Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Malaysia needs to overtake Gabon to achieve First World status

KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 - Malaysia will have to fundamentally rework its economy to become more productive and R&D based if it is serious about making the quantum leap to become a high income economy and move out of the income bracket currently occupied by countries such as Gabon and Botswana. [The Malaysian Insider]

"Gabon? Where in the world is that?" It is an honest question many Malaysians would ask (with all due respect to the Gabonese people, of course) when they hear that their country is lagging behind the west central African nation.

Latest figures from the World Bank revealed that Malaysia has now fallen behind Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore in terms of gross national income (GNI) per capita and is now trying to play catch up - much to our embarrassment.

In 2007, Malaysia had a GNI per capita of US$6,420, far behind countries such as Singapore (US$32,340), South Korea (US$19,730), Japan (US$37,790), Hong Kong (US$31,560), Australia (US$35,760), Finland (US$44,300), and Switzerland (US$60,820) and Norway (US$77,370).

Gabon has a GNI of US$7,020.

Many Malaysians would be shocked to learn that despite Gabon having a population of just 1.5 million, they are still able to generate such wealth, compared to Malaysia's 27 million.

It is indeed heartbreaking for Malaysians to see their country fall behind nations like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore - countries which were once economically on par with Malaysia just three decades ago.

What had shoved Malaysia into such a demise is anyone's guess but it is definitely not a surprise to find ourselves so low in the world rankings. If we have an MP who had once the courage (I'd say shamelessness) to celebrate Malaysia's achievements, saying Malaysia is 10 times more developed than Ghana, then it is no wonder that the real-world figures would eventually come come forth to prove our lack of ambition. If beating Ghana, which became independent in the same year as Malaysia, is a cause to celebrate, would it then be suicidal to know that Gabon has overtaken us, given the west central African nation achieve independence later than Malaysia?

From left: Libreville, the capital of Gabon and Kuala Lumpur.

And recently Lee Saw Hoon, a senior director of the Malaysia Productivity Cor­­poration said Malaysia had done well to maintain its 21st position in the World Economic Forum’s la­­test global competitiveness report [source]. According to the report Malaysia was the sixth most competitive Asian country after Singapore, Ja­­pan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

I don't know about Lee but I can't take that lying down. We should be up there with Singapore, for goodness' sake! Mind you, we were the ones who kick them out of the Federation and left them in the dark without having any natural resources of their own. Today, they are one of the financial powerhouses of the world.

And when international performance is concerned, Malaysia's dismal FIFA World Ranking never seems to escape the public's attention. Malaysia is currently ranked 161st in the world and yes, you've guessed it - countries like Eritrea, Myanmar and Turkmenistan are above us. Gabon, on the other hand, is ranked 48th.

However, the lack of ambition is not the only cause for our shortfall. It is because we have misplaced our priorities over the decades; further condemning ourselves to remain as a Third World country even after half a century of independence. It is high time for certain sectors of the government to take heed and stop the racial bickering, policies and propaganda. It is imperative that we devote precious time and resources to put Malaysia back onto the world map before we find ourselves overtaken by Cambodia.

8 comments :

  1. KwwS said...

    I wouldnt say that Msia has done EXCEPTIONALLY well in terms of economic growth, but the fact that u're saying Msia is economically behind other countries based solely on GNI per capita figures alone is a really shallow statement.

    I believe a direct comparison with Singapore is unfair. Msia has a more complex demographic condition compared to the islandic Singapore. Look at the numbers of population our gov has to bear and the 'racial diversity' alone in Msia is enough to tear down our country's growth to a certain extent.

    Pardon me i'm lazy to go into details but you should really do ur homework rather than just bashing our country blindly here.

    This is why economics is not an easy subject
    & raising 30mil of people on a 330 thousand square kilometres land is not an easy task %/

    No hard feelings. Just my statements.

  2. jonathan ong said...

    Dear Kwws,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am no economics expert and I know such indicators like GNI, GDP and whatnot are not enough to truly describe a country's progress. But even so, such average performance coming from a country like ours is the main issue. Mind you, that the argument is not whether Malaysia is ranked 6th or 66th in the world but the real question of why have we lagged so far behind?

    Countries like Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore were once on par with us during the 70's. And look were are they now in the rankings.

    It is unfair to compare ourselves to Singapore? Well then, is it proper to compare ourselves to Gabon and Ghana? You might argue Singapore is a small country and hence, easier to manage. But given the country's lack of natural resources, it is indeed difficult to manage it. It's basic macroeconomics. Everything has to be imported - even water and soil.

    And for your information, I did not 'bash' our country as you have claimed. I am merely disappointed to see my beloved nation underachieve.

    Again, no offence intended. Thanks for reading

  3. jonathan ong said...

    "I wouldnt say that Msia has done EXCEPTIONALLY well in terms of economic growth, but the fact that u're saying Msia is economically behind other countries based solely on GNI per capita figures alone is a really shallow statement." -quote

    And no, I did not say Malaysia is economically behind other countries. The term used was "lagging behind". Thank you.

  4. Anonymous said...

    "I wouldnt say that Msia has done EXCEPTIONALLY well in terms of economic growth, but the fact that u're saying Msia is economically behind other countries based solely on GNI per capita figures alone is a really shallow statement." -quote

    Yeah well... Doesn't change the fact that its still not good enough to beat Gabon, apparently.

  5. z said...

    Dear Kwws,

    After reading your comment i just couldn't help but notice and had to highlight something you had written.

    "Look at the numbers of population our gov has to bear and the 'racial diversity' alone in Msia is enough to tear down our country's growth to a certain extent." -quote (never knew there was a format to quote XD)

    Since you have stated one of the problems so clearly and plainly, i take it that every Malaysian is aware of that very problem which has been hampering the growth of our nation.

    My questions are: why then after 50 years of independence our dear government has never done anything to overcome it? Up till recently, there were still government politicians making outright racist remarks (eg. Malaysia has the population and enough seats in the Parliament to create a malay only country), why?

    Knowing this, wouldn't one say that the government hasn't been doing enough to rid the country of problems like these to further the growth of our nation?

    Lastly, if it actually matters, just so you know, it is not easy to manage any country whatsoever, every tom, dick and harry knows that. Hope you get my point, because (so happen) i am too lazy to go into details too.

    No hard feelings. Just my statements.

  6. Anonymous said...

    For an answer why Msia is lagging and just slight below Gabon, read my post:
    http://jeremiahliang.blogspot.com/2009/05/top-4-macroeconomic-problems-for-msia.html

  7. vasantarao appalasamy said...

    Malaysia only trying to become the hero of the third class nations... our leaders only talk much and everytime criticise other nations, never mirror themselves...

    out of idea to develop a nation... stupid leaders...

  8. Anonymous said...

    I think we are lagging so far behing is also due to the heavy corruption occuring.

    just my 2 cents

    Arch@ngel

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