Posted tagged ‘race based politics’

Policy paralysis renders 11th Malaysia plan nought

May 30, 2015

The 11th Malaysia Plan announced by the prime minister was high in objectives, vision and political rhetoric but low in action plans and implementation strategies. It is common knowledge that the Achilles’ heel of the Umno-led government is implementation. The much promoted and published goal of reaching high-income status has finally reached its final lap. The vision 2020 high-income status goal was envisaged and mooted by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the early 1990s during the 6th Malaysia Plan. Since then, every Malaysia Plan was implemented to take the country closer to high-income status and finally reach it by 2020. To achieve high-income status, quality education, skills training and entrepreneurial development have to be the cornerstone of the economic policy.

Every year, the Education Ministry is allotted the highest budget (21% in 2015) to enhance education quality, competence and skills. The Education Ministry introduced a number of blueprints to achieve these objectives. But the latest OECD report places Malaysia 52nd out of 76 countries in terms of our students’ ability to grasp basic skills. While our Singapore tops the list on this score. The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which evaluates levels of literacy amongst 15-year-olds in mathematics, science and reading skills, as well as critical problem-solving skills—as opposed to memorisation—placed Malaysia 55th out of 74 countries. Despite the high expenditure on education, the achievements are disappointing and a letdown.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhiddin Yassin himself got a shock at the international achievements of Malaysian students when compared to our neighbouring countries. Education has been deliberately allowed to be hijacked by racists and bigots by the UMNO government far too long. Besides public education institutions are centres of segregation and perverted ideologies. After all the hype about smart and cluster schools, only 6% of non-Malay students are in national schools (sekolah kebangsaan) compared to 12% of non-Chinese students in national-type Chinese schools.

Malaysia was ranked 64th out of 187 countries surveyed under the Human Development Index (HDI) last year, according to the 2013 Human Development Report (HDR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). All the slogan chanting and politically expedient proclamations of developing human resources have not taken Malaysians to a state of high productivity. Besides 1.5 million Skilled Malaysians who are not appreciated in their own country are developing other countries.

The addiction on cheap legal and illegal foreign workers has made Malaysia the heaven for human trafficking and smuggling. Nepotism and corruption amongst the enforcement agencies have made the country famous worldwide for the wrong reasons worldwide. All effort to upskill and automation are half hearted and ended with failure but money spent. Local university graduates are less employable compared to foreign university graduates.

According to a National Economic Advisory Council survey of household income in 2008, 80% of Malaysian households made below RM2957 a month. Putrajaya has to pay BR1M money of RM950 per year to support this group. Therefore, reaching high- income status within the next five years is uphill task, given the high unskilled foreign workers presence. The increasing economic slowdown internationally and political risk locally does not help either.

Malaysia has to reverse the outflow of skilled labour and halt the inflow of cheap migrant labour if it wants to achieve high-income status and reduce income inequality. Malaysia has to treat its own citizens equally irrespective of their racial background if it were to progress as a high income nation. All the scandals, wastages and abuse of power shows that divide and rule will ruin this country.

PASMA, the moral alternate

April 30, 2015

The announcement by PASMA on the 26th May that they may form a new party in June after the PAS Muktamar should the need arise is another sign that politics in Malaysia is becoming more competitive sidestepping the usual stereotyping of race and religion. PASMA can provide an alternative to Malay heartland voters from UMNO’s handouts and baseless fear politics and PAS offer of hudud and hardline rule which is incompatible in a multiracial country. PASMA’s move can be progressive and steer the rural Malay minds to good governance and economic growth that will benefit youngsters. This new group can pose a serious challenge to the corrupted UMNO and hardline PAS.

Under the leadership of Tok guru Nik Aziz PAS was able ward off the strong challenge of UMNO and stay clear of all the traps set by UMNO to bait them. But without him PAS has become untrustworthy to even keep their words within their Pakatan partners. They have fallen back to religious hardline to gain moral acceptability from the Malays. PAS members have been at odds and therefore can never join hands with UMNO members. Their political rivalry goes a long way. Unless the present PAS leadership takes note of the ground sentiment and act accordingly they may end up being rejected by party members. PAS Ulamas wing should give up tabling Hudud bill and focus on winning Putrajaya.

The 1MDB fiasco with a debt of RM42 billion under the prime minister’s charge and simultaneously introducing GST because of 16 years of continuous fiscal deficit and high public debt has not gone down well with Malaysians including the kampong folks. The increase in prices of goods and services in name of GST pinches the pockets of these kampong folks and they feel let down by UMNO. Everything is not hunky-dory in UMNO either. Dr Mahathir’s tirade against the Prime Minister’s involvement in 1MDB, GST, BRIM and Altantuya murder case has weakened the moral integrity of UMNO and its leaders. The unquestionable support of Malays on UMNO’s ability to lead the race and the country is fast evaporating. Rich poor gap within Malay society is widening at an alarming rate.

Chinese and Indians have left MCA and MIC and now it’s the Malay community’s turn to dump UMNO. These component parties have become corrupted and keen on enriching themselves. Malaysia is on the verge of being downgraded by Fitch rating agency due to the chronic fiscal deficit, high public debt, 1MDB and poor commodities prices have weakened the ringgit. The conflicting and contradicting policies of economic growth and race based affirmative actions have not taken the country anywhere. It only enriched UMNO and BN leaders and their cronies. Race based politics of Malaysia has alienated the talented workforce inducing them to leave the country. Without the talented and skilled workforce no nation can become a developed or high income nation.

Of late we are hearing of IS militants attempting to destroy strategic locations within the country. Our forefathers laid the road to moderation and inclusiveness. But Dr Mahathir changed direction towards more race and religious based politics and policies leading to fundamentalism and extremism. Datuk Seri Najib’s economic transformation program and government transformation programs were sabotaged by hardliners and zealots within UMNO. Under the current governance model by race based parties Malaysia is trapped and cannot achieve its true potential. We have lost many useful years. Unfortunately we haven’t learnt our lessons yet.