Looking Forward: Singapore

April 21, 2016

Looking Forward by a Distinguished Singaporean

I have just returned from Kuala Lumpur after being away for 10 days from Phnom Penh and my work at The Techo Sen School of Government and International Relations, The University of Cambodia. It was a useful and refreshing personal cum business trip.

I had the opportunity to be with my wife, Dr. Kamsiah, meet my friends, and complete some assignments for my University. That said, it was also a depressing one since I saw a lot of sour and disgruntled Malaysians who are unhappy with what is happening to the politics of our country and the state of our economy under the leadership of the most corrupt and tainted Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak. It is, therefore, a such relief to be back on campus among young Cambodians and my colleagues.

Najib and his bunch of kleptocrats are running our country to the ground and Malaysians are apparently helpless about changing their government. They hope that they can vote Najib out of office come GE-14. Wishful  thinking? Why not? How sure are we that there will be  a General Election? Why would Najib want to have a general  election, if he knows that UMNO will be thrown out of Putrajaya? He may be corrupt and incompetent, but he is not politically naive and stupid.

What Malaysians can do now  is to join  a ragtag team led by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to dislodge the man in power. So far, Najib has been able to outsmart and outlast the onslaught from opposition forces. And sadly, we are now hoping  that external forces can fight our battle to bring our 6th Prime Minister down. What a shame?  But let us face the fact that Najib will not give up the job, and UMNO power brokers will keep see to it that he  remains in charge until the cash runs out.

UMNO and Najib’s political future are intertwined. We all know that, yet we assume that we can cut the umbilical cord. Keep dishing out that hope; it is exactly what Tun Dr. Mahathir and friends are doing.  Still, there are enough Malaysians who will buy snake oil solutions to our political nightmare. It is a tragedy of sorts that we have to rely on the 4th Prime Minister wh0 created a political and patronage system which now imprisons us all.

In contrast, our neighbour down south is thinking forward. The Singaporeans are doing well, but their political  leaders and intelligentsia are looking ahead  to avoid getting stuck in the past by  giving free rein to self agency. This lecture by Ho Kwon Ping, a successful business entrepreneur turned public intellectual, offers some ideas for his country and some lessons for us in Malaysia. –Din Merican

5 thoughts on “Looking Forward: Singapore

  1. Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines were once one airlines – MSA. Today, one is operating in prosperity and the other is becoming a failed airlines. Singapore and Malaysia were once one nation. Today, the earlier is enjoying high income in the First World while the latter remains in the Third World and moving to becoming a failed state. So much about Ketuanan Melayu!

  2. LaMoy,

    The Peter Principle states that workers are promoted to their level of incompetence.

    In the case of Malaysia, perhaps we can state that the country is demoted to the correct level of its competence?

  3. The King of Cash will not run out of money. Ways will be found to extract and squeeze money from the citizenry.

  4. Wayne: I read Peter Principle more than 40 years ago, and remembering having a very good laugh then. But it is especially true in Malaysia, where a person (because of his/her race and religion) pushing upward usually will not get the result of a person (because of his/her race and religion) who’s pulled up from above. In Singapore, one is evaluated by his/her usefulness of work, disregard of race and religion. Performance. Output. In Malaysia, one is judged by the behavior that support the rules, rituals, and forms of the status quo – race and religion are of utmost importance. Obedience. Loyalty. Courtesy to superiors. The demise of Malaysia is not unexpected.

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