50th Merdeka – arrest and reverse retrogression if Malaysia is not to lose out in global stakes

Should Malaysians be proud of what the country has achieved after 50 years of independence?

In Parliament, a Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament said Malaysia has great cause to be satisfied with the nation’s progress and achievements in the past 50 years as the country is ten times more advanced than Ghana, which also became independent in the same year as Malaysia in 1957.

This BN MP is right if we are prepared to compare with the worst — but Malaysians must not be content with such low benchmarks and must be prepared to compare with the best rather than the worst, especially as the people are being bombarded every day with the slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang”.

We should be concerned as to why the country had failed to hold our prominent position in the region and the world when the nation was second only to Japan as the most developed country in Asia 50 years ago in 1957.

We should ask why we have lost out to South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong with an ever-increasing gap when we were ahead of them 50 years ago instead of the false pride of being well ahead of Ghana.

Malaysia’s 50th Anniversary has highlighted major areas of retrogression which must be arrested and reversed if Malaysia is not to continue to lose out in the global stakes for competition, progress and development.

If those in power and authority in Malaysia continue in their “denial complex”, refusing to come to grips with reality and address the reasons for our decline and retrogression, more and more countries in future will be overtaking us in the international competitiveness and development stakes like Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and even some African countries although we will continue to be poles ahead of the failed African states like Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Last Thursday, there was an article in the “Capital Talk” business section of the Star on Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman entitled “True visionary”, which made some interesting comparisons between Malaysia today from that of 50 years.

Let me quote some extracts from this article:

In the 1960s, Malaysians were not complacent. They lived in a performance-based system where meritocracy was recognised and encouraged. University Malaya very quickly became a highly respected university in the entire Commonwealth.

Religion was not politicised. Malaysian society was much more liberal then than what it is today…

The Anti-Corruption Agency began formal operations on Oct 1, 1967. Led by Tunku, Tan Siew Sin and Sambanthan, the Government in the 60s was not perceived as being plagued by rampant corruption, unlike nowadays.

By any standards, the above achievements were world-class and made Malaysians proud…

After Tunku was forced to retire, Malaysia was never the same again. The standard of English declined and is still declining. The education system became politicised and the quality suffered severely. Malaysian sports became politicised too.

Under the previous administration, business, politics and corruption became inseparable under the guise of Malaysia Inc. The judiciary became a source of embarrassment instead of pride. Religious fundamentalism became intertwined with politics and this destroyed the entire landscape of an open Malaysian society.

Different races go to different schools and Malaysians of all races face more barriers at interacting compared with during Tunku’s time. Meritocracy and a performance-based system were replaced by complacency and a get-rich quick mentality that cut across all communities. Now, we cannot find the equivalent of the Rubber Research Institute…

The tragedy for Malaysia was the failure of the ruling political party to see the vision and the wisdom of Tunku’s multi-faceted policies. Had they continued with his policies, Malaysia would have succeeded far beyond what it has achieved so far.

Let i Capital rank visionary from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest score. Tunku’s policy of retaining English ranks as 10. The policy of making the rule of law the way in governing Malaysia and maintaining the independence of the judiciary also ranks as 10. The rule by person from 1982 onwards would be ranked 1.

Tunku’s policy of allowing the economy to be influenced by market forces certainly ranks as 10. The subsequent policy of managing the economy on a central planning model gets a 1. Tunku’s policy of promoting meritocracy and a performance-based system earns a 10 — if only we can rank it as 11. His policy of a balanced economic development would also rank as 10.

The multiple scandals which recently burst on the Malaysian scene on the occasion of the 50th anniversary whether the pervasive mismanagement of public funds exposed by he 2006 Auditor-General’s Report; corruption in the police and public service; the RM4.6 billion Port Klang Free Zone bailout scandal; the galloping crime wave illustrated by the heinous rape-murder of eight-year-old girl Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and the latest crisis of confidence in the judiciary after the revelation of the Lingam Tape are all proof as to how far we have fallen from the high standards the country has set for itself when we achieved Merdeka 50 years ago.

