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Thursday, September 30, 2010

How the government victimises vernacular schools


By Boo Cheng Hau

It looks like the government’s game plan is to have Chinese primary schools implode from overcrowding. Funds allocated for vernacular schools remain at the same level under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) as previously under the 9th Malaysia Plan even though the number of pupils have increased tremendously over the past five years.

The 10th Plan does not disclose the ratio of government appropriation to national schools relative to vernacular schools. Nonetheless, if we were to examine the 9th Malaysia Plan (2005-2010), the figures are revealing.

Under the 9th Plan, primary schools as a whole were allocated a budget of RM4.83 billion for development. Enrolment in Chinese primary schools was 20.96% of the total number of primary school pupils. Going by fair proportionality, Chinese-medium schools should have gotten one-fifth of the funding, or roughly RM1 billion-plus out of the RM4.83 billion.

Instead the Chinese primary schools only received a meagre RM170 million.

There were 70,000 non-Chinese pupils in these Chinese primary schools during the 9th Malaysia Plan period. The majority of the non-Chinese pupils comprised Malays. Therefore, a good number of Bumiputeras ended up victimized by the government’s biased treatment of Chinese-medium schools.

In fact, if we were to look back at the 6th, 7th and 8th Malaysia Plans, we can see a trend where the funding for Chinese-medium schools had been progressively cut.

Appropriation of government funds to primary schools (1991-2005)

Type of primary schoolOverall student enrolmentOverall student enrolment (%)Actual state funds allocated 1991-2005 (RM/million)If the student enrolment ratio had been followed
(RM/million)
Actual fund received per student (RM)
National primary school (Malay)6,210,05574.86%6,869.00 (95.04%)5,448.801,106.10
Chinese national-type primary school1,794,35721.63%262.30 (3.66%)1,541.10146.10
Tamil
national- type primary school
291,5953.51%95.50 (1.32%)237.00327.50
Total:8,296,007100%7,226.807,226.80

Source: Sin Chew Jit Poh (Nov 24, 2005)

Earlier, in 2005, Chinese primary schools accounted for about 21% of total enrolment, including more than 60,000 non-Chinese (mainly Malay) pupils.

If we scrutinize the 15-year period covered by the 6th to 8th Malaysia Plans, we can see that Chinese primary schools received as little as 3.66% of the total government funding appropriated to primary schools.
Meanwhile Tamil primary school enrolment was 3.51% of primary school pupils but the SRJK (Tamil) only received 1.32% of the total government allocations for primary schools.

Still looking at this 15-year period covered by the three Plans, we can see that the national schools or SRK received public funding of RM1,106 per pupil (mostly Malays). The SRJK (C) received public funding of RM146 per pupil (mostly Chinese), and the SRJK (T), RM327.50 per pupil (Indians).

The disparity in treatment meted to children of different races is shocking! And heartbreaking.

Heads you win, tails we lose

Malay supremacists and diehard fans of the English language like to point their finger at Chinese and Tamil schools as the cause of racism and ‘disunity’.

But the fact is that more than 90% of Chinese parents and more than 50% of Indian parents send their children to Chinese and Tamil primary schools respectively. And about 80% of Chinese primary pupils and almost 100% of the Tamil proceed to Malay-medium secondary national schools.

Non-Malay parents elect for their children to have their early education in their mother tongue, and then switch to Malay and English-medium at secondary and tertiary levels.

The Malay supremacists have been actively campaigning for ‘Satu Sekolah untuk Semua’ with the slogan ‘Satu Bahasa, Satu Bangsa, Satu Negara’.

They want ‘one school’ for all pupils. The system will have ‘one language’ as the medium of instruction. This will ultimately see as its end result the creation of ‘one race’. Children of the ‘one race’ — Umno’s version of the ‘Bangsa Malaysia’ vision — studying in ‘one language’ will make for a ‘one united country’, or so the 1-Sekolah movement claims.

Just for the sake of speculation, let’s allow for a day when Chinese-medium and Tamil-medium primary schools are indeed abolished. Children of various races complete their primary education under the same roof. When all have finished Standard Six, where will they go for Form 1?

The bumiputeras will be given places at the ‘Sekolah Cemerlang’, the Malay-only residential schools and Mara Junior Science Colleges. The non-bumiputeras will continue to be denied places in these Malay-only secondary institutions.

It’s not that we’ve not had past experience to learn from. When Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had wanted to open the door of UiTM — a predominantly one-race university — just a crack to allow the entry of non-Malays, there was a massive uproar and demonstrations by Malay ultra nationalists.

