KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is not a failed state, but is a nation in decline, says banker Tan Sri Nazir Razak.
Sharing his thoughts in a discussion on Malaysia’s future challenges during the International Book Fair 2022 at World Trade Centre here, Nazir said Malaysia has many challenges, but the most critical ones are corruption and weak economic growth.
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These problems, he said, occur due to the fact that the country is now ruled by “a three-headed monster” – money politics, identity politics and extreme centralisation of power.
“Unfortunately, we are facing all these as we move into the 4.0 industrial revolution that values manpower and entrepreneurship which will give the nation a chance to leapfrog. If we don’t leapfrog, we will decline quickly.
“Malaysia, in my opinion, is not a failed state but we are a nation in decline,” he said on Friday (June 3) when promoting his book, “What’s in a Name”.
Nazir said efforts to address money and identity politics and extreme centralisation of power must be done simultaneously, or it would either fail or achieve only temporary success.
“Abdullah Badawi, Najib and Mahathir tried to deal with them, but they did it separately. Remember the concept of Islam Hadhari, GLC transformation, new economic model and so on, every reshuffle will not succeed because there are vested interests that will use racial and religious issues.
“Successful reforms such as the GLC reformation were eliminated because there was no political reform; GLC was abused for political purposes,” he added.
Nazir said the Malaysia 2.0 system that was adopted since the May 13 tragedy has become obsolete, and the country needs a new model, namely Malaysia 3.0, which should be introduced through the practice of deliberative democracy.
“In the post May 13 era, Tun Razak introduced the National Consultative Council (Mapen), which gathered experts and representatives from various backgrounds to discuss ideas to develop Malaysia.
“This idea prompted me and 54 other figures from various backgrounds to propose to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the government to establish the Better Malaysia Assembly.
“Its members will reflect the people’s composition and aspirations of the country.
“They will sit down and find a point of agreement on the solution to the challenges that we mentioned earlier,” he said, adding that the same method was adopted by 28 other countries including Chile and Belgium.
Nazir said so far, discussion on the establishment of the Better Malaysia Assembly is still ongoing, adding that there has also been engagements with the King.
“I understand there are those who agree and disagree. For now, I want to meet those who disagree and understand why. Maybe our explanation is unclear because to me, this idea is quite simple, we want to have a people’s conference to come out with the Malaysia 3.0 model.
“We do not want Malaysia 3.0 to be built by only getting the views of the elites, we want ordinary people to join the discussion and find solutions to the country’s challenges.
“Maybe the reason we can’t change the current system is that we only listen to representatives of political parties that have their own party and personal interests and the elites. We need to go beyond by bringing (in) ordinary Malaysians,” he added.