Malaysia could have done a lot better
Malaysia Kini
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.

David Dass:                                                                                                 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 water independent.

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 and exams.

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 entrepreneurship.

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 workers.

The above is a selection of comments posted by Malaysiakini subscribers. Only paying subscribers can post comments. Over the past one year, Malaysiakinians have posted over 100,000 comments. Join the Malaysiakini community and help set the news agenda. Subscribe now.

These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

top  contents  chapter  previous  next