Merdeka message by Lim Guan Eng

By Lim Guan Eng

56 years after Merdeka, the promise of our founders’ ideals have not matched with the realities of our present generation. Malaysia continue to be beset by an extremist and racist divide, overshadowing and even condoning the entrenchment of cronyism, abuse of power and even corruption.

The poor performance of Malaysian Airline System(MAS) despite the huge amounts of public funds invested as compared to Air Asia Bhd is puzzling. Despite not getting a single cent in public funds, Air Asia has consistently outperformed MAS with cheaper fares and is now larger than MAS in market capitalisation, planes and share price. The public has a right to ask the value of money for some RM19 billion spent by the Federal government since 1998 to keep MAS solvent, including guaranteeing RM12.3 billion of MAS’ borrowings.

Adhering to a system of open, transparent and accountable rules-based institutions will ensure that only those who are clean, diligent and competent will be entrusted with jobs involving public trust. Celebrating diversity openly would help to restore our schools as centres fostering national unity instead of centres causing controversy and racial division.

An outcome-based system would ensure delivery to the public and good performances would definitely lead to economic growth and prosperity for all. The revision of Malaysia credit outlook from “stable” to “negative” by Fitch Ratings indicates the seriousness of the Malaysian government’s budget deficit of 4% of GDP and debt position which nears 70% if contingent liabilities are included.

Worse is the household debt to GDP Ratio which is 83.5%, and where half of the household income of the poor are used for debt repayments. If the Federal government wants to reduce household debt, it must lead the way by taking steps to fight corruption so as to reduce Federal government debt and the budget deficit.

Malaysians need to return to the ideals of democracy freedom and fairplay that inspired our founders if our aspirations to achieve that which is true, just and good are to be realised. Rules-based institution, celebrating diversity and outcome-based administration can help to establish national unity, integrity and economic prosperity for all. Let us show that Malaysians can be the best they can be and not the worst that some politicians tells us that we actually are.

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