Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Government Does Not Listen

It wasn't too long ago during the Terence Gomez - Universiti Malaya saga when Pak Lah famously asked the rakyat to continue to "speak up and tell [him] the truth".

Well, did you read the year-end bumper issue of The Edge on "how to make Malaysia more competitive"?

The people who have spoken on this issue are no simple Tom, Dick or Harrys. These are the countries industry leaders, and highly respected professionals. Are you listening, Pak Lah?

Datuk Nazir Razak, CEO of the CIMB financial services group and unlike his elder brother, deputy prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, himself called for the review of the New Economic Policy as well as the judicial process.
"... I also believe that a thorough review of the NEP and its implementation has become critical. In our little corner, in the capital markets, for instance, if we have moved to free pricing for IPOs, how dangerous is it that we insist that bumiputeras have preferential allocation? Potential issuers today are being courted by exchanges throughout the world; in its present form, the NEP discourages companies from listing on Bursa Malaysia; how helpful is that to the country or indeed to the bumiputera community?"
Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, UMNO MP for Kota Bahru as well as Chairman of Malaysia's largest legal practice, Zaid Ibrahim & Co asked the Government to "abandon failed political ideas".
"Disaster struck when the medium of instruction changed. Quality of education deteriorated. The government had to spend hundred of millions retraining unemployable graduates... Sixty thousand graduates are now unemployable because they are qualified in areas not in demand in the job market (other than the civil service)...

"Our judicial system was castrated; Parliament was filled with law endorsers rather than law-makers and press freedom was severely curtailed. Corruption is still rampant and little is being done about it. We aspire to be a progressive civilised nation but are not willing to have a corrupt-free environment, greater accountability and good political governance."

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, the President of Transparency International Malaysia, asked the Government to "phase in competition, meritocracy".
"The basic premise should be - be fair to all Malaysians, especially to the poor of all races and religions. The New Economic Policy has indeed reduced poverty remarkably, but we still have millions who are not able to make ends meet and to live a life of dignity and freedom from want and even basic needs.

The NEP has enriched, maybe 1,000 families, and often enough through some abuses of the system. This tendency cannot be tolerated any longer."
The problem is, Pak Lah, the rakyat are speaking to you, but are you listening? And if you are indeed listening, you are probably the only one doing so for the rest of your Cabinet, government and Barisan Nasional component party leaders obviously have little or no interest in the rakyat or the country at heart.
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