Malaysia's former finance minister Lim Guan Eng weighs in on Johor BN chief Hasni Mohammad's claim that Singapore could be more developed if it was led by Umno, calling it "an outrageous fantasy" in a Facebook post published on Mar. 11.
"If Singapore had Umno, it would be more developed than it is now," Hasni was quoted as saying by Oriental Daily, according to Malaysiakini.
Lim added that Hasni is not qualified to be Johor Menteri Besar unless he withdraws and apologises for his "ridiculous and irrational remark".
Singapore's success as developed nation
In the Facebook post, Lim briefly outlines Singapore's development progress since its separation from Malaysia in 1965.
While the Singapore dollar was lower than the Malaysian dollar then, Singapore has since "progressed to become a developed nation" and the Malaysian ringgit has depreciated to a value of RM3.09 to S$1, he noted.
He added that Singapore's foreign exchange reserves, asset holdings, and GDP per capita have "far exceeded Malaysia".
The 61-year-old politician also posited that being "clean and almost free from corruption" is the principal factor for Singapore's success, in addition to its "efficient and competent government".
He corroborated his earlier statement by comparing "Singapore’s ranking as the 4th most clean nation in the world by the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index" to Malaysia that "has declined to its worst ever ranking of No. 62".
Lim: Ridiculous and irrational statements by Hasni
Lim dismissed Hasni's claim as "an outrageous fantasy", adding that Umno "is a party that is identified closely with corruption with its de facto leader Najib Tun Razak found guilty of charges related to the RM53 billion 1MDB scandal".
He also questioned Hasni's credibility and competency to lead a state after the latter made such "ridiculous and irrational" statements, "How can the people of Johor entrust their faith in Hasni that he can deliver his task well?"
Hasni is not qualified to be Johor Menteri Besar, unless he withdraws and apologises for his ridiculous and irrational remark, Lim added.
Lim who is the Secretary-General of DAP (Democratic Action Party), a component party of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, also took the opportunity to appeal to Johor voters for PH.
He underlined that it might be better for Johor voters to support PH to form a new state government in Johor than to support and rely on a leader who is "living in a fantasy world" if Hasni refuses to admit his mistakes.
Check out the full post here:
Earlier this week, Singapore's development became a topic of contention amongst Malaysian politicians.
In light of the recent Johor elections, PAS (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia) vice-president Amar Nik Abdullah was quoted saying that Singapore was more developed because it was never ruled by Umno and its allies in BN.
He added that it will be easier to develop the country without Umno.
PAS is contesting 15 seats under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) banner in Johor. Amar was trying to make a point that PN, which PAS is a part of, can better develop Johor.
In response, Hasni had argued that Singapore would be more developed than it is now if it were led by Umno.
Hasni added that Umno would be as strong as the ruling party in Singapore.
According to results on Malaysia's Election Commission website, BN won 40 out of 56 seats in the state assembly.
PH and PN won 11 and three seats respectively, while the Parti Keadilan Rakyat and the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) each secured a single seat.
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Top images via Lim Guan Eng's and Hasni Mohammad's Facebook pages.