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