Malaysia policy.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 12:58 pm

    The RM5 billion 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower will start swaying one fine day. Better change its name to Menara Jibbi.

  2. #2 by sotong on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 1:10 pm

    There is a strong culture of spin.

    Our so called ” leaders ” think being cunning to deceive the ordinary people is great leadership, ignoring its impact…none have the courage to do what is best for our country and her ordinary people.

    Everyone is playing games for survival and personal and narrow interest.

  3. #3 by vsp on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 1:45 pm

    When the Petronas Tower was completed Malaysia fell under the spell of an economic perdition which it has not recovered fully since. It send the country half-way to a Zimbabwean model of a failed state.

    Now comes Act II. Najib, the clueless, Apco-tutored accolyte PM is going to out-Mahathir Mahathir with his RM5-billion 100-story ‘Malaysia’ tower and hoping to carve his name in stone. By the time the ‘1Malaysia’ tower is completed the cost of the whole project would have ballooned uncontrollably to RM20 billion. An another economic perdition and the likely implosion of the Pax Americana world would send Bolehland fully towards a journey to a Zimbabwean model, and the country that we know today as “Malaysia” would be fractured into 4 major provinces to be colonized or annexed by Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

  4. #4 by DAP man on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 3:09 pm

    Since Ibrahim Ali is in the ICU, Najib has to take over his role of whipping up Malay sentiments to hate the non-Malays.

    Najib, the PM of Malays, is literally telling MCA, MIC and Gerakan that they are UMNO’s shoes, socks and undies, respectively.

  5. #5 by Loh on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 5:22 pm

    People say like father like son. Some son tries to outdo the father, in racism and discrimination when he has the might to bully. That might lies in the block voting of civil servants, of the favored group. That was why the new budget increases operational spending that pays 75 cent per RM to salaries an emolument, and also an increase in number of families set to vote for UMNO. That is why Najib is taken aback that the thick budget report camouflaging his intention to buying votes has not proved a complete success.

    Article 153 now comes back to haunt Najib. By asking who asked to open Mara to non-Malays Najib shows that he does not subscribe to the spirit of Article 153. It would be better for him to do away with Article 153 and continues with having every RM of government funds spent on Malays. Then there is no constitutional requirement for him to even pay lip service to non-Malays. Najib has to be bold to do away with Article 153, just like Mamakthir said that he is not shy to be not as smart as Chinese, and it seems that even pork seller would outwit him. So Malaysia would have a better PM even if he is selected from among pork sellers, since Chinese is better than Malay, so said Mahathir.

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 6:34 pm

    There is a “method in madness” in all these mega structures whether 88 story Petronas Twin Towers or proposed 100 storey Warisan Merdeka tower.

    If we cannot beat others in THES ranking, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, GDP etc and other “intangible” indices, at least we can have our 60 minute claim to international profile and fame in physical monuments….After all if we can’t beat others in value added technological skills we can at least show off our skills and forte in building and construction. We can justly lay claim to be good in constructing buildings and houses. See the number of Indonesian legal and illegal workers supporting us in this effort; the number of housing, commercial development going on in this country, one launch after another regardless of supply exceeds demand. The construction and building industry is the main pillar of our domestic economy that we protect and our banks are using the abundant savings to finance its sustenancel, never mind bubble getting bigger and bigger. Our Malaysian developers export our skill in this industry to other countries. We can truly lay claim to be world’s best in the Sell First and Build After scheme of financing housing and property development!

    Yet one can ask what’s economic value of building skyscrapers like Petronas Twin Tower or Warisan Merdeka tower? Skyscrapers have never made economic sense – except enriching pockets of crony contractors, subcontractors and consultants! So there must be other motivations – political! Same like Egyptian pharaohs building their pyramids, or taking more contemporary examples, the American spending monies to build the Empire State Building in the midst of depression in the late 1930s, and ½ century later spending all the monies in NASA’s exploring the skies, and going to the Moon.

    To erect an impressive monument that reaches for the sky is next best thing since we have no technology to send a rocket to the skies except afford the have a lavish wedding for our space “astronaut”…

    It is a metaphor / symbol for aspiration and achievement – these monuments. It is also using architectural expression as a metaphor to make a political statement.

    To give a specific example: Dr Mahathir once said (when trying to justify the NEP based on other races having wealth over indigenous Malays) that if we pore over the map of Kuala Lumpur and minus off all the buildings owned by non Malays, how many of the rest will be left standing?

