Friday, October 22, 2010

Withrer FDI with Najib's "threat of violence" speech

[From The Malaysia Chronicle]

Economists and business leaders have expressed disappointment at Prime Minister Najib Razak’s vow to use all ways and means including ‘crushed bodies’ and ‘lost lives’ to retain control of the federal government.

They also slammed him for suggesting that it was possible for ethnic cleansing to take place in Malaysia if unnamed people in the country continued to question Malay supremacy.

“Malaysia must follow democratic process and constitutional rights. It should be a government by the people’s votes and choice and not by any other means especially ‘crushed bodies’. We should all work towards peace and prosperity and for our common well-being,” Dato Dr PHS Lim, president of the Malaysian Investors Association told Malaysia Chronicle.

From the PM himself

At the opening of his Umno party’s 61st annual assembly, Najib had used violent language in his opening speech that shocked the nation, although the government-controlled mainstream media took care to expunge the most sensitive of his comments in their reporting.

“Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya,” Malaysiakini reported Najib as saying..

“What I am saying is not surprising. In the 20th century, we have seen cases of punishment without trial in the United States, the holocaust tragedy in Europe, the slaughter of Palestinians in the Middle East and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Rwanda. Imagine, what is the outcome, if every generation of Malaysian question the social contract which was agreed upon by their forefathers.”

Malaysia's federal constitution does not state that Malays have special rights or rights that are above the other ethnic groups. However, there are clear provisions that the Malay community is entitled to special positions in the economic and educational sectors. Nonetheless, this is not the way that Najib or his Umno party have chosen to interpret it.

Just a day ago, deputy Trade minister Mukhriz Mahathir refused to accept responsibility for the 81 percent plunge in foreign direct investments in 2009. Mukhriz, a first-term MP, blamed Pakatan leaders instead.

“Put it this way, the global economy is still weak and investors all over the world are still very cautious. Certainly, Malaysia does not need any additional or extra uncertainties that could discourage investments and speeches like these from the Prime Minister himself won’t help,” David Cohen, director of Singapore-based Action Economics told Malaysia Chronicle.

Malaysia’s economy contracted 1.7 percent in 2009 and rebounded by 9.5 percent in the first half of 2010. However, with the pullback effect from the Greece and Dubai crisis, slower growth has been forecast for the remaining half.

Last month, Najib announced a RM1.4 trillion Economic Transformation Programme that he said would be dependent on private and foreign investment. The government is already struggling to balance a 15-year old budget deficit that hit a record high of 7 percent of GDP in 2009.

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