Malaysia could have done a lot better
10 October 2017
YOURSAY: ‘There is nothing that prevents us from being better than we are now.’
Legit: Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegaram, I think you have covered
pretty much all the key areas in rating this government. Though most
people would say you were generous, but let’s ignore this and hence the
approval rating of the current government is a dismal 29 percent.
This means they deserve to be thrown out. Unfortunately, things don't
work that way in this country. They will cheat and abuse the law to
remain in power. This is the reality.
The 10 things
that people want from a government seem pretty obvious. Look at
Singapore. We were at the same starting point in 1965. In fact,
Singapore was worse off.
The British navy was pulling out. Unemployment was at 16 percent. With
limited land space, a small population and no natural resources except
for its location, even then PM Lee Kuan Yew was not certain that
Singapore could make it.
Today, Singapore's currency is three times the value of ours. Its GDP
is bigger than ours. Its per capita income is six times ours. It has
increased its land mass by one-third of its original size and is now
How did we diverge so much? Singapore retained English as the language
of administration and education and worked hard at educational reform.
Today, Singapore students top the world in science and maths quizzes
Singapore has two universities in the top 100. In fact, the National
University of Singapore (NUS) is top in Southeast Asia and the NUS Law
School is ranked seventh in the world.
Singapore has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption. Singapore is one
of the few countries in Asia to break the hold of organised crime and
is today regarded as one of the safest countries in the world.
And finally, intelligence and discipline are manifest everywhere. Work
permits are issued over the counter and permanent resident (PR) status
is obtained within a week when criteria are met.
Good government works. Look at Taiwan and South Korea. There is nothing that prevents us from being better than we are now.
Dont Just Talk: Sadly, none of the 10 questions scores more than 4.
With question No 2, which is on clean administration and corruption,
the government scores only 1 out of 10.
Paul Low, what have you been doing all these years as a minister in the PM’s Department?
HaveAGreatDay: Indeed, if Pakatan Harapan can formulate their policies
around these areas of concerns, I am sure more rakyat can be convinced
to give them a shot at power come GE14.
The crucial factor is whether the rakyat in the rural hinterlands can
be convinced or whether they will be so trapped in the Umnoputras
propaganda machine that they will just eat the ‘dedak’ (animal feed)
given and let the status quo remain.
Well, none of us here can see into the future and we will see soon enough, either way.
Cogito Ergo Sum: Thank you, Guna. I hope that Harapan leaders are
reading this or at least copy and paste it on their coalition
manifesto. This what the rakyat wants. And a bit more.
Harapan, you have in your ranks a former PM and two DPMs as well as the
leader of the opposition. What a talented group you have.
And yet you can't, for the love of Malaysia, come up with a simple plan
for the people to hold on to as hope for a better tomorrow?
Deepthroat: Yes, Malaysiakini columnist R Nadeswaran, you are right.
My wife is a local Malay. Early this year, she managed to rent a shop
to open a cafe in a new condo development in Cheras. Imagine what we
had to go to obtain a business licence.
She was doing okay, making about RM400 daily on hot and cold drinks and
snacks. Suddenly after about seven months, a small mini-market appeared
across our shop, operated by a Bangladeshi. Now our daily revenue
dropped to about RM80 to RM120.
How did he secure a business licence to operate?
Vgeorgemy: It is well-documented on why foreign labour is thriving in
the low-value economy and its destructive effect on the B40 households
(B40 refers to the bottom 40 percent of households with a monthly
income of RM3,900 and below).
As correctly said, the foreign cheap labour is coming from the
countries with subsistence agriculture. Such foreign labour lives a
subsistence lifestyle even in the country they are imported into,
resulting in very low-cost labour.
Malaysians residing permanently here need to support a full family
system in a middle-income economy. This is why the B40 group cannot
access proper family housing, healthcare, quality education, etc.
This is not our fault but the opportunities are denied to us to enrich
the cronies who have access to licensing in the name of race-based
David Dass: One of the issues that led to Brexit was free movement of
workers from European Union countries. The perception was that
low-paying workers moved into Britain and priced the British worker out
of jobs and small businesses.
These workers were prepared to work for lower wages. They were prepared
to live more frugal lives, share crowded housing and quite often did
not have the baggage of family to support in high-cost Britain.
The situation is similar in Malaysia. The question should be asked -
where are the young Malaysians? More than two million young
professionals are working abroad, perhaps never to come back.
There are relatively few Malaysians working in the lower levels of the
construction, plantation and service sectors of the economy. Malaysian
hawker food is cooked by Burmese and Bangladeshis. We now see
Bangladeshis working in hardware shops and in market gardens.
The traditional system of apprenticeship that absorbed Chinese school
dropouts has all but disappeared. Where have these dropouts gone? Some
say the Chinese have moved upwards. That may be partially true.
But Chinese workers, unskilled and skilled, have moved out of the
country. They have moved to Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Britain,
Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.
Many of our youth are in the illegal trades. Many have joined gangs and
prey on the vulnerable. Our civil service has grown to absorb the
unemployed. Rela (People's Volunteer Corps) provides a uniform and a
small allowance to many.
Many of our graduates are unemployed or unemployable because they do
not have the relevant skills. The situation is not good. Our people are
being squeezed out of the employment market by lower cost foreign
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