The Malay reaction reminded us of the white segregationists of the American south who demonstrated in the 1950s and 1960s demanding that ‘Coloureds’ be barred from their public schools and universities.

Affirmative action advocates protection of minority rights including those of language and culture. Our Malaysia Boleh brand of affirmative action, on the other hand, is discriminative and more deserving of the term apartheid. Over the last two decades, all the elite schools have been catering for one race only. If this is not apartheid, what is?

We have in black and white the last four Malaysia Plans which prove beyond doubt the great discrepancy in funding accorded the different language education streams.

Historians have concluded that it was not the physical segregation during the apartheid era that was horrifying. Physical seperation could be dismantled overnight when apartheid was over, but it was the conceptualised ‘separate development’ suppressing the development of coloured schools that had hurt the self-esteem, and social and educational advancement of the non-whites.

Apartheid was not all about physical segregation but more of separate and unequal social development.

Expansion impossible!


It is quite discernible that the government is applying a containment policy on Chinese-medium schools. In 1970, there were 1,346 Chinese primary schools. In 1990, there were 1,290 Chinese primary schools and in the year 2000, there were 1,287. In 2004, the number remained unchanged at 1,287.

As the stagnant numbers indicate, it’s near impossible for a new Chinese school to be established whereas the Malay-medium national schools are not impeded as the authorities will ensure that they are built wherever there are new housing estates.

On the other hand, to build a new Chinese or Tamil-medium school, the school would have to transfer its permit from another premises, meaning that this precious permit has to be recycled because fresh ones are never issued. On top of this restriction, the school would have to buy its own land and raise its own building fund.

Currently, a few thousand trained but unemployed school teachers are waiting to be posted to Malay-medium national schools. In sharp contrast, there is an acute shortage of 3,000 teachers for Chinese schools.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Starving vernacular education of new blood is just another method to contain Chinese and Tamil schools. The government has made not only their physical expansion impossible but their manpower constricted as well.

The sad and sorry fate of vernacular schools is reflective of the systematic and institutionalised discrimination against Chinese and Indian pupils, and Malay and other pupils in these schools.

Under the 10th Malaysian Plan, each Chinese primary school would get a monthly allowance of RM2,000 for water and electricity. According to Sin Chew Jit Poh (June 20, 2010), a total of RM70 million is allocated for the maintenance of 884 semi-government sponsored Chinese primary schools, or averagely RM80,000 per school.

As comparison, the web portal The Nut Graph – operating under private sector sponsorship — was incurring overheads of RM80,000 per month for its half-a-dozen reporters. The Nut Graph‘s monthly expenditure for a small staff was equivalent to an whole year’s government funding for a Chinese primary school.

Divided into 12 months, the annual 80k allocation works out to an entire school operating on RM6,670 per month.

Can you imagine a thousand pupils scraping by in a school on this tiny sum of money? It’s hardly surprising then that fundraising is a never-ending affair that pupils and their parents in Chinese-medium schools have to endure.

It has been said to be “the second income tax for Chinamen” by the ‘Malay administration’ of Mahathir’s favourite terminology. – CPI

(Dr Boo Cheng Hau is the Johor DAP chairman and the assemblyman for Skudai)

courtesy of Hornbill Unleashed

For the Malays..... An inconvenient truth!


If you want change in Malaysia start by changing yourself. If you look around you will see that the only constant in this world is change and yet nothing really changes but yourself. How you see the world changes as you change. Are you ready for change?


The “you” that I am referring to here are the Malays! We Malays have to be afraid…be very afraid because each day brings us closer to the edge of the cliff. When you are at the edge of the cliff discretion is the better part of valour. We must step back. But why wait until we are at the edge of the cliff? Why not step back now?

Just think. We are having enough difficulty trying to stand shoulder to shoulder with the non-Malays. On top of this we have 3 million Indonesians who have migrated to Malaysia to become Malaysian citizens with Bumiputra status. In the not too distant future we Malays will have to worry about 2nd or 3rd generation Indonesian bumiputras who would have been taught the virtues of hardwork and thrift by their parents or grand parents. These Indonesians bumiputras go out to work before you are awake and they are still not home when you go to sleep. It is obvious that we Malays cannot survive without changing.

