Media Statement by Teresa Kok, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Seputeh in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, October 18, 2014
The Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive director Stewart Forbes said at forum yesterday that Malaysia are 19 years behind South Korea in terms of productivity, naming graft, leakages, complacency and archaic labour laws as road blocks.
What he said will not surprise Malaysians because DAP and other opposition parties have always criticized the BN government’s economic incompetency and the lack of political will to combat corruption and leakages resulting in Malaysia far lagging behind nation like South Korea .
Forbes is totally right to say that Putrajaya is always quick to choose the worst to make comparisons.
However, complacency is not cause for such habit to compare with the worst, but rather it is due to the fact that because Putrajaya simply cannot explain or justify to Malaysians why it has lagged far behind nations like South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, in his 2013 Chinese New Year message, has said the following:-
From International Monetary Fund data bases, 1980 was the last year when Malaysia had a higher GDP per capita than South Korea, i.e. US$1,769 for Malaysia and US$1,689 for South Korea.
Since then, South Korea had left Malaysia far behind but it was after the South Korean democratisation process in 1987 that the South Korean economy reached an entirely new level of innovation with that last, difficult push into the realm of the truly advanced economies, it catapulted from the “middle-income trap” which Malaysia is still struggling to escape from.
Today, Malaysia is certainly far behind South Korea as from World Bank and International Monetary Fund data bases, the GDP per capital ( in US dollars) in 2012 for Malaysia and South Korea are 10678 and 23021 respectively.
Malaysia certainly has a lot to catch up and the first thing that the federal government must have is the political will to combat corruption and leakages.
Unfortunately, the BN government, as can be seen in the 2015 Budget announced in Parliament, has still not shown the will to address the serious problems of corruption and leakages.
Neither is the BN government serious or committed to political reforms as evidenced by the recent political crackdown against government critics and opposition lawmakers ala selective prosecution under the Sedition Act.
Some netizens have joked before that if the BN government does not do what is right and necessary , one day may just come that the nations it will use as comparison are no more Thailand and Vietnam but some underdeveloped nations in Africa!
The Prime Minister cannot keep silent and must respond to Forbes’s comments.