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Election Watch

Back your case with research

Source: The New Straits Times
Date: 11 August 2011

I REFER to Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid's interesting article in the Business Times entitled, "NEP not to blame for decline in FDIs" (NST, Aug 8).

He replied to an earlier letter from me regarding the New Economic Policy (NEP), where I said the NEP "is one reason foreign and domestic investments have been declining in our country". I stand by that statement. 

In fact, Dr Muhammad has also said that "the majority would argue that the (NEP) Policy is the source of all problems facing the nation"!

If that is so, why does he also say that I am "factually incorrect" and not objective? Is it because truth is hard to swallow or anything constructively critical or that is not politically popular in some quarters has to be pushed under the carpet and even dismissed as not "being objective"?

Let us instead ask ourselves if the decline in foreign direct investment (FDI) and the huge outflow of our own domestic capital, and particularly the acute brain drain that we are facing, are inter alia, not caused by the NEP as "one reason", especially the abuses of the NEP. Abuses that have led to the loss of investment involve approved permits, negotiated tenders at higher prices and corruption.

Increasing religious bigotry and intolerance, weak public institutions and the erosion of basic human rights and basic freedoms are some of the other causes undermining our One Malaysia and Vision 2020 goals.

Academics need not be defensive. They should welcome and participate in productive and constructive criticism. They should search for the truth by finding out, through actual empirical research based on surveys of Malaysian and foreign investors, as to whether the NEP, and especially its widely known abuses, have discouraged investment and encouraged the brain drain.

Their research may also look into whether the NEP and its abuses have disproportionately benefited a few rich businessmen at the expense of the majority of the people.

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