    The whole concept of the NEP based on the contentious Social Contract represents an attempt by what Mahathir defines as the original definitive peoples coming to grips with historical injustices of colonialists that brought immigrant races to develop the economy of the country, in the process of which, the immigrant races became more developed and prosperous than the original definitive peoples – so the rationale of the need of Ketuanan, and the NEP to rectify this disparity and historical injustice. Kuala Lumpur represents metropolis of power and economic strength but like other urban areas is mostly dominated by buildings constructed by Non malays. Monuments and buildings constructed from Malay capital or capital controlled by Malay politicians with Islamic architecture inextricably tied to cultural identity of Malays – soaring above buildings owned and constructed by others- are powerful symbols of achievement and aspirations of the definitive people to tower over the rest who have marched forward too far ahead due to the injustices of colonialism! Such monuments get a blip of world’s attention. Domestically they satisfy the urge for recognition, give pride and therefore secure votes.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 7:13 pm

    Tall monuments are therefore a metaphor and symbol of various aspirations – for (1) Malays’ political power and being glocal & savvy over the rest; (2) of the collective nation’s desire for modernization and progress and if their architecture were Islamic based, its to show we’re most modern of Islamic nations in the world (3) for the need to express that which the forte of local entrepreneurs is identified with – competence to build and build which is what we have as competitive edge over the rest; (4) to develop an icon which the nation’s capital may be easily recognized by foreigners, tourists etc just like the way we identify the Eiffel Tower & Arch of Triumph with Paris, Colosseum with Rome or Leaning Tower of Pisa with Pisa, St Basil Cathedral of Moscow, Empire State Building of New York, Sears Tower of Chicago etc. At last our icon is more impressive than the tiny red Dot’s Merlion!

    As stated the exorbitant costs of erecting these super structures skywards far outweigh their trumpeted economic benefits but their defenders like TDM would argue ten years from now one could never build them at today’s costs!

    But even today there is admittedly some economic impact. Developers pay more for land in vicinity of Twin Towers. The office and apartment suites there fetch higher prices, and those that have the Twin Tower in sight from their windows and balconies fetch higher rent than those without that sight….

    Why even restaurants – an example Hakka restaurant – with a night view of the twin tower get more patronage from tourists eating their standard mediocre meals with the panoramic view of the glistening twin tower against the night skies.

    The downside is often ignored. Events may turn differently and adversely.

    The twin tower was also the icon and symbol of the nations’ wastage, financial and fiscal profligacy and deficit financing – of arrogance of form and hubris without heed to lack of substance, and the overarching importance of substance to underpin such pride!

    These aspects got the currency speculators attention in the 1997 currency crisis. Its OK to have these symbols if the nation is wealthy and not rolling towards bankruptcy, as minister Idris warned.

    Instead of being a metaphor for pride and achievement these monuments may prove to be the Tower of babel – in the next down turn or attack from whatever quarters.

  8. #8 by Thor on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 7:41 pm

    Jesus had a last supper with his disciples before he was crucified.
    And Nutjib is now thinking of having a very “last supper” with his ministers and cronises before BNUmno’s demise.
    Mammakthir was given a second chance to live but he prefer to side with the devil all along instead.
    Now he’s having a big trouble begging for a third one.
    As for that Perkasa fatso, chances are that there will be a 13th buy-election anytime as it coincides with the figure “13”, which is the number for the next GE.
    Whether if it’s just a coincidence or not, we’ll have to wait and see.

  9. #9 by on cheng on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 7:45 pm

    The most exorbitant is not the 100 storey tower, but the RM40 billion MRT for K.L, if it is only 140km, it works out to be RM285,000 per metre, China built the super high speed train from Wuhan to Guangzhou, many bridges, tunnels, at only RM56 billion (960km). Following super train costs for comparison, all in RM
    a) Wuhan-Guangzhou, 56 billion, 960 km, 58,000 per metre. Many bridges, tunnels.
    b) Taipei- Kaohsiung, 48 billion, 360 km,
    133,000 per metre, include many land aquisition cost.
    c). Proposed Ho Chi Minh Vity- Hanoi, 176 billion, 1680km, 105,000 per metre. Vietnam postpone indefinitely, no money.
    40 billion is more than the proposed cost for super train to Singapore. This cost may be enough for building a super train system from JB to Ipoh?
    Anybody have an explanation for my question?

