Strong democracy ensures wealth, says Guan Eng
KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — A democratic government together with a strong civil society will guarantee the country’s economic stability, Lim Guan Eng has said.
This, said the Penang chief minister, would ensure a calm political climate even if Barisan Nasional (BN) were to lose in the next general election.
“What is more important is that you must have a democratic government, only if you have a democratic government and a strong civil society... only then will your property, your wealth grow,” Lim said at a news conference in Penang today.
A recording of the news conference was made available to The Malaysian Insider.
Lim (picture) was referring to remarks made by Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday, where the prime minister had warned the Chinese business community that their assets and wealth may “evaporate” unless there is “political certainty and stability” in the country.
He had appealed to the community to “work together” with the government to ensure such stability is maintained, saying that lessons could be learned from the current euro zone crisis, the US economic slowdown, and events in North Africa.
But Lim said today what Malaysia needed was stronger institutions so that the government administration would not be affected even with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Putrajaya.
“(If) you want a stable government you must be a (practising) democracy where you can depend on institutions. Parties, leaders can come and go but the government will still be strong... like in America.
“Najib can (then) come and go,” said the DAP secretary-general.
Najib has acknowledged that the current global economic outlook remains gloomy, pointing to the euro zone crisis, but said that signs in the local economy have so far been encouraging.
The Malaysian economy expanded by 5.1 per cent last year while the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) recorded an increase of 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, he pointed out.
The results of a recent Merdeka Center survey have shown that Najib is struggling with declining support from the country’s Chinese and Indian communities, despite a spike in Malay support.
The BN chairman and Umno president was earlier expected to dissolve Parliament this month for a July election but the rumours proved untrue when he announced that he would be tabling next year’s budget on September 28 while saying there was a possibility of another handout to low-income families under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) scheme.
The RM500 paid out to nearly five million families at a cost of RM2.6 billion earlier this year saw his approval ratings shoot up to 69 per cent, largely due to a surge among poorer households.
But the aftermath of violence that erupted between police and demonstrators at the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair elections saw his popularity slide to 65 per cent last month.
The Malaysian Insider had reported on May 28 of a possible September general election but Najib’s announcement that Budget 2013 will be tabled on September 28 has pushed party strategists to look at a later date to allow Budget incentives time to reach the ground.
The haj pilgrimage on October 26, Deepavali on November 13 and BN’s efforts to court the youth and Chinese vote could delay the general election to November, sources said, adding that the BN chief was still scrutinising the candidates’ lists to ensure a bigger victory.
BN sources said several recent surveys show the coalition needs to work harder to get a convincing victory especially with some 2.2 million voters casting ballots for the first time.