After 50 years, the country has lost its bearings. We are in danger of losing the national soul. Malaysia must get back to the basics.

All Malaysians have a national and patriotic duty to take a stand to check the rot setting in all the major institutions of the state so that Malaysia can take its rightful place among the front rank of developed nations instead of just sloganeering about “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” while it slides further down the international competitiveness stakes.

(Speech at the swearing-in ceremony for the DAP Bukit Mertajam parliamentary liaison committee at DAP Bukit Mertajam branch on Sunday, 23rd September 2007)

  1. #1 by Godfather on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 9:35 am


    The public knows that the real slogan is “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Temberang”. BN is happy to compare us with African nations – the theft of public funds is a lot more severe in these countries, so we must be alright.

  2. #2 by wantonhead on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:04 am

    Most Malaysian nowadays label themselves by races. But for me, i would rather label myslef as “Malaysian”. And but again, it leaves me no choice to label myself as Chinese Malaysian. We all know that, people in all over the world do that. It seems that we have already lost our identity as a “Malaysian”.

    This is not to say that I do not love our countrty, Malaysia, anymore. In fact, i believed, all of us here loves our beloved country that no words can descript. In these current political affairs, I felt ashamed of myself. That no words can ever descript.

    I do not intend to say something or against to any communities/races, but then again, as what premier LKY has mentioned, “Chinese is being sidelined”. This a fact, and nobody make it up. We all can and know and believed and see with our own eyes.

    A book titled “May 13”, says it all out to my heart content. And that is what my father had told me since I am young. I would like to see the 1969 opposition era again in this coming election. We may not need to worried about the history to repeat again, as it will not and they will not.

    Let’s us “rakyat” decide where we want to go and do the right thing by casting your vote wisely.

  3. #3 by son of perpaduan on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:22 am

    Cheers godfather,
    These bunch of BN MP doing nothing good for the rakyat by comparing with those less fortunate country. Rakyat malaysia with knowledge should be own much more better life quality if we compared with Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Stop stealing the rakyat funds and vote for the better future the next generation should deserve. Malaysia is a very rich in terms of natural resource but end up everyone paying and struggle to survive.

  4. #4 by helpless on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:25 am

    A national policy to strive bal of wealth distribution is good…

    When the policy is one sided… w/o independent check… right from law maker, government, enforcer officer, juristicial all control by few person…..” NO MORE MERITROCRACY ”

    When greed overcome the love of people… corruption surface… ” DECLINE GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS ”

    Tracing the root cause is 2nd level of checking on any evaluation and rewarding syst. must be effective… ” PEOPLE COUNTRY IS FOR THE PEOPLE AND NOT A FEW PERSON ”

    An ” indendendent” opposition party needed in Parlimen…
    An ” Independent” ACA for government officer…
    An ” Independent” special juristicial for fairness……
    An ” independent” special commision for policeforce..

    The key determine point = ” How independent ? “

  5. #5 by k1980 on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:37 am

    What to expect from an executive who appointed his own judiciary and who in turn is beholden to the legislative which appointed him. Whither the separation of powers left behind by the British in 1957?

  6. #6 by voice on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:45 am

    Yes! Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang in corruption, scandal and race discrimination.

  7. #7 by Justicewanted on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 10:56 am

    During Tunku’s reign, all the UMNO members are true Malays.

    After that his successors allowed converts, mamaks and instant bumiputras(foreigners) to join UMNO.

