Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ku Li: We need bold reforms, not Najib's NEM

Pouring cold water on the government's New Economic Model (NEM), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah took a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, saying that the country needs bold reforms, and not piecemeal economic measures.

In his speech at a book launch last night, the veteran Umno leader stressed on the importance of setting the house in order and instilling confidence in the people.

Tengku Razaleigh pointed out that reforms must be undertaken to restore the independence of the police, the anti-corruption commission and the judiciary.

Confidence in the rule of law, he added, is a basic condition of economic growth.

“We are in a foundational crisis of our political system. People can no longer see what lies ahead of us, and all around us they see signs of decaying institutions. The country will continue to haemorrhage wealth and talent.

“To reverse that exodus we must restore confidence in the country. We do not get confidence back with piecemeal economic measures but with bold reforms to restore transparency, accountability and legitimacy to our institutions,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh said confidence will return if people see decisive leadership motivated by a sincere concern for the welfare of the country.

The opposite occurs if they see decisions motivated by short term politics, he added.

“Nevermind FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), if Malaysians started investing in Malaysia, and stopped leaving, or started coming back, we would see a surge in growth,” he noted.

Repeal draconian laws, replace NEP

Tengku Razaleigh called for the civil service to be reformed, an all out war to be waged on corruption and the education system revamped.

The former finance minister also wanted the repeal of draconian laws, including the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act, repealed.

He said these laws together with the Internal Security Act and Official Secrets Act only serve to create a climate of timidity and fear, “which is the opposite of the flourishing of talent and ideas that we say we want.”

Apart from this, Tengku Razaleigh also urged for the NEP (New Economic Policy) to be replaced with a 'new deal' to bring everyone, regardless of race, gender, or what state they live in and who they voted for, into the economic mainstream.

People can no longer see what lies ahead of us, and all around us they see signs of decaying institutions.

According to the Gua Musang MP, the time has also come to break the stranglehold of communal politics and racial policies.

“This must be done, and it must be done now. We have a small window of time left before we fall into a spiral of political, social and economic decline from which we will not emerge for decades.

“This is the leap we must make, but to make that leap we need a government capable of promoting radical reform. That is not going to happen without political change.

“We should not underestimate the ability of our citizens to transcend lies, distortions and myths and get behind the best interest of the country. In this they are far ahead of our present leadership, and our leadership should listen to them,” he said.

by FMT

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