KUALA LUMPUR: Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said that people should not compare the Malaysian economy with South Korea as the latter is backed by the US.
He said this while debating the Islamic Financial Services Bill 2012 at Parliament today.
Tajuddin was responding to Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad’s statement who earlier said that the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita for Malaysia was at USD 400 in the 1970s, while South Korea was at USD 270, showing how Malaysia was ahead of South Korea then.
“Since then, Malaysia was left way behind. In 2011, South Korea’s GNI was at USD 20,870 while Malaysia was only at USD 8,420.
“There is a lot of catching up to do because we have failed to implement and leverage on all the resources that we have,” said Dzulkefly.
However, Tajuddin disagreed and said that the comparison between South Korea and Malaysia is not relevant because South Korea is backed by the US in terms of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) to counter North Korea, which is a communist bloc.
“Do you know that there is a big market for South Korean products in America? [Thus] this is not a relevant comparison. It is not because we cannot compete with them. It is because the US supports South Korea.
“It is the same with Turkey, the country is catching up in development because they have the European market. We do not have a market in Europe; you must understand the international economics,” he said.
At this juncture, Dzulkefly interjected and said Malaysia lagged behind due to the government’s failure to invest in human capital.
“We have wasted a lot, in terms of our time and resources, with the failure of the first privatisation wave and the 1997 financial crisis,” said Dzulkefly.
The PAS MP added that Malaysia has yet to learn its lesson, claiming that the government is creating a new rent class group that would be a bane to the nation’s economy.
“We created a rent seeking group in the 1980s, and due to that, the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis almost crippled the nation’s economy.
“But now we’re going to repeat the second privatisation wave with a new rent class group,” said Dzulkefly.
He added that Malaysia has to drive the economy through domestic aggregate demand and Malaysia should find new trading partners, for example, like from the Middle East and China.