KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — DAP leader Lim Kit Siang today urged Sibu voters to pay attention to pressing national issues involving the country's economy, warning that Malaysia shared the same “ills” that had caused the once-great nation of Greece to go bankrupt.
Among the many “ills”, he pointed out, were corruption, cronyism, worsening income disparity, rent-seeking and patronage, lack of public confidence in major institutions of governance like the civil service, the police and the judiciary and the increasing flight of local talent from the country.
The DAP adviser who has been campaigning avidly in Sibu for the nation's 11th by-election, called on Sibu voters to ponder carefully if they were confident that Sarawak would be spared should Malaysia's economy fall like Greek's.
“Can Malaysia go the way of Greece becoming a bankrupt country and if Malaysia is bankrupt, can Sarawak be spared its awful consequences?
“The SUPP leadership does not want the Sibu voters in the “By-election of the Century” in Sarawak to be concerned about big national issues — and this is the great difference between the DAP and Pakatan Rakyat on the one hand and the SUPP and the Barisan Nasional on the other,” he said in a statement at the DAP/PR by-election media centre this morning.
Drawing inferences from the Greek example, Lim said that Malaysia was in grave danger of following in its footsteps if its present “ills” were not cured soon.
He pointed out that Greece had ended up as a financial “basket-case” for the very same ills plaguing Malaysia like its bureaucracy, bloated civil service which comprises 10 per cent of the nation's 10 million-strong population, corruption, lack of government transparency, lack of political willpower to reform, lackadaisical attitude and unabated borrowings by the government.
Lim said that BN leaders were well aware of Malaysia's depressing financial situation but would only admit to it in “rare moments”.
One of these “rare moments”, he said, was during the publication of the New Economic Model, initiated recently by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration.
“The report of the NEM warned that the progress we have made over the past half-century has slowed and economic growth prospects have weakened considerably.
“The report also said that Malaysia is caught in a middle income trap — and we are not among the top performing global economies.
“It also admitted that our economic growth has come at a considerable environmental cost and has not benefited all segments of the population. The government must confront these realities and make tough decisions,” said Lim.
He questioned if the SUPP leadership had showed any concern over the unchecked decline of Sibu, Sarawak and Malaysia.
“The people of Sibu, Sarawak and Malaysia can see that many of the factors which had brought down the great historic nation of Greece to its knees, begging for European financial rescue, are already to be found in Malaysia after 53 years of Merdeka in 1957 and 47 years since the formation of Malaysia,” he said.
DAP Sarawak chief Wong Ho Leng is facing BN's Robert Lau Hui Yew in the upcoming Sibu by-election.