Here’s an example of how democracy will not function without free press. In the wake of the upcoming elections, Second Finance Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, explains in the government controlled media why Malaysians should again put their trust in the Barisan Nasional government led by Prime Minister Badawi:

“the country’s per capita income had risen by 40% between 2004 and 2007, from RM15,819 (US$4,163) to RM22,345 (US$6,452). The Barisan Nasional Government is confident that we will get the people’s mandate again, based on the improved economic resilience”

A good thing there is something called the internets, where people can voice other truths. Tony Pua over at Philosophy Politics Economics explains:

Nor Mohamed Yakcop must either be completely out of his mind, or can no longer perform simple Mathematics or worse, attempting to insult the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians. Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.0%, 5.9% and an estimated 6.0% in 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively according to the Government’s official statistics.

Based on the above growth rates over the past 3 years, Malaysia’s GDP grew by approximately 17.9% from 2004 to 2007. Therefore, it is completely inconceivable that our per capita income increased by 40% when our GDP grew by only 17.9%. Unless of course, the honourable Minister believes that our population shrunk by some 16%!

But, then again, there will always be people who use blogs on the Internet to criticise the rapid economic growth achieved by the Government.

UPDATE: Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dissolved the parliament on Wednesday 13 February. The election is likely to be held in early March

UPDATE 2: Elections are called for 8 March. According to the Economist:

No one expects Mr Badawi to repeat his storming debut in 2004, when he led the ruling coalition to a 90% sweep of 219 seats in Parliament. Defeat is unthinkable: the coalition has won every election since independence in 1957.

This article has 2 comments

  1. John Orford

    the minister doesn’t sound credible at all. he could well get sacked for massaging the truth so blatantly in ireland.

    obviously the logical follow up question is: how can be be sure that we can trust the gdp figures in the first place? i doubt it would take that much for the govt to put pressure on the national stats bureau, eh?

  2. Eric

    @John: fortunately, I don’t see that happening in Malaysia soon. I think there are already too many checks and balances in Malaysia to pull that of. And that’s why I think the current government should stop its paternalistic behaviour. It’s indeed an insult to Malaysians to come up with these kind of statements (and many others from other ministers).

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