It is not the public’s negative comments that have affected Malaysia’s global competitiveness ranking, said PKR’s Rafizi Ramli.
Instead, the blame should lie on the mess created by 1MDB that has affected all sectors from the manufacturing to the arts, and everyone from the richest to the poorest, he added.
“Ong Ka Chuan’s remarks to explain Malaysia’s drop in the 2016-2017 Global Competitiveness Report’s (GCR) ranking is yet another example why Malaysian ministers are the biggest liability to this country,” he said in reference to the World Economic Forum’s GCR.
“It is only natural that Malaysia loses its competitiveness steadily in the aftermath of a national mess as gigantic as 1MDB (which) had created a big financial hole that (Prime Minister) Najib Razak has to plug.
“This means distortions in national resources as money that is supposed to go to schools and hospitals is set aside to pay 1MDB debts.
“Schools and hospitals which are now deprived of the required financial resources can only sustain so much without the resources, and the quality of services drops.”
All these, he said, led to Malaysia dropping seven places in global competitiveness that eventually pushed investors away, causing a slower economic growth.
The Pandan MP was responding to reports which quoted Second Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Ong as blaming complaints from the public for the drop in Malaysia’s global competitive ranking.
Ong had reportedly said that Malaysia needed to train its citizens, and that while he did not expect everybody to paint a rosy picture, they should not condemn the country.
“He (Ong) made a complete fool of himself when he blamed practically everyone – the general public, parents who brought their children overseas, foreign workers and even the Zika virus – for complaining too much about Malaysia, to account for the drop; not realising that he, too, was complaining just like everyone else he accused,” said Rafizi.
“If anything, a trade minister who whines publicly that the exclusion of Zika virus from the benchmarking has an effect on Malaysia’s competitiveness, chases away foreign investors more effectively than the general public’s daily complaints about the direction of the country, as he claimed.”
The PKR secretary-general also said he was surprised at Ong’s seeming lack of concern over the drop in the country’s quality of health and primary education.
These were the results of the severe funding cuts caused by the “smaller government revenue” which has had a serious impact on the country, added Rafizi.
“When the general public increasingly talks about the steady decline of state institutions that are supposed to provide the most basic services required to maintain an acceptable quality of life, ministers should realise that something is really wrong in the country instead of chastising the public for complaining too much.
“Even if Ong does not have the guts as a politician to stand up to Najib on 1MDB, at the very least, in his job as a Miti minister, he can attempt to behave more intellectually in explaining Malaysia’s present predicament.
“His outburst may become a confirmation that Malaysia’s competitiveness has indeed dropped in the eyes of the international community.”
FMT Reporters Online