Urgent action is needed to infuse Malaysians with a new national consensus and pull ourselves up from our bootstraps if Malaysia is not to spiral down the trajectory to a kleptocratic, kakistocratic and a failed state in 2040.
In the final days of the year 2020, evidence are galore that we have failed in Vision 2020 to make Malaysia a great world-class nation which is united, harmonious, democratic, just, prosperous and capable of leveraging on Malaysia’s unique position as a confluence of four great civilisations to be “a beacon of light in a difficult and distracted world”.
We have failed the Merdeka Constitution 1957, the Malaysian Constitution 1963 and the Rukun Negara 1970 to create the basis of a great Malaysian nation.
The Japan Centre for Economic Research (JCER) has predicted that Vietnam will become an upper-middle-income country in 2023 and its GDP will surpass that of Taiwan in 2035.
In 1970, when we embarked on the New Economic Policy, Vietnam had a GDP of US$2,775 million, trailing behind Malaysia’s GDP of US$3,737 million
Now Vietnam has a larger GDP and is set to leave Malaysia far behind in the coming years. In the 50 years from 1970 to 2020, Vietnam’s GDP grew by 122 times as compared to Malaysia’s GDP, which grew by 90 times.
We have also lost out to Singapore, whose GDP grew by 176 times in the past 50 years as well as Indonesia, whose GDP grew by 111 times.
What went wrong?
In the 1995 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI), the first in a 25-year series of annual integrity reports, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries or the 6th highest-ranked nation in the Asia-Pacific after New Zealand -1, Singapore – 3, Australia – 7, Hong Kong – 17 and Japan – 20, with a CPI score of 5.28. (10 stands for “highly clean” and 0 for “highly corrupt”)
For 24 years, despite numerous anti-corruption campaigns, two major anti-corruption legislation, the “elevation” of the former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) into Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Malaysia fell to the lowest ranking and one of the lowest scores in 2017.
After TI CPI 2019, where Malaysia is ranked No. 51 with a score of 53 – the best performance in the past quarter of a century which saw a single-year improvement of six points for the TI CPI score and 10 placings in TI CPI ranking – I dread to read the TI CPI 2020 for Malaysia, which will be released next month.
In the past 25 years, other countries which had been down on the list of the TI CPI 1995 ranking were fast catching up while Malaysia was fast falling down!
China, Thailand, India and Indonesia are such examples in Asia.
China was ranked No. 40 out of 41 countries with a CPI score of 2.16 in 1995. In 2019, China is ranked No. 80 with a CPI score of 41.
Will China not only catch up but leave Malaysia behind in the TI CPI, both in ranking and in score in the coming years?
Other Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia and India are making major strides in the battle against corruption. Thailand, which was ranked No. 34 with CPI score of 2.79 in 1995 is now ranked No. 85 (out of 183 countries) with an improved score of 40 out of 100. India was ranked No. 35 with CPI score of 2.78 in 1995 is now ranked No. 80 with China with an improved score of 41.
Even Indonesia is making significant strides in the anti-corruption front. Ranked at the very bottom of No. 41 in 1995, with CPI score of 1.94, Indonesia is now ranked No. 101 with an improved CPI score of 36 in 2019.
What went wrong?
Recent days provide more evidence that we must urgently pull ourselves up from our bootstraps if we are to avoid the horrors of spiralling down the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state:
· We have overtaken China, which has a population 40 times that of Malaysia, in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, and set to break the 100,000-mark in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases by Christmas;
· Police witch-hunt and harassment of DAP MP for Klang, Charles Santiago and human rights activist from Citizen Action Group On Enforced Disappearance (CAGED), Sevan Doraisamy about a SUARAM forum over a year ago concerning the detention of 12 individual, including DAP leaders, under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) for being alleged supporters of the defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group.
· The ignoring of the World Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9 and the World Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 by the Muhyiddin Government, disregarding the important message by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “human rights must be the front and centre of Covid-19 response”.
The time for action based on a new national consensus is now for time and tide waits for no man if we want to spare Malaysia the fate and ignominy of kleptocracy, kakistocracy and a failed state in 2040.
(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah on Saturday, 19th December 2020)