M’sia needs strong leadership badly
Published on: Sunday, January 19, 2020
By: Datuk John Lo
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Malaysian leadership has lost focus for many years now but our political leaders have chosen to ignore it. The result? The 2020 “Malaysian dream” for 1st world status has been shattered and lost in the wilderness. It is now 2030 but we are no better off than 5 or 10 years ago. 

Unless political leaders can wake up from the dangers of “race and religion”, our country will stagnate in middle income or possibly worse, regress back into 3rd world like some African countries. Even some African countries are awake and are beginning to roar with Chinese assistance. The Asian Tigers [Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea] have left us far behind in their dusts. They are now much better off than us in income, standard of living and almost every economic and social endeavours. Vietnam, the late comer kid, will overtake us like Ferrari vs Proton Saga soon.

Weak leadership is causing Malaysia’s lack of economic progress.

Becoming an Asian Tiger was our much-heralded ambition, but our leaders have lost direction and will power.

This Vision 2020 has been blinded by ineffectual “political cataract” in both eyes. How about Government Transformation Programme? This was born dead.

Though GTP was an excellent concept and would have elevated Malaysia into 1st world status, weak, aimless and amoral leadership was subsumed by greed/corruption. Is there hope for New Malaysia and Shared Prosperity 2030? Like the old saying, “once bitten twice shy”, we are into the 3rdh time of being bitten, not twice as New Malaysia is fading fast. Shared Prosperity 2030 would not become our 4th time being bitten. Things just cannot improve in Malaysia. Political leaders playing “race and political” game, are preventing Malaysia from achieving 1st world economic progress and destroying our dream of better lives. 

Weak leadership and our PETRO$$$$$? 

What have these countries in common—-Norway, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait? Excellent Management of Petrowealth. Norway tops the world’s best managed sovereign wealth from oil revenue. Why does midget Brunei have a larger sovereign fund and 2 2 times larger GDP per capita than Malaysia? Why Malaysia is below par with Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, all of which have no petro$$$, little or no natural resources? Why the citizens of these countries can enjoy much better standard living than Malaysians? The answer is simple—Their citizens are blessed with superior economic leadership.

From day 1 when Malaysia has discovered oil till now—-our revenue/profit from oil must have been in the trillions. When oil prices were sky high, Petronas’ annual profits were more than RM100 billion. Where are all these petro$$$ windfalls? What has happened to them? Why leaders of previous BN and PH governments are reluctant and/or have no courage to investigate how Petro$$$ have been used.

Sabah has produced oil and gas for more than 30 years. Why is Sabah still one of the worst-off states? Why are so many Sabahans still living below poverty line? Why so many Sabahans have migrated to KL, Singapore and Johore to seek jobs and better salary? All these are manifestations of poor, very poor economic leadership.

Weak leadership and chance of better future economic performance? 

History is a great teacher. Projecting into the future, I have grave doubt that Malaysia’s economic performance will experience dramatic improvement or can catch up with our erstwhile Asian Tiger cousins. Tun M has said Malaysia can be an Asia Tiger again. Likely we shall remain a kitten with stunted growth, unable to realise our full potentials.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/10/527408/msia-will-roar-asian-tiger-again-wkb-2030

Weak leadership in PH government.

The pre GE14 PH coalition that the voters have elected into government has morphed into a different animal. Most glaringly, it has forgotten that Malaysians have given support PH on a non-racial/religious platform. Its platform was on good governance, better economic management, inclusive policies and stronger economic performance. Unfortunately, it has fallen head over heels into the opposition’s race/religion trap. To brush up its race/religion credentials, the PH government has tumbled below par on being unable to produce meaningful economic policies that can put Malaysia on to the path of achieving Asian Tiger status.

Many PH ministers lack quality leadership as is obvious from the lack of definitive models/policies at the respective ministries, their embarrassing U turns announcements, neither here nor there “may-be” or “may consider” statements without follow proper ups. Quite amateurish!

Unable to appoint a new minister of education is very worrying. It cannot make sense for 94 year Tun M to take on the huge education ministry without sacrificing his focus on bigger national issues. 

Weak leadership and Malaysia’s present political ambience.

Because of its unfocused leadership the PH government has been found wanting in its ability to change the attitude of bumiputras from economic/financial dependency to self-independency. It lacks political courage to convert the vast majority of bumiputra to face economic reality of competitiveness, hard work and necessity of saving.

Instead, it has embarked on an easy way out by continuing the “bantuan” policy of the previous government, albeit under different slogans. Its implicit condone of race supremacy, demand for dignity, birth rights to economic opportunities and not having to compete or work for it will continue to make Malaysia an economic laggard. So long as it refuses to face the fact that no country can achieve economic greatness without recognising basic economic realities, Malaysia will remain an economic kitten—-never an Asian Tiger.

The PH government has exhibited little political leadership and courage to change the present toxic political ambience. It has become a follower to opposition’s brand of race/religion politics. Sad, very sad indeed. 

Weak leadership and fondness of shifting blame.

Strong, trustworthy leadership can lead the people to achieve strong economic performance by appropriate motivation, supported by a strong economic direction, fair policies and equitable distribution of wealth. Malaysian leaders have failed badly in this respect due to corruption, self-interest, cronyism and ineffective implementation. The leaders have no moral high ground to admit their failures. To shield themselves from political back lash from their own supporters, they have to use the bogeymen of blames on others to justify their own leadership failures. And encourage them to demand for more privileges under the pretext of enabling to catch up.

Weak leadership and quality of education.

It is in education that the worst type of weak leadership can be seen in the previous and present government. [a] Failure to recognize meritocracy has produced a whole bunch of mediocratic academics who can only churn out poorly qualitied graduates and a very large pool of unemployable and unemployed graduates.

Then put the blame on employers for refusing to employ them. [b] Fondness for quantity and failure to produce quality has produced square peg graduates for round holes in the economy. UPM [University Putra Malaysia] was very proud to produce at one time 632 PHd graduates which must be the largest in the world and which has attracted nothing but ridicules. UPM has become a joke. Sad to say, UPM is deluding in pride of this laughable PHd numbers!

Without competition and meritocracy, the Malaysian education system can never produce world class innovation. 

Malaysia’s present education model will never equip Malaysians to achieve economic greatness. 

The PH government has an unique opportunity to overhaul the poor education system but has failed to do so up to now. It cannot even implement teaching of maths and science in English which is T M’s favourite objective.

Malaysia in urgent need of fresh, strong leadership. It is quite easy to see weak leadership that has enveloped Malaysia inside a jumbled up, aimless economic model. Too many Malaysians, especially those wanting more privileges and bantuan, are being trapped and unable to escape. 

All the talks of becoming Asian Tiger again, race supremacy and demands for economic dignity are just hot air. There must be strong leaders who can lead Malaysians to do away with all these economic ills and superfluous stuffs. They must roll up their sleeves, go for hard work and in education, learn the difficult stuff like maths, science, engineering and technology, adopt strong values of honesty, self-discipline, self-reflections and acceptance of all races/religions.

Let me reiterate—-the PH government is a not a bad government. All that it needs to do is—- 

[a] Put its act together. 

[b] Select ministers with genuine capabilities. PH’s good talents are being ignored.

[c] PH component parties must settle down and stop trying to out manoeuvre each other. 

[d] Be leaders of all Malaysians. 

[e] Small boy should not pick fights with giants like India and China—-bound to get the nose bloody. 

[f] Most importantly, fulfil your GE14 promises if you want to win GE15.





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