DAP calls for an united all-party national response to the FDI crisis aggravated by the Bali bomb blast and Malaysia catapulted high on international radar of terrorism in the past month
- DAP dialogue-dinner
by Lim Kit Siang
(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): When the 2003 Budget was presented in Parliament on Sept. 20, 2002 by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in his capacity as Finance Minister, Malaysia was already facing a full-blown FDI (foreign direct investment) crisis reflecting the grave and continuing erosion of the country’s global competitiveness.
Just before the 2003 Budget presentation two months ago, Malaysia fell out of the FDI Confidence Index 2002 released by the Global Business Policy Council which tracked the top 25 countries as destinations for FDIs. Malaysia was ranked 22nd in the 2001 FDI Confidence Index.
Among the reasons given for Malaysia’s “significant drop” in the rankings in the 2002 FDI Confidence Index were that “uncertainty about its leadership transition, fears of terrorism and the complex relationship between politics and business have taken a toll on Malaysia’s investment attractiveness”.
In the two months since the presentation of the 2003 Budget, the Bali bomb blasts on October 12 which killed nearly 200 people, Malaysia being catapulted high on the international radar of terrorism in the past month with the country hogging CNN, BBC, VOA and the international media on the daily updates on news about terrorism, , the shock Tuesday announcement by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai, about Malaysia’s first “suicide bomber” squad which confirmed the worst “Terrorist Alert” travel advisories of United States, Australia and other Western governments about Malaysia being a high-risk terrorist country, have plunged the Malaysian FDI crisis to its worst stage in the nation’s history.
This is a crisis which affects all Malaysians and DAP calls for an united all-party national response to the unprecedented FDI crisis faced by Malaysia which must address the trio of problems identified by the compilers of the FDI Confidence Index, viz: uncertainty about the leadership transition, fears of terrorism and the complex relationship between politics and business.
On Thursday, Mahathir said Muslims and non-Muslims must tackle terrorism or risk living in continued fear, hatred and anger.
DAP fully agrees that terrorism must be countered by all Malaysians, whether Muslims or non-Muslims, but how can Malaysians take an united and collective position to make Malaysia a terrorist-free nation, when Malaysians are denied crucial information about the terrorist threat – as highlighted by Malaysians’ utter lack of preparedness to wake up one morning to find out that there are fellow countrymen could be so driven by desperation, hopelessness or extremism as to enlist as “suicide bombers”.
On Monday, the Kuala Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity announced its award this year to three Malaysians for its National Integrity Medal for their honesty, integrity and accountability in public life - Tun Tan Siew Sin, Finance Minister in the sixties and seventies, Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman who was Home Minister and briefly Deputy Prime Minister in the early seventies and Tun Ismail Mohamad Ali, former long-time Bank Negara Governor .
However well-deserving the award of the National Integrity Medal to the trio, it is a crying shame of the rottenness of contemporary public life that the Kuala Lumpur Society for Transparency and Integrity had to go as far back as the sixties and seventies to scour for receipients for this year’s award – as there appears to be no living contemporaries deserving to be honoured as role models of integrity in public life.
There cannot be a more telling indictment of the failure of the anti-corruption commitment and corporate reforms in the country which is one of the essential pillars to restore investor and FDI confidence.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman