Ku Li rains criticism on Najib's economic plans

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Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's economic plans, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah dismissed them as misdirected.

This included the much-hyped Government Tranformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme introduced by Najib in 2010 which did not receive the support of the Chinese or was welcomed by the Malays in getting their votes for the 13th general election.

Tengku Razaleigh ( left ), who was the founder of Petronas and a key member in the administration of Najib's father, Abdul Razak Hussein, also described the government's proposed new slogan of 'Endless Possibilities as ambiguous.

"This shift will not assuage anyone," he said.

The Umno veteran also criticised the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M 1 and 2), saying that it worsened the national debt.

BR1M1 and BR1M2 given prior to the 13th general election, he said, had received a cynical reception and is not sustainable in the long term.

"In fact, it merely led to a doubling of the national debt over the last three years. In 2012 public debt was RM502 billion and by the end of this year it is expected to be around RM546 billion.

The 2013 public debt will surely exceed 55 percent of the legislated ceiling," he warned.

Ku Li also listed other faults in the country that included:

Political parties from both aisles are seen by voters as pervasively corrupted, riddled with nepotism, cronyism and racism. There exist institutional distortions that included the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, the distorted role of the Attorney-General's Chambers; the government's control over the mass media, the abuse of social media and sedition issues, the question of freedom of information; and the legal shackles on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. A need to urgently to review the government delivery system, including the government transformation programme, because of the rising crime rate, corruption, wastage and inefficiency.

Critical juncture

Razaleigh said following the results of the 13th general election and the so-called 2008 political tsunami, there is a need for a new action plan, so that we are better prepared to face the recurring challenges.

First and foremost, he urged for a clean government with integrity to combat corruption.

"During the last decade, reports say Malaysia lost US$338 billion through illicit money outflows; and that 50 percent of Malaysian companies report they lose business opportunities because rival companies pay bribes to decision makers.

"There is the rising cost of living and high personal debt levels, the ratio of household debt in Malaysia is among the highest at 140 percent, or the household debt is 1.4 times their disposable income, the economic imbalances that remain after 40 years of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and its variants."

He warned that the challenges that the country faces included internal budget constraints and external structural adjustments in the world economy consequent to the financial crisis of 2008 that will have an impact on our growth prospects in the short and medium terms.

Razaleigh said economic projections available to him show a strong dip next year, with recovery being uncertain as to whether it is going to be fast or will it take a longer time.

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