“Budget 2023 won’t resolve economic crisis or make M’sia great again”

FOR several days last week, the foremost question in the minds of Malaysians was whether Parliament will be dissolved for the holding of the 15th General Elections (GE15). 

This is amid the economic crisis and the worst-expected monsoon and floods season to threaten the country in the next few months. 

This speculative frenzy did not end with the tabling of Budget 2023 by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz on Friday (Oct 7) as Malaysians are back to asking whether Parliament will be dissolved tomorrow (Oct 10). 

Budget 2023, though the biggest in the nation’s history, is no game-changer to resolve the economic crisis, raise the quality of education, ensure that Malaysia will not be a poor performer in another global pandemic or make Malaysia a world-class great nation. 

It rained money, with goodies all around, but did nothing to reverse the trajectory of the country in the past few decades of losing out to Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Vietnam and more countries to come in future years. 

And clearly, it will do nothing to ensure that Malaysia’s ranking and score in the 2022 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which will be announced in January next year, will not be worse than the 2021 TI-CPI. 

What Malaysia needs is a reset of nation-building principles and policies to transform Malaysia from the trajectory of a kleptocracy, kakistocracy and failed state to a “tiger” economy and a world-class great nation. 

This will depend on whether Aug 23, 2022, marked a watershed in Malaysian nation-building, where a former prime minister was not only sent to jail for corruption offences but the country made a return to the nation-building principles and policies entrenched in the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara which have been forgotten by the nation’s Government leaders. 

These are a constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy, separation of powers, rule of law, an independent judiciary, good governance, public integrity with minimum corruption, meritocracy, respect for human rights and national unity from our multiracial, multilingual, multireligious and multicultural diversity, where there are no first-class and second-class citizens be it on race, religion or region. 

Would Malaysia move towards a healthy parliamentary democracy where there is a meaningful separation of powers with the rule of law and an independent judiciary, with the country recovering from four decades of darkness where an independent mission to Malaysia led by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) once came out with a report on justice in the judiciary? 

This would be a battle in GE15 – a kleptocracy like Sri Lanka versus Malaysia, a world-class great nation when we celebrate Malaysia’s centennial in 2057.  

Pakatan Harapan stands for the latter and I call on Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region, to stand solidly behind us to make Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim the tenth prime minister of Malaysia in our journey to make the country a world-class great nation, if not in this decade, at least by Malaysia’s centennial. – Oct 9, 2022 


DAP supremo and veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang is the MP for Iskandar Puteri. 

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia. 

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