    This has caused the change in goal post as these “new” Malays took control of UMNO and the government

  8. #8 by ngahc on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 11:01 am

    Why compared our country with Ghana? Fifty years ago, South Korea, Singapore , Taiwan and Hong Kong were not better off than Malaysia. Today, these “asia four tigers” have globalised economies and high standard of living. These countries are either world class financial centre or advanced technology manufacturing companies. Thier populations have higher education level and proud of good universities’ ranking in the world. Their workforce have higher skills and more productive. Unlike these “tigers”, Malaysia not able to accomplish the abovementioned achievements within fifty years. On the other hand, Vietnam, Thailand and Idonesia may economically catch up with Malaysia in the very near future. Our learders need to think what are the policies that have hindered our country’s economic progress.

  9. #9 by sotong on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 11:22 am

    Decades of bad leadership and governance of the country with narrow and damaging politics of race and religion had done enormous damage to the country.

    Non Malays, in particular non bumi, had contributed and sacrified enormously to the country’s peace and prosperity. They worked very hard, independent and responsible with family planning so as not to burden the government budget.

  10. #10 by Godfather on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 12:06 pm

    They can never bear the thought that the non-Malays have more than pulled their weight to bring the country to where it is today. They are happier if we all leave the country and let them hang around under their tempurung, and take whatever God-given resources there are in Bolehland.

    22 years of social experimentation by TDM, resulting in the erosion of the checks and balances required for transparent and proper governance, and the last 4 years of the new guy sleeping on the job, have meant that Bolehland can now only hold the candle to Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, etc. Don’t even think of comparing Bolehland to Taiwan, Singapore, Brunei, China. You will be merely waving a red flag at the proverbial (fat) bull.

  11. #11 by sheriff singh on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 12:28 pm

    ” In the 1960s, Malaysians were not complacent. They lived in a performance-based system where meritocracy was recognised and encouraged. University Malaya very quickly became a highly respected university in the entire Commonwealth. ”

    The University of Malaya was established in Singapore in 1949 after the Carr-Saunders Report. It was formed through the merger of Raffles College and the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore which was founded in 1905. It very quickly gained reputation as one of the best Universities in the Commonwealth.

    It was only in 1959 that the Malayan Division was formed in KL and some staff was transferred to KL. In 1960, the newly independent Malaya wanted its own university and the NEW University of Malaya was formed in 1962 from the OLD University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur Division.

    The new Universiti Malaya was merely riding from the reputation from its predecessor. For a time it managed to maintain standards but as time went, standards dropped with the local administrators making a big mess of it and with external political interference. The result is what we have today, a half-past-six university that is struggling to keep afloat.

    And with the government now dictating university standards and with all kinds of external interference coupled with poor leadership, we have this situation today:


    BUT, we are still better off than Ghana.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 12:29 pm

    Will the real Abdullah Badawi stop sleeping and please stand up?
    ….a Malaysian by the name of “Abdullah Badawi” as having been given vouchers to sell two million barrels of Iraqi oil through a company called Tradeyear. The report, which also implicated national oil company Petronas, alleged the person had sold 1.95 million barrels and estimated the profit could be as high as 0.65 dollars per barrel.

  13. #13 by Rocketeer on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 12:40 pm

    50 yrs of independence and there is no real unity in opposition…

    I might vote opposition if they form long term coalition…..Short term coalition for convenience during election looks too pathetic and not believable or credible……”Undi Rosak” will be my candidate this time !!

  14. #14 by peace on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 1:04 pm

    Ghana… maybe he meant to refer to this:

  15. #15 by Joetan on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 1:06 pm

    Probably Malaysia will be better off if we were to left to the British to rule Malaysia for 50 years. Probably we were be like Hong Kong or probably better than Hong Kong because Malaysia has natural resources whereles Hong Kong dont have. I am sure British wont implement stupid policies like NEP and segregate Malaysian to Bumiputras and non Bumiputras.

  16. #16 by Bigjoe on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 1:07 pm

    Singapore, younger and still doing better after decades, tell its citizen not be complacent and worry about survival instead of thumping its chest.

    Yes we should be proud, proud that the monkeys in our government has not run us into some hellhole such that instead of just over 1million Malaysia migrating overseas which is the same as the Phillippines in percentage, we would have closer to 5-10 million..