Right now in Malaysia the very Malays whose responsibility it is to help the Malays change are too preoccupied trying to ensure their own survival. UMNO is in its death throes. UMNO has lost its moral compass. UMNO no longer has the unquestioning support of the Malays. The end of UMNO is themselves. It ended when power to UMNO became not the means to advance the Malays but power became to UMNO an end in itself….and this started the demise of UMNO as we have known it in the past.

For us Malays it is now warranted that we abandon UMNO for our self-protection. We Malays have to take care of ourselves. The Chinese, the Indians the people in Sabah and Sarawak will not do that for us. They have enough on their plate just to survive under UMNO.

Do not believe what UMNO has been telling us about ourselves. The Malays are not lazy. The Malays do not need to be spoon-fed. The Malays need not be protected against the other races. The Malays can survive against any odds if we are given the opportunity to know these odds. Let us quarrel with the other races if we need to for it will only strengthen our understanding of each other. Do not let anyone accentuate our differences rather let us celebrate these differences as being the very fabric that will bind us together as Malaysians. For I know that in the end we will remember not what UMNO told us but what they did not tell us. UMNO did not tell us that the other races share the same aspirations as we do of living a decent life, the opportunity to earn a good living and the ability to live in peace with their family.

Remember that these non-Malays are in the arena with us. They have to face the same difficulties that we face in living under a corrupt government. They too are faced with the arrogance of their political leaders from MCA and MIC as we Malays face the arrogance of those from UMNO. When the Barisan Nasional government took the subsidy from sugar they took it away not only from the Malays but also the non-Malays. We have faced this and other indignities from the Barisan Nasional government together.

We all have a devotion to our country that transcends ethnicity. For the truth is that we are all Malaysians. There will be some who will question our right to call ourselves Malaysian. Some in ignorance will claim to be the first among Malaysian and they will want to celebrate Ketuanan Melayu…but in the end they too will know that we are all Malaysians!

There was a time when UMNO meant a lot to the Malays but that was then. Now we Malays simply have to let go. It is not the end of the world; it is the beginning of a new life.


And if you want to know how the end will look like then look at our beginning. Look at the time when we got our independence in 1957 – Merdeka - maybe even before Merdeka. That was our beginning. Hopefully by the time all this ends we will all again become the best of friends. One Malaysia.


Meantime remember this:
Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me
Andy Warhol.

courtesy of Steadyaku47

Azmin in 'phone plot to topple Khalid'


By Teoh El Sen

KUALA LUMPUR: A former PKR supreme council member today revealed the recording of a telephone conversation that allegedly exposes a "political conspiracy" to topple Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim by his rival Azmin Ali.

Party veteran and a founding member Ng Lum Yong, who likened his exposé to the "Lingam-gate" scandal, urged the party leadership to form a special committee to investigate the recording.

[Listen to the conversation here]

"Ten days ago, I received a CD through an anonymous sender through the mail," he said.

The CD contained a recording of the telephone conversation between the two men of about 10- minute duration.

"In the coversation, Ramlan (Abu Bakar), the Reformis' president, who led the 'nude squad' protest in front of the Selangor Menteri Besar's office, had said that he was assigned by Azmin to bring down Khalid," said Ng, who added he recognised Ramlan's voice but not the other individual on the other line.

"Ramlan also admitted to the individual that he was promised a reward in the form of a lot in a night market from Azmin," Ng told a press conference.

"He also said that Azmin had provided him documents on Khalid's corruption for the purpose of bringing down Khalid.”

Ng said the conversation in the CD showed that Azmin has long planned for Khalid's downfall.

"I want to ask Azmin: what is his purpose of using Ramlan to launch a campaign against Khalid when the latter is also a PKR member and Selangor Menteri Besar?"

'No ill-intentions'

Ng, however, said that he had no ill-intentions, adding that the purpose of releasing the recording to the public is to clear the air for the party's sake.

"I am still a party member and I love the party. I do not want to destroy the party. We have sacrificed so much in the past 10 years," said Ng, who was a candidate in the Tanjung Malim seat previously but had turned down the chance to contest in Wangsa Maju in 2008.

He said the fact that he had helped in the campaign in Wangsa Maju (where Wee Choo Keong is now MP) when he could have been the candidate, showed he was not power hungry.

"I am not controversial or gila kuasa (power hungry). I am here on my own accord and I'm not forced or paid by anyone," he said.

He said his reason for coming out (with the CD phone conversation) was that he wanted the party to clear the names of his friends (including Azmin and Khalid) by highlighting the issue before the recording is widely spread.