  10. #10 by on cheng on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 7:52 pm

    Is the Petronas Twin Tower not fully utilized now? In South Korea, Taiwan, USA, China, super tall buildings were undertaken, funded by private enterprise, not government.

  11. #11 by yhsiew on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 9:04 pm

    ///In one fell swoop, Najib has demonstrated that his 1Malaysia policy and all the talk about economic, social and government transformation to underpin a quantum leap for the nation to escape the middle-income trap and achieve an inclusive, sustainable high-income developed nation in 2020 are all just bunkum./// – Kit

    Najib is showing his true colors.

    Through its leader’s self confession, It is crystal clear by now

    UMNO = Perkasa
    Perkasa = UMNO

    Would a leopard ever change its spots?

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 9:43 pm

    Big fat jiat lui projects 2 enrich UmnoBputras b4 they exit fr Putrajaya n bankrupt d nation

  13. #13 by yhsiew on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 10:20 pm

    Beware of two-faced leaders. When they see Bumi, they talk in Bumi language but when they see non-Bumi, they talk in non-Bumi language.

  14. #14 by bennylohstocks on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 10:32 pm

  15. #15 by yhsiew on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 10:45 pm

    ///Former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir’s obsession with mega projects like the proposed RM5 billion 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower is back with a vengeance./// – Kit

    If Najib does not throw out some goodies for his cronies, do you think he will get support from them in the 13th GE?

    We just don’t know how many votes Najib has garnered in advance from his cronies even before the 13th GE is due.

    Just a little thought folks – since no crooked bridge, perhaps a more cost intensive 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower is a good substitute!

  16. #16 by bquah on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 11:22 pm

    People earning more than RM5K a month will not get any benefit at all from this 2011 budget. We work hard and sometimes we will have to let off steam, now we have to be burden with additional 1% more of service tax, for treating myself to a nice dinner. Even watching astro in my living room will cost be more. Things are becoming more expensive and the government says the inflation rate will be 2-3% in 2011. I am not sure about the REAL INFLATION numbers. I think it is a good time to look for jobs in other countries like UK, Singapore, HK or US for better opportunities and living standards. There is really no benefit to be middle income earners in Malaysia

  17. #17 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 17 October 2010 - 11:23 pm

    Mahathir will soon become Minithir. Maybe Nanothir.

  18. #18 by House Victim on Monday, 18 October 2010 - 9:48 am

    Day in and Day out, the Fairy tales of “King’s new clothes” will soon be aheaded by Malaysian newest and long standing version – “The PM’s new clothes”.

    The Clothes that could have meaning only to the “eyes” of the PM but not in the eyes of those who can see!

    “It’s nasi lemak and PM for company for 10-year-old”

    -Is he the PM of the Nation or just UMNO?
    -To boast of the Greatest of UMNO before a 10years old!
    -To compare with what are not the job of the Opposition with what has little been done by the Government, using the name of UMNO?
    -To boast of 1million of poverty using less that RM20 per month of electricity?

    How many electrical house hold can be used for this RM20/month?
    Should a PM be boost of “his” country when 1million cannot even afford RM20/month for electricity?

    A show during his budget proposal of skyscraper, MRT and even renovation of PM house at 65million!!
    PM’s new clothes!!

  19. #19 by on cheng on Monday, 18 October 2010 - 10:46 am

    High income society?? Remember, in many, many villages (both Penin. n East) still do not have electricity supply n treated water supply or connected by sealed road!!, after 47 years of Malaysia.

  20. #20 by Godfather on Monday, 18 October 2010 - 3:43 pm

    ’tis the season to be merry. Santa Najib is coming to town. Quick, all the BN parties are gearing up to claim a slice of the action….30 pct leakage is enough to make billions without having to pay tax.

  21. #21 by Godfather on Monday, 18 October 2010 - 3:47 pm

    “Anybody have an explanation for my question?”
    On Cheng

    Simple. They all sit around the campfire at Putrajaya, and Najib starts with “one for you, one for me, one for the fat lady, one for the guy in the ICU.” That’s why it will turn out to be the most expensive transportation system in the world. Another first for 1Malaysia.

  22. #22 by House Victim on Monday, 18 October 2010 - 6:55 pm

    Wanted men gunned down
    Is gunning down a proper procedures towards 5 robbers with KNIFES?

    Don’t they dare to say from where these “foreigners” came from?
    Or, they will be challenged by the respective country?
    Fighting “crimes” with violations of procedures?
    Will they do the same if the 5 are Malaysians?
    Police in their New Clothes!!

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