  17. #17 by badak on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 1:15 pm

    Absolute power corrupt absolutely ,With UMNO led goverment we are this happening every day .We can change all this with our votes.

  18. #18 by ngahc on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 1:40 pm

    LKY benchmark Singapre to Hong Kong, Switzerland, Finland , Denmark etc and our politicians benchmark Malaysia to Ghana. No wonder Singapore deserved to be ‘From Third To First’. Let’s benchmark Malaysia with Singapore in :

    1) Crime rate
    2) Corruption
    3) NUS, SMU, NTU Vs UM, UKM, USM
    4) SIA Vs MAS
    5) Changi Airport Vs KLIA
    6) Government efficiency
    7) GDP per head
    8) English proficiency
    9) Economic competitiveness
    10) Cleanliness

    After benchmark Malaysia with Singapore, we will have a better picture of our country economic/ education/social progress in the last 50 years. Do we dare to carry out the above benchmark?

  19. #19 by ablastine on Monday, 24 September 2007 - 11:37 pm


  20. #20 by pwcheng on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 12:39 am

    It is just like boasting that we are not that bad in sports. We had beaten Timor Leste. That are most comfortable with this type benchmark and proud of it. How pitiful!!

  21. #21 by pwcheng on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 12:39 am


  22. #22 by 1eyecls on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 9:26 am

    in a chinese proverb,it indicates the true story of the sad scenario in malaysia bolehland:”you cant switch on the light,they could put on a fire!”

    they always condemn israelists zionists,you see the way the PBT enforcement teams destroy,demolish,ransack especially non-mala s’ property, home,business, etc,etc………….like the most recent pig farmers in melaka (ppl said”orand dia,hantu pun dia”dia=melaka MB),and others incidents like setapak chinese hawkers,petaling street’s hawkers,cheras utama toll issue,damansara sjkc,………..as many as the ‘stars’,damn it!

  23. #23 by 1eyecls on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 9:32 am

    not to say i m bad,i rily hope that one day,the UN and USA plus Israel soldiers will come to malaysia to combat the local corrupted govt. leaders and officials,and put the NEP to death sentence!

  24. #24 by AntiRacialDiscrimination on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 11:29 am

    Right now, the Malays, as a protected species, are living very comfortably in Malaysia.

    They just don’t care whether Malaysia will be losing out globally or not.

    They just don’t understand the meaning of competitiveness and globalization.

  25. #25 by witoutprejudice on Tuesday, 25 September 2007 - 12:13 pm

    check out this page….he highlighted some discrepancies in the newspaper


  26. #26 by rajanjohn on Thursday, 27 September 2007 - 2:21 am

    Compare BMX bicycle and Proton and make comparison la! Dumb-dump UMNO! Taktau Bilang mau mau jadi terbilang!!!!

  27. #27 by ktteokt on Sunday, 30 September 2007 - 11:16 pm

    If I had a child who still cannot walk at the age of 50, I’d rather die of shame than to shout at those who remind me.

  28. #28 by Pure Kemaman on Thursday, 15 November 2007 - 1:59 pm

    ACTUALLY,I’M A STUDENT. FRANKLY SPEAKING, I SEE mANY THINGS NEED TO BE DONE TO OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IN ORDER TO M€KE IT WORLDWIDE RECOGNISED. -PROBLEMS:students have to do many things to meet the system’s demand. i saw many cases that students cannot balance between the extra curricular activities and academics. even amalina, the spm top scorer only participate in the pidato competition. perhaps, the government should look at certain needs that have to be developed from the sudent’s potential. for example, if the students are really good in science and mathematics, provide them with curriculums which enable them to enhance their true abilities. the education system have to look at the student’s needs. when some issues about education were brought as national issues, they never asked the students about their opinions. how pathetic……… we want experiments in studying biology,physics and chemistry..the problem is… our teacher cannot finish the syllabus if we conduct the experimentssssssssss……

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