"Yesterday, Syed Husin Ali SMSed me and asked me to stop this press conference. But I feel that I need to continue. I do not accuse anyone of anything. I just want to seek verification and I want the party to be serious" he said. FMT also learnt that he had similar calls from vice-president Lee Boon Chye and strategic directior Tian Chua.

Ng added that he would also attempt to personally verify from Ramlan as well as others on the recording.

He also said though he supported direct elections, he was extremely sad at the current PKR election proceedings.

"This is not a family party. It is our party. I'd like to ask Anwar (Ibrahim), who he meant by Trojan horses in the party? Please reveal this to us"

Listen to the conversation here

courtesy of FMT

THE 4 Es : WHAT THE NEM (ETP) NEEDS

The main thrust of the 4E formula is to 'Build Capacity' for productivity, innovation and sustainability through a one-time massive government investment similar in effort to the US Space Project, in education, research and development, political reforms and effective policies.

By Nurul Izzah Anwar, MP Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur

I wish to outline my big picture impression of how to make the NEM (ETP) a success for all Malaysians as part of my continuing constructive engagement initiative.

I had written two articles on ETP, the first ’15 Questions on ETP’ and the second ‘Fantasy or fallacy: ETP 6% annual growth rate calculations?’

It was said by some observers that the opposition only critiques without offering any alternative solutions to the ETP in particular.

However, all if not most of the ideas presented here have already been suggested, and I only wish to repeat them for the purpose of outlining the necessary steps to make NEM a reality.

I hope that this ‘big picture’ commentary with suggested actions will be considered seriously and explained by the government in the upcoming 2011 Budget announcement in Parliament.

As a footnote, the ETP Part 2 was conveniently announced publicly on 21 September, which is one day after the 20 September dateline for Parliamentary questions submissions.

The Critique

Returning to my articles on the ETP, the response received from the public in support or otherwise of the position I presented is most welcomed in the spirit of free speech in a democracy. This debate is a healthy development, albeit mostly through the alternative media.

The main points to my ETP articles and the various responses can be summed up as follows:

The ETP is a huge economic development or transformation plan that has its merits.

However, the numbers and various acronyms must not be a deterrent from discussing economics especially on its impact on all stakeholders.

The possible inconsistencies and accuracy of GDP growth projections was revealed when the PM last year, at an internationally attended multimedia super corridor event, claimed he was misquoted on his announcement of the 9% annual growth target for the next 10 years of being actually 6%. Even a prominent local research house alluded to an 8% growth rate.

Some have said that if real GDP growth is 6% annually, it will only take us to the target of US$17,000 nominal GNI per head if Malaysia's population grows at a 1 per cent compound rate a year for the next ten years. However, from 2000-2010, population grew by an estimated 1.86% (Dept of Statistics). If population grows at this faster rate instead of 1% over the next decade, then real GDP growth would also have be faster by this difference.

Also, the GDP growth projections didn’t include if any, the plans related to requiring a quality workforce by increasing government spending and investments in education and research and development capacity building.

It appears that most of the EPPs and BOs were proposed by specific companies such as the RM43 billion MRT project proposed by Gamuda-MMC. The question is, will the proposed project be awarded to the proposer or open for competitive international bidding? If this is not clarified, than the EPPs and BOs would only be a self-serving exercise for certain businesses.

To illustrate this point, would Pemandu be interested in my RM500 billion atmospheric dome proposal covering Kuala Lumpur against climate change or as a friend suggested a scaled down RM50 billion eco-project utilizing gigantic fans to blow existing pollution to our neighbouring countries?

As the proposer, all I need is an official award letter and a parliament act to set a price on the atmosphere along with a government guarantee letter to help me raise the needed DDI and FDI funds. My RM500 billion dome would increase GNI substantially and become a center of excellence as we would be the first in the world to do it. Isn’t this truly innovative? So let all Malaysians submit their innovative proposals to Pemandu for consideration, which can be named RPP (Rakyat Proposed Projects).

Furthermore, if most companies perceive that they do not have a fair chance to compete relative to favoured companies and with a lack of transparency, then this will have an adverse impact on investor confidence. For example, can we have more details on the 1Malaysia Development Fund to know if this exercise to acquire public assets is in the public interest?

The proven track record of not achieving the previous Malaysian Plans is also troubling. For example, 8th Malaysian Plan target of 7.5% growth only achieved an average 4.5% growth while the 9th Malaysian Plan target of 6% growth as of date is at an average 4.2%. This brings our past 10 year historical average growth to less than 5%.

