BETTER FOR TUN MAHATHIR TO STAY RETIRED

By : STEPHEN YAMAN

FORMER Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently cautioned or warned the Malaysian people about giving the opposition a five-year trial mandate to rule the country, saying it was a dangerous move because many things can be destroyed.

As an ex-Prime Minister, I think it will be better for him to stay retired because we appreciate what he has done during his time as a leader. The more he comments, the more questionable he becomes. Over the years, changes have been made when the people feel that things are not necessary right.
Yes, Malaysia has experienced rapid economic growth according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia (MITI) in announcing a new record total trade of RM1.27 trillion in 2011 and the 14th consecutive year of trade surplus achieved since 1998.
The Barisan National government has ruled since independence for 55 years and we seem very much lagging behind our nearest neighbors, Singapore and Brunei. What is wrong with a five-year trial mandate? May be for a layman like me, it will give the present opposition a chance to show how good they are with their proposals.
An age old question, what happen to our good old currency and foreign debt under the present government? Do Malaysians want to pause and carefully think why Malaysia has a foreign debt of about RM500 billion and the Ringgit is RM2.523 to the B/S$1.00.
What do Singapore (the No. 2 Malaysia’s trading country in 2011) and Brunei produce to have their currency very strong and to remain debtless? So, the Malaysian rapid economic growth seems to be meaningless! In Australia, the economic growth has made the A$ better in exchange rate to the RM (even better than the US$).
Malaysia is looking towards Mahathir’s target of becoming high income nation and a developed country by 2020. How can we ever achieve this plan and target when the government cannot even synchronize minimum pay between East and West Malaysia?
In real terms, RM800 (for East Malaysia) is about US$253.00 (at US$1.00 = RM3.15 present value) which is very far from the developed nation status of per capita income of at least US$15,000 as quoted by the co-founder of Transparency International, Michael J. Hershman.
The majority of the East Malaysian people are earning at below the minimum pay level. The target for 2020 is made almost impossible as our currency has lost its purchasing power against the Singapore and Brunei currencies. To add “insult to injury” let alone he was talking about getting Malaysia out of the “middle income” trap and economic stagnation that Malaysia had experienced.
AFP and many independent world journalists have reported in several local newspapers that the opposition has made great strides in Penang and Selangor since taking over the two states in the 2008 general election.
The books, which were colored red after 5 decades under the control of Malaysia’s authoritarian ruling coalition, were quickly balanced within 4 years and debts were virtually eliminated. In Penang, CM Lim Guan Eng has launched a campaign to halt official corruption. Penang and Selangor are the first states in Malaysia to have the Chief Minister and all its excos declare their personal assets and income to the public.
Many credit Lim’s attempts to clean up the rampant backroom deals and political patronage that are typical of Malaysia. Lim said, “What is sad about Malaysia is that things that are the international norm (clean government) are abnormal”. And he continued, “If you can show that you can govern well, it will be a model, a showcase… a precursor of governing the federal government”.
The saying goes, “Prudence is the father of virtue”. This comes naturally after years of being the opposition bench exposing avarice and wastefulness. The parliament report cards for Penang and Selangor have excellent results in managing debts, budgetary surpluses, revenue increases, cash holdings, and economic appeal.
Former MCA President Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik was quoted in the newspapers saying that many opposition leaders in PR states were not bogged down with moral and corruption issues. He even said that Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as examples of PR leaders untainted by corruption and abuses of power.
As Malaysians, we expect to see the economic performance of Malaysia directly benefiting the citizens. There are huge budgets being earmarked throughout Malaysia for development. Yet again and again we see so many projects way below the standards we expected.
We read and hear numerous complaints made but to deaf ears. And worse of all, what used to be our M$ real worth has disappeared – our earnings of M$1,000 is now B/S$400 not B/S$1,000 of the past. We would like to see the government address this very critical issue which has burned “a very big hole in our pockets”.
Can we be guaranteed big changes for our mandate for BN? Or do we want to take the risks and see “Penang and Selangor for Malaysia in the making”. May be for Tun Mahathir, he quoted and you better believe, “Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t”. 
 
Sabahkini

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