Archive for September 1st, 2007

Malaysia must adopt global policies and strategies to survive

by Dr. Chen Man Hin

The Barisan Nasional government frequently makes pronouncements that the economy is sound, with GDP growth rates of 5% and above.

However the following statistics of per capita income do not give a flattering picture of Malaysia:


1967/ 2005

Malaysia US290/ 5,042

Singapore 600/ 26,836

Hong Kong 620/ 25,493

Taiwan 250/ 15,203

S. Korea 160/ 16,308

In 1957, Malaysia had the second biggest per capita income after Japan, but now we are at the tail end among the front-rank developed nations in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


Tall buildings, narrow minds – Malaysia at 50

From The Economist
Aug 30th 2007

After 50 years, Malaysia should stop treating a third of its people as not-quite-citizens

THE government of Malaysia has laid on all sorts of grand pageantry this weekend, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Malay peninsula’s independence from Britain. There is much to celebrate. Living standards and access to education, health services, sanitation and electricity have soared during those five decades of sovereignty. The country’s remarkable modernisation drive was symbolised, nine years ago, by the completion of the Petronas twin towers, in Kuala Lumpur, then the world’s tallest buildings.

Yet there will be a hollow ring to the festivities. Malaysia’s 50th birthday comes at a time of rising resentment by ethnic Chinese and Indians, together over one-third of the population, at the continuing, systematic discrimination they suffer in favour of the majority bumiputra, or sons of the soil, as Malays and other indigenous groups are called. There are also worries about creeping “Islamisation” among the Malay Muslim majority of what has been a largely secular country, and about the increasingly separate lives that Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysians are leading. More so than at independence, it is lamented, the different races learn in separate schools, eat separately, work separately and socialise separately. Some are asking: is there really such a thing as a Malaysian? Read the rest of this entry »


Merdeka Golden Jubilee – National anniversary or Barisan Nasional anniversary?

A fortnight ago, the Sultan of Selangor called on politicians regardless of parties to put politics aside and to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime event, the 50th Merdeka anniversary, as one people.

He said: “The politicians, regardless of their parties, can have all the time they want to talk about politics after National Day but for now, I do not want to hear any issues that can hurt the feelings of any community.”

It is very sad that the Sultan of Selangor’s advice was completely ignored, as the two weeks before the 50th Merdeka anniversary had produced an unusually big crop of divisive and contentious issues which further divide rather than unify Malaysians as well as undermining public confidence in the independence and integrity of national institutions — not to mention the farce of patriotism staged by some Barisan Nasional MPs on August 29, which disgraced Parliament and demeaned the Merdeka Golden Jubilee celebrations.

After the Ambang Merdeka at the Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur culminating in the 50th Merdeka Anniversary countdown to midnight of August 30, many Malaysians asked whether it was a national anniversary or a Barisan Nasional anniversary.

Instead of uniting all Malaysians, regardless of generations, race, religion, territory or political party affiliations, the Ambang Merdeka programme polarized Malaysians between those in the Barisan Nasional/Alliance and the rest of Malaysians!

Although the Merdeka Parade at Dataran Merdeka yesterday morning and the Merdeka Mammoth Celebrations at Stadium Merdeka last night were not as blatantly “Barisan Nasional” as the Ambang Merdeka programme, the tone and motif of the official celebrations had been set and it is no exaggeration to say that many Malaysians were turned off by the anniversary programme for failing to be a powerful agent of Malaysian national unity for the country to face up to the many grave challenges of the next half-century. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia at 50: So far, so good

By Philip Bowring
International Herald Tribune
August 28, 2007

HONG KONG: There is much celebration in Malaysia this month to mark the day 50 years ago when the new nation was born out of the British-ruled states of the Malay peninsula. But was it?

On Aug. 31, 1957 it was actually Malaya that became independent. Malaysia was not created until September 1963, when the Malaya states were joined by Singapore (briefly) and the British-ruled territories in Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak.

The difference between Malaya and Malaysia is not a semantic quibble. It lies at the heart of the nation’s identity issues which in turn are reflected in the racial and religious basis of its politics.

Is this a Malay/Muslim country, where the non-Malay 50 percent and non-Muslim 40 percent must accept a somewhat subservient position whether they are immigrant races (Chinese and Indians) or the non-Malay but indigenous majority in Sabah and Sarawak? Or is this a nation forging a common Malaysian identity from its disparate origins? Read the rest of this entry »


Just imagine that…

August 31, 2007
Malaysian PM Very Constructive Force For Region, Says Bush

By Salmy Hashim

WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Bernama) — President George W. Bush has described Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership as a very constructive force for Southeast Asia.

He said Malaysia was an interesting example of how a free society could deal with movements that could conceivably change and alter the nature of the free society.

“I respect the way the prime minister has used freedom and the openness of society to deal with frustration. I mean, all societies have frustrated people. The question is will the outlet of that frustration lead to violence or peace,” Bush said in a rare roundtable Thursday with five journalists from Asia Pacific, including Bernama.

“Malaysia is an example of a country where frustrations have been channelled in a positive way.

“I respect Prime Minister Badawi, admire his leadership,” Bush, who met Abdullah at the White House in 2004, said when commenting on Abdullah’s leadership in handling extremism and terrorism in the country.

Abdullah is a proponent for moderation, advocating Islam Hadhari (Civilisational Islam) in Malaysia and everywhere he goes.

The camaraderie between the two leaders could be seen when the president said: “When his wife (the late Datin Seri Endon Mahmood) died, I tried to call him early just to let him know I cared about him.”

When told that Abdullah had remarried, Bush appeared surprised and said: “Has he? Good. I’ll congratulate him. Thanks for giving me that heads-up. I’m going to congratulate him. That’s neat.

When told by his aide that he did congratulate the prime minister, Bush laughed at his memory lapse and said: “Exactly. I’m going to congratulate him again. I’ll double the congratulations.”

He later admitted that he forgot and asked his aide whether he had called or written a note to the prime minister. He was told that he had written a note.

“That’s right, yes. (I also) sent him a couple of flowers,” Bush said. Read the rest of this entry »