PETALING JAYA: With the nation turning 60 this August, it is time for Malaysians to come together for a “reset” in terms of nation-building and policies that will help the country compete with the rest of the world, says Lim Kit Siang.
Lim, 76, appealed for all Malaysians “not to fight among ourselves”, as that is causing the division that is plaguing the country.
“Malaysia has performed poorly in the international race in the past 60 years,” the DAP supremo said in his speech at a fundraising event organised by Pakatan Harapan in Gelang Patah last night.
“The 60th National Day anniversary should be an occasion for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even politics, to re-set nation-building directions and policies so as not to lose out in the international race of nations for development and progress.”
The Gelang Patah MP said such a scenario was not impossible, pointing to how South Korea had greatly transformed itself from what it was back when Malaysia first became a sovereign nation.
“The case of South Korea should be a salutary reminder of how far we as a nation have fallen short of our expectations when we achieved Merdeka on August 31, 1957.
“Sixty years ago, South Korea was very poor and backward, with a per capita gross national product which was only one-third in this country. Today, South Korea is one of the richest, most developed and prosperous nations in the world,” he said.
Lim’s speech took the expected turn towards the comparison between Malaysia and South Korea’s level of governance and responsibility, particularly pertaining to events of the past six months.
“Sixty years ago, any notion of democracy and human rights in South Korea was non-existent as it was ruled by a dictatorship.
“But today, the South Korean Parliament could impeach the South Korean president and eight judges of the South Korean Constitutional Court could unanimously uphold the impeachment of the South Korean President by the South Korean Parliament on charges of corruption and cronyism,” he said, adding that this was unthinkable under the present political and justice system in Malaysia.
Also attending the fundraising event were Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and former Umno minister Zaid Ibrahim, who joined DAP in February this year.
Lim also referred to the investigation into Bank Negara Malaysia’s multi-billion ringgit forex losses in the early 1990s, for which he was called to give a statement.
“It is indeed another international scandal that Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cabinet can set up a special task force to investigate Bank Negara forex losses in the early 90s, yet are unprepared to establish an inquiry into the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of lawsuits by the United States Department of Justice and also linked to money-laundering probes in Singapore and Switzerland.”
On Thursday, after meeting with the special task force, Lim told reporters it was not necessary to call him to give any statement as all that he had said on the topic is public record as it was spoken in the Dewan Rakyat.
He also coyly suggesteed if a special task force will only be set up in 2040 to probe 1MDB.