Archive for July 30th, 2012

Formation of 1 Malaysia national culture in the ‘new regime’

— Norani Abu Bakar
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 30, 2012

JULY 30 — As we conceive of a new regime in Malaysia, there are various ideas for a new political structure which must be articulated further. One of these, that of a two-party political system having great potential for transforming Malaysia’s current democracy into a means to national character and human flourishing.

Malaysians are the nation’s stakeholders, and thus this maturation of this new regime has the potential to define their national culture in terms of holistic values. This national culture is a powerful “soft force” that can form, support and move a nation — building and rebuilding it especially in severe conditions such as war, epidemic, natural disaster, collapse of governance, and regional economic melt-down. Can the two-party regime support their collective aspirations for a holistic, rich and cohesive 1 Malaysia culture or will the regime further fragment this community, leaving any newly developed or reformed policies on paper only?

The post-colonial governance, in all of its strengths and weaknesses since 1957, has persevered to secure the physiological needs of Malaysians. However, as Professor AR Embong wrote in “The Role of Social Sciences in Malaysian National Development,” the implementation of Vision 2020 was, as Joseph Stiglitz called the roaring 1990s, “a decade of clutching over wealth and profit.” There is some truth in this, and so for good reason, some Malaysians doubt the efficacy of this new vision. Hence, progressive efforts to revitalise the nation’s soul and identity through 1 Malaysia, and its reorientation towards the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, are perceived with great suspicion. Read the rest of this entry »


What do the polls really tell us?

— Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 30, 2012

JULY 30 — You will perhaps allow me to provide a brief commentary on your story “Actual voter sentiment not shown in opinion poll, say analysts”, The Malaysian Insider, July 28.

As any knowledgeable person will tell you, it is pointless to argue about small variations, such as rises or falls of two or three per cent, in a leader’s popularity as indicated by polls such as that of the Merdeka Center.

National trends are assessed on the basis of carefully chosen samples of less than 2,000 respondents. The margin of error in such cases is usually around three per cent.

So it is pointless to argue about small variations.

What is significant about the Merdeka Center’s figures, what has been shown to be a consistent pattern for some time now, and what cannot be denied is this: that those polls show a dramatic gap “across the board” between popular support for (or positive perceptions of) the prime minister and support for his party.

If the PM consistently rates at around 60 per cent (three out of five) and the party at around 40 per cent (or two out of five expressing themselves as “satisfied”), something interesting may be happening. Some interesting forces and perceptions are likely to be “in play.” Read the rest of this entry »