Dr M’s wealth prescription will bankrupt Malaysia, say analysts, politicians
By Boo Su-Lyn October 01, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s prescription of growth and wealth to avoid race relations problems plaguing Malaysia will bankrupt the nation if followed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak, analysts and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders said.
They pointed out that the former premier’s own advice had failed during his administration which showed a trend of declining race relations amid ballooning government expenditure.
“Najib will be crazy to follow Dr Mahathir’s prescription for it’ll only bankrupt the country and worsen race relations, especially when the root causes of deteriorating race relations are not first addressed,” DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua told The Malaysian Insider.
“Race relations were getting worse by the day between 2005 and 2009 despite record government expenditure and budget, and a record-breaking number of projects,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said on Wednesday he had formulated the Bangsa Malaysia concept under his Vision 2020 plan based on the premise that thriving economic growth would ease race relations.
Pua, however, pointed out that after Dr Mahathir’s administration, the government budget had expanded from RM128 billion in 2004 to a hefty RM200 billion last year.
“Yet race relations had been increasingly worse in those past five years compared to the years before,” said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, citing incidents of Umno leaders waving the keris, a traditional Malay dagger, during annual general meetings.
In 2005, then-Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein sparked an uproar when he wielded the keris at the party annual general meeting, which was criticised as a symbol of Malay supremacy.
Recently, there has been a spike in racial tension, such as the incident of two school principals accused of uttering racial slurs, the furore surrounding a Chinese MP’s visit to a surau, and a National Civics Bureau (BTN) senior official who allegedly referred to the Chinese and Indian communities as “si mata sepet” and “si botol” at a closed-door Puteri Umno function on Monday.
Pua dismissed the former Umno president’s spending strategy to ease racial tension as “unsustainable” and irresponsible.
“Looking forward, it’s unsustainable. The country does not have the money to keep spending the way Dr Mahathir wants us to spend,” he said, pointing out that the national debt had increased from 40 per cent of the GDP to 52 per cent today at RM363 billion.
“We cannot keep spending irresponsibly,” stressed Pua.
The lawmaker pointed out that the abuse of affirmative action policies was the underlying factor of race relations problems, but not a stagnant economy as claimed by Dr Mahathir.
“It is NEP (New Economic Policy) abuses — the ‘bastardisation’ as described by Nazir Razak — where they benefited a minority few,” said Pua, referring to CIMB group CEO Datuk Seri Nazir Razak who is Najib’s younger brother.
Recently, Nazir had lambasted the policy for being “bastardised” over the decades since its inception in 1971 for deviating from its goal of eradicating poverty.
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