LIM Guan Eng is a happy man, boasting about Malaysia's rise in the Ease of Doing Business Index, from 15th place in 2019 to 12th place in 2020. However, the Finance Minister should get a reality check as Malaysia has plummeted in various other ratings.
At the grassroots, Malaysians feel this the most as they are directly subject to market pressures.
Malaysians are now in hot water, faced with inflation and the withdrawal of foreign investors with no new investors coming in to take their place.
This bleak reality is a stark contrast to Lim's self-praise.
Lim and Pakatan Harapan are only fans of sweet talk and praises. Research that is positive and uplifting, they will spare no effort in spreading; while research that is harmful and dismal, they will claim as inaccurate.
This will only cause distrust between the government and its people.
On Aug 23, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, through a press release, remarked that Malaysia's claim to having the world's lowest national poverty rate was inaccurate.
With this, minister after minister came out to deny this. Still, all their arguments withered against substantial evidence, leading to the government to admit that the official statistic of 0.4% is inaccurate, as it should be between 16% and 20%.
In addition, on Oct 9 this year, Malaysia's position in the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2019 by the World Economic Forum (WEF) was 27th, with a score of 74.6.
This was a slide from the previous year's 25th position. Yet it's not surprising that Lim Guan Eng once again did not bother to address this.
Furthermore, in the GCR, Singapore overtook the United States to take first place, with the latter ranked second. Singapore also clinched the Top 10 for seven of the pillar indicators in the GCR, including Institutions, Infrastructure, ICT adoption, Health, Product Market, Labour Market, and Financial System, as well as having the most open economy in the world at a score of 84.8 out of 100.
The WEF also added that the trade wars involving big powers had benefitted Singapore.
Lim claimed that Malaysia would stand to gain from the trade wars, but it appears that this was just part of his ego trip.
On the other hand, in the study by the Economist Intelligence Unit on Safe Cities Index, Kuala Lumpur dropped from 31st two years ago to 35th. This bi-annual report showed the top three spots remaining the same – Tokyo, Singapore, and Osaka.
The safety index is calculated based on four indicators – Digital, Health, Infrastructure and Personal Security, with the prevalence of corruption and organised crime also considered.
The fact that Malaysia has dropped down the ranks is evidence that Pakatan's dedication to reform is mere propaganda, while in reality, they are too caught up with internal disputes.
Moreover, on March 21 this year, a study by the United Nations on the World Happiness Index showed Malaysia’s tragic fall from 35th in 2018 to 80th in 2019, placing it in fourth place relative to South-East Asian countries.
Numerous reports have indicated Malaysia's continued decline. Yet the PH government's stubbornness and affinity towards good publicity shows that they do not respect the rakyat, thinking they can get away with such tricks.
Nicole Wong Siaw Ting
MCA Youth National Chairman