August 4, 2016bee
Malaysia on the right track? No, it has been derailed due to Corruption and Inept and hen-packed leadership
by Soo Wern Jun
(received by e-mail)
Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia is on the right track towards becoming a developed nation. He was speaking at a dinner function at the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta yesterday.
He cited government’s policies and measures, such as fuel subsidy reduction and the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which he said, spurred progress to benefit the people.
Comparisons were drawn with Indonesia that has a population of 261.21 million while Malaysia has 30.84 million. He said Indonesian President Joko Widodo praised the Malaysian government’s measures and remarked that the challenges faced by Indonesia were greater, even though its policies were similar to Malaysia’s.
Does Najib realise that Indonesia has a population eight times bigger than Malaysia? Should Malaysia strive to be better, should it not compare itself with a developed nation instead?
Najib’s pedestrian solutions and quick fixes
Najib and Jokowi think that reducing fuel subsidy and implementing GST would help the countries achieve developed nation status. This could also be the very reason to why both nations are still struggling with high poverty levels.
According to the World Bank, Indonesia’s poverty rate may have declined by one per cent annually from 2007 to 2011, but has fallen by an average of only 0.3 percentage points per year since 2012.
“Out of a population of 252 million (as of May 2016), 28.6 million Indonesians still live below the poverty line and approximately 40% of all people remain clustered around the national poverty line set at 330,776 rupiah per person per month ($22.60) or RM89.50,” stated the World Bank.
While Malaysia tends to boast about its success in reducing poverty rates, why the high number of soup kitchens and non-government organisations setting up food banks to help feed those who are living below poverty line? As indicated by the World Bank, Malaysia may have a poverty of less than one per cent, but pockets of poverty remain and income inequality is high relative to other developed countries.
This is only one indication that Malaysia is far from achieving a developed nation status as it struggles to achieve income equality and become a high-income earning nation.
Education is another reason to why the country is far from achieving a developed nation. The fact that parents continue to send their children abroad to further their studies proves that the country still does not have a stable and good education system.
As highlighted by the World Bank, although Malaysia performs well in access to education, the quality of education remains low and appears to be declining rapidly by design.
“In the 2012 PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), Malaysian students only outperformed Indonesian peers but lagged even lower income countries like Vietnam by a wide margin.
“Malaysian education system is most centralised and quality of teachers reportedly low with the report concluding that ‘there is an urgent need to transform Malaysia’s education system so that it produces quality graduates required by a high-income economy’,” the World Bank stated.
Critics also say too much emphasis on wealth may not be helpful in achieving the status of a developed country – as is proven with the current state of the country.
According to a research by the GlobalNxt University, achieving the income target may not be sufficient to be classified as a developed country. Citing Singapore as an example, it says the island state has exceeded that benchmark some time ago with current per capita income of staggering US$47,210 (RM191,984.23), but in many respects is still not a developed country.
Singapore is listed as a high-income economy as the country is small and per capita income may not truly reflect its real development.
Also, the process of development involves transformation of the entire society and the citizens of a developed country are expected to be highly sophisticated and generous.
Malaysians are still struggling with racial and religion problems which are still deeply influenced by the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 to 1990.
While the NEP had a goal to reduce poverty and to increase the participation of Malay community in overall economic activities, it has deepened the problems of racism and had widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
Malaysians are still grappling with racial and religious problems which are still deeply influenced by the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 to 1990.
While the NEP had a goal to reduce poverty and to increase the participation of Malay community in overall economic activities, it has deepened the problems of racism and cronyism and had widened the gap between the rich and the poor in particular among the Malays.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) acknowledged Malaysia’s commitment and clear policy to drive science, technology and innovation – a key that placed the country on the right track to achieve developed-nation status.
Are the development of science, technology and innovation seen spread equally nationwide?
The country’s Internet speed is still far lacking behind Indonesia’s, while there are far too many undeveloped areas in the country that have yet to see Internet connectivity. Is Malaysia really on a right track towards becoming a developed country?