Malaysia is ranked fourth in the world for protecting investors. Malaysia is 54th in the drive against corruption. Malaysia is 44th when it comes to press freedom. Malaysia does not appear to be the number one in anything good on a global scale.
It is probably number one in many things negative. Is that what the Barisan Nasional has to offer as “role model”?
In September 2012, the Prime Minister’s Department claimed that Malaysia’s economy was the best performing in Asia and this despite a drop in Malaysia’s ranking in Asia itself.
This kind of bluff, if it may be called, does not encourage foreign investors though. It is interesting to read that the global competitiveness of Malaysia had slipped down four notches this year.
It landed on the 25th spot, coming behind other developed Asian countries such as Hong Kong (9th), Japan (13th) and South Korea (19th). And this ranking was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Malaysia is ranked 29th among 40 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in the Freedom of the Press 2012 report. Despite the hurray created with the amendments to the press laws in the country, the nation is still seen as a bully of the local media.
It is clear that Malaysia will not be number one even in Southeast Asia in terms of freedoms.
Fighting corruption, promoting transparency, practising good governance, and so on have turned out to be mere words without real meaning. Malaysia’s transparency index is lamentable. It is ranked 54th in the anti-corruption drive, right ahead of Cuba but behind the tiny Republic island of Seychelles!
And the biggest issue is that of human rights abuse. Malaysia has recently been accused of mistreating the migrants.
Foreign workers were said to have been cheated of their savings while no jobs were given them on their arrival in the country.
Malaysia is also ranked 61th in the Global Human Development. It is currently in the group of High Human Development nations, which is a relief but the abuse in terms of human rights is a big worry.
While the Internal Security Act (ISA) has been revoked, there are still ISA prisoners in the country serving their “old” terms. This is not viewed as a good aggregate for the country’s ranking in both human rights performance and human development index.
In Asia, Malaysia does not appear in the list of the top 10 in the Human Development Index.
Handouts not helpful
After 55 years of independence, Malaysia is still a very long way behind in the most important spheres of social, economic and political freedoms and rights.
The disparity between the rich and the poor and the sluggishness of the middle class in the country are of major concerns too. In a country that claims to be rich and educated, the middle class is mired in heavy credit card debts and have to fork a large percentage of their salaries to satisfy their basic needs.
Salaries are still below global standards while the government has paid more attention to isolated “aids” and handouts in a bid to boost its electoral chances.
There are millions of Malaysians classified as poor or living below the poverty level. A large number of Malaysians have been declared bankrupt and many others (on a large scale) have lost their homes due to their inability to pay their home loans.
Nothing is done to redress this situation while the price of houses has increased in the past 10 years probably due to a bubble that may burst at any given time.
In the recent electoral campaigns by the BN, there have been accusations that the Pakatan Rakyat opposition will either cause a collapse of the country or it will bankrupt the nation if it is in power.
The BN leaders claimed they had the right formula to salvage the country and bring it forward into the future as a global partner.
The dismal performances listed above do not match the propaganda campaigns of the BN. Hence, BN has no right to judge Pakatan which has given a good acccount of itself in the four states it controls, namely Selangor, Penang, Kelantan and Kedah.
Is the BN the right role model for Malaysians to choose in the coming general election? Its poor record does not inspire much confidence in the people that BN can turn Malaysia into a global force it wants to be in the future.