The need to expand participation for national consultation should not be limited to various ‘laboratories’ involving big business, professionals and civil service inputs. The ordinary rakyat especially the rural and urban poor, youth, workers and civil society were not sufficiently engaged on the ground. Some may be intimidated let alone can afford to attend these public participation events or ‘Open Days’ in conference halls.

The widening income inequality and limited higher education opportunities, which is a contributing factor to widening the gap must be addressed adequately. Economic policies may have reduced the absolute poverty rate but they have also worsened the distribution of income. Thus, the bottom 40% of all households accounts for 15% or less of household income while the top 20% of households account for 50% or more.[1] Sabah, Sarawak and East Coast states bear a disproportionate number of hardcore poor, poor and low-income households.

The most fundamental determinant of any competitive economic plan, which is innovation, requires freedom. How are we free to be creative when our national cartoonist is arrested for humoring us?

Rushing to conclude a matter of national importance just to meet the 2020 year milestone and changing big plans introduced previously such as economic corridors, that are later repackaged by new Prime Ministers only adds to the inconsistent policy making culture (some say flip-flopping) that undermines confidence in the plan’s success.

The plan appears to works backwards from developed country status to high-income status in 2020. This is the source of the problem, silly as it sounds. The impact of this is not only to make the targets "costly, confusing and convoluted" but also conjectural.

Even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently alluded to the possible failure to achieve Vision 2020’s objectives, which is the premise for the NEM timeline.

Overall, there is much room for improvement in making the ETP viable, realistic and sustainable. And to do that, I now shall outline some suggestions in the form of a formula.

Formula for NEM (ETP) Success

I am providing a ‘4E’ formula to keep in line with the many acronyms introduced by the government recently. To be fair I find acronyms useful as mental markers to organize the numerous concepts needed to frame a big idea such as the NEM.

The ‘4E’ formula to make NEM a success is; Education + Empowerment + Efficiencies = Economic Growth (NEM).

The main thrust of the 4E formula is to 'Build Capacity' for productivity, innovation and sustainability through a one-time massive government investment similar in effort to the US Space Project, in education, research and development, political reforms and effective policies.

And on balance with the need for huge investments, we also need to reduce waste through efficiencies and transparency so that every ringgit invested in 'Capacity Building' provides the highest returns for the benefit of all Malaysians

First E: Education

The NEM already stated the need for at least 3.3 million quality workforce. This includes for more than half to be first degree and diploma holders.

To produce quality workforce requires quality education.

Before I proceed, I would like to note that the recent announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister who is also the Education Minister that vocational education will be revamped is commendable.

The suggested actions to be taken are:

Depoliticize Education

The Deputy Prime Minister’s recent statement of his inability to take action on the case of the two principals for racist remarks due to administrative procedures may have an unintended consequence of reaffirming the separation between politicians and the civil service.

It is hoped that this ‘depolitisation principle’ includes all government ministries and to a certain extent also to the judiciary and other institutions. I hope it is not selectively applied for political expediency only.

Removing the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) will add towards improving the innovation culture and quality standards of tertiary education to meet NEM objectives profoundly.

· Pre-school, Primary And Secondary School Enhancements:

Offer Pre-school education to all Malaysian children

The current education NKRA achievement where 54,569 children have benefited from 1,358 pre-school classes is a step in the right direction.

However, it should be accelerated to cover all children numbering at least 1.5 million for three pre-school age group cohorts.

Enhance teaching capacity

- Hire more teachers and assistant teachers by 50%

- Upgrade teacher qualification and professionalism

- Increase salaries by 50%

Enhance school curriculum

Move towards a critical and creative thinking approach including for examination questions.

Increase School Hours

Adding 45 minutes daily can increase academic achievement significantly.

Single session schooling

Build more new schools and additional classrooms in existing schools. Also continue to fully equip them with ICT infrastructure.

· Tertiary Education Quality, Accessibility and Affordability

In summary the following should be considered for tertiary education excellence:

-Greater Autonomy

-Massive Phd Programs for Academic Staff

-Increase Research and Development capacity

-Increase Salaries

-Hire Foreign Academic Staff Talent

-Introduce Ranking System

-Convert PTPTN loans to scholarships

-Provide more scholarships and subsidies

All these actions would require political will and increased public financing to succeed.

The political will to depoliticise and democratize education along with repealing the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) will signal the government’s sincerity and commitment to make the NEM a true success for all rather than just for a few Malaysians.

