Learn from South Korea, Najib, Anwar in heated argument

12 May 2022 10:01pm
The Grand Debate: Najib vs Anwar. Picture by: Halim Wahid
The Grand Debate: Najib vs Anwar. Picture by: Halim Wahid

SHAH ALAM - Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says Malaysia needs flagship companies and political stability to move forward.

Najib during a live debate with opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim added Malaysia needs big companies like Hyundai and Samsung to move forward, the way South Korea has done.

“Malaysia has the opportunity to reset several problems," he said, referring to reversing inflation, and high oil prices by making smart moves to turn Malaysia into an advanced and high-income nation.

But Pakatan Harapan (PH) sold IHH Healthcare which is one of the best health care systems in the world to Japan, he added.

"There are millions of jobs for instance in East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), High-Speed Rail (HSR), Pan Borneo projects.

"These projects can bring in development, provide jobs and improve the economy," he said, adding that most of the projects were halted during PH era.

"But for this premise, we need political stability. We should not repeat three governments in one parliamentary term," he said during the debate.

Due to that, he said the ailing oil and gas company Sapura Energy Bhd needs to be saved.

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But Anwar said to be like South Korea, the country needs projects and development but there should be integrity.

“The development in South Korea does not start with Hyundai and other companies, but they started with modern agriculture which focuses on the interest of the farmers,” he said.

Furthermore, Anwar said there should be good governance when running projects and "we must make sure the cost of a project does not balloon from RM10 billion to RM20 billion and continues to rise."

in his closing remarks, Anwar said Malaysia needs to fight against corruption and ensure projects are not only benefitting the elites. Citing 5G connectivity through Digital Nasional Berhad, he said there should be more transparency on the project.

For youths, Anwar said a proper system for youths to excel in their career needs to be created. “If youths are keen on digital technology, then we need to establish an effective system for that,” Anwar said.

More political will to address the environment, uncontrolled deforestation, and corruption was also needed, he added.

However, Najib wrapped up the debate by saying that the neighboring countries are moving forward and that Malaysia needs to have the same sense of urgency.

“I want to see Malaysia be at par with the developed countries, I want to see Malaysians with higher income, I want every state in Malaysia to be more advanced,” he said.

To improve transparency and good governance, Najib said it be implemented by having open tenders for projects so that the best company wins the contract and not cronies.