From a public finance perspective, even if the above measures add another 4.5% to the government’s 4.5% average education spending for a total 9% of GDP annually for the next 10 years, this will indicate to the people and the international community of our determination to meet the NEM objectives.

As a possible source of funds, I had proposed earlier that 30% of Petronas annual profit be a mandated contribution to a National Education Fund. This also would include implementing an NEP Bumiputera Equity Redistribution Plan (Quota – in a –Quota) where 25% of current Bumiputera equity ownership of both publicly listed or privately held companies be sold at par-value (which is the official equity ownership calculation criteria) to the same National Education Fund entity.

Second E: Empowerment

One of the most if not the most important key success factor for NEM’s success is innovation. And innovation needs freedom. Freedom can only come from empowering society.

To empower society, I had suggested that we need to add a fifth pillar to the national transformation agenda which is already based on four pillars of 1Malaysia, GTP (Government Transformation Plan), ETP (Economic Transformation Plan) and 10th Malaysia Plan, to be called the PRP (Political Reformation Plan).

PRP includes repealing all anti-democratic laws, respecting separation of powers, reforming national elections and restoring local government elections, returning the judiciary’s and other state institution’s independence, fighting corruption, ensuring a free media and by abiding to the true meaning of our constitution.

By doing so, I am sure that the international community specifically the foreign investors will find it attractive to return and contribute more than the 25% FDI needed to finance the ETP.

Third E: Efficiencies

There are three efficiencies that must be considered to make NEM successful.

They are Government Service Efficiency, Market Efficiency and Social Security Efficiency.

  • Government Service Efficiency

The current Government Transformation Plan (GTP) already addresses this matter to a certain extent.

However, I hope that the initial trend of depoliticising the civil service inadvertently introduced by the Deputy Prime Minister in regards to the two principal racist remark affair shall be a permanent feature to transform the government as planned.

I would also suggest that more talented Malaysians be recruited into the civil service by making it more attractive with market-rate salary and benefits. I believe quality should be the main consideration as we already have quantity with a huge civil service.

We also need a significant and empowered technocracy (i.e. professionals with specialized skills just as in Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.) There is no point in developing our human capital development to a very high level in these areas if they are not then placed in senior decision-making management and administration positions. It is possible to make bureaucrats out of technocrats but not the other way around. They must be empowered, evaluated and promoted based on achievements and track record.

Another important factor that will improve government efficiency and accountability is to return the Local Government Elections immediately. This third tier of government will provide a faster response by the government in delivering services for the real needs of the ratepayers.

  • Market Efficiency

Information or rather the quality of information is necessary for market efficiency.

This would include timely, accurate and consistent information on policy, events and plans.

One of the ways that information is reliable is to allow for a free media.

Therefore, as a step forward, I hope the government will allow more permits for daily newspapers to be approved including my own permit for Utusan Rakyat.

Structural distortions by favorable policy and selective benefits to certain sectors, economic leakages, corruption, opaque procurement practices and inconsistency policy statements will never make NEM a success for all stakeholders.

  • Social Security Efficiency

The households who live below the poverty line must be assured of equitable assistance from the government. This includes targeted subsidies for essential goods and services such as health and education.

As a first step it is necessary to review the Poverty Line Income (PLI) which should be RM1,886 rather than the government’s PLI average of RM800 per household . This would ensure existing policies and programmes are realigned accordingly to provide an effective safety net for the people.

Another step is to implement a living wage of at least RM1,500 per month.

And to ensure affordable living expenses, the government must enforce anti-monopoly laws across all sectors combined with fighting corruption and white collar crime that add cost to prices for consumers.

Fourth E: Economic Growth

I fail to see how Education, Empowerment and Efficiencies with the suggested actions are not crucial contributing factors for Economic Growth.

The absence of policies, funding and political will to implement these factors will only add to the current skepticism in the NEM initiative.

I hope that our economist and policy makers will add to this discussion with more details.

I also hope that a more constructive debate on these factors will take place with all stakeholders especially in the next Parliament sitting.

Furthermore, I would even dare to suggest that implementing the ‘4E’ formula will definitely benefit the current government’s standing and make the opposition more competitive for votes.

This is a price I believe the people and even the opposition should be willing to pay for a better Malaysia.

The cost of doing the right thing is nothing compared to the cost of a failed NEM plan leading to a failed nation.


[1] Richard Leete, "Malaysia: From Kampung to Twin Towers", p. 169