1 Malaysia: Another morning glory?


By Tunku Abdul Aziz

An old English friend of mine, the late Humphrey Ball, the Malacca lawyer, once described Malaysia, his adopted country, as a morning glory — a reference to “a climbing plant with flowers shaped like trumpets that open in the morning and close in late afternoon.”

Having lived among us for so long, he was used to putting up with our little foibles, and if he was irritated by them, he kept his feelings very much to himself. Humphrey was the quintessential English gentleman.

We were having breakfast and it was a lovely morning and the city looked splendid. In between another cup of tea and a round of toast and marmalade, he surveyed the Kuala Lumpur skyline from the veranda of the Selangor Club and declared that from his experience, many of the state of the art concrete and stainless steel structures that were jostling for breathing space in the ever expanding concrete jungle of Malaysian towns and cities would go the way of all the other buildings he had seen in this country — in wreck and ruin within a few years.

“You know, Tunku, Malaysia is not unlike the morning glory,” he intoned.

Humphrey was, of course, right. We are good at building with the help of legions of exploited foreign labour. Maintenance is not part of the equation and we see this not only in the state of our buildings but also our suburban roads.

We neglect to repair a small hole as soon as it appears in the road until it becomes big enough to maim or kill a motorcyclist or damage a car. The Government, both Federal and State, is lucky that suing the authorities for negligence has not become a common feature of Malaysian life.

This is because the overwhelming majority of our people are ignorant of their rights. The time is not too far away when, as in the US and other developed countries, the authorities will be held legally accountable for their actions — in this instance, their lack of action.

Humphrey’s morning glory best describes our general attitude and approach to civic or public duty and responsibility. We undertake a government construction project with a lot of trumpeting and enthusiasm, but we seldom ever complete it successfully.

We see hundreds of such monuments to crony capitalism and entrenched, systemic corruption in every state of the nation. This is what happens when governance is driven by political rather than rational considerations. When meritocracy is on the backburner instead of in the driver’s seat, this is to be expected.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak may mean well in what he says about policy reforms, but will he be allowed the freedom to act effectively? Present indications are that he will be allowed to talk about his vision of a united and prosperous Malaysia ad infinitum.

His rival and other powerful political minders know that there is not much harm done to existing policies that benefit the party as long as they control and curtail his actions. He may not know it, but he has already caught the morning glory disease of beginning with a bang and ending with a deafening whimper.

Najib must wish he had not spent so much public money that is needed more urgently elsewhere to launch his 1 Malaysia, which looks destined for an early demise, like the morning glory of Humphrey’s evocative analogy. 1 Malaysia will forever remain a puerile offering of a confused mind that is best forgotten before the nation is subjected to further ridicule.

Please do not get me wrong. I have, all my life, promoted racial unity and integration, the acceptance instead of tolerance of cultural diversity, long before Najib even thought about these unifying elements.

But my version of 1 Malaysia is one that provides equal opportunity for all, based on the principles of justice and fair play.

My 1 Malaysia is a Malaysian Malaysia where all citizens are treated equally and discrimination in any shape or form is outlawed.

My 1 Malaysia is Middle Malaysia where extremism in economic, social, and political terms is totally expunged, and where the notion of racial supremacy is killed as soon as it rears its ugly head.

My 1 Malaysia will be free of the contradictions such as we see in our existing policies that favour a particular section of the Malaysian community to the detriment of sustainable overall development.

For the life of me I cannot see Najib delivering on my order. Can you, my fellow Malaysians?

  1. #1 by k1980 on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 10:27 am

    Not a morning glory, but a hideous Venus Flytrap, which lures unsuspecting people inside with sweet talk such as malaysia and then squeezes and sucks the life out of them

  2. #2 by mendela on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 10:38 am

    A very well wriiten, powerful and insightful article!

    If more Malays could think like what Tunku does, Malaysia will be saved!

  3. #3 by cemerlang on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 10:40 am

    No or less support means totally or partially handicapped. Even your own supporters say that nothing is fair in life. What do you expect ? Even in the most democratic country in the world or the country which found democracy do not practise fairness. In China, there is such an obvious difference between the rich and the poor. So at the end of the day, people have to ask themselves honestly. What is their political orientation ? Do you admire Singapore ? If you do, then you know what you must do. Do you admire Indonesia ? If you do, then you know what you must do. Do you admire the Saudi Arabia ? If you do, then you know what you must do. Which country or which government or which society do you admire the most in the world ?

  4. #4 by limkamput on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 11:46 am

    How can we ever achieve greatness, whatever it may be, be it unity, fairness, competency or efficiency when every (yes every, and without exception) BN political party, institution of government, department, agency, and GLC is bastardised or prostituted beyond recognition.

    Imagine the far reaching consequences of bastardisation. It means even if we have right men and women joining these parties, institutions or agencies, nothing good would come of it. The forces of bastardisation would be too strong to overwhelm whatever good intentions and good deeds that some are craving to do.

    And the main architect of this bastardisation is mamathir, no doubt about it. Instead of feeling remorse and keeping his stupid mouth shut, he has continued to vomit venom day in and day out.

    This reform process which has begun in March 8 must march on and reach its meaningful end. I sense that the people lack stamina and resolve. I sense that many are blinded by short term expediency rather than looking at long term sustainability. We can’t fix the problems we face through incremental approach anymore. They are too many bastards around to see that this will not happens. We need a total revamp.

  5. #5 by limkamput on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 11:50 am

    How can we ever achieve greatness, whatever it may be, be it unity, fairness, competency or efficiency when every (yes every, and without exception) BN political party, institution of government, department, agency, and GLC is b*stardised or pr*stituted beyond recognition.

    Imagine the far reaching consequences of b*stardisation. It means even if we have right men and women joining these parties, institutions or agencies, nothing good would come out of it. The forces of b*stardisation would be too strong to overwhelm whatever good intentions and good deeds that some are craving to do.

    And the main architect of this b*stardisation is mamathir, no doubt about it. Instead of feeling remorse and keeping his stupid mouth shut, he has continued to vomit venom day in and day out.

    This reform which has begun in March 8 must march on and reach its meaningful end. I sense that the people lack stamina and resolve. I sense that many are blinded by short term expediency rather than looking at long term sustainability. We can’t fix the problems we face through incremental approach anymore. They are too many b*stards around to see that this will not happens. We need a total revamp.

  6. #6 by frankyapp on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 11:51 am

    Frankly speaking,Cemerlang,these Umnoputras or Ketuanan melayu would never wanted to admit that others such as Singapore is doing pretty well though it’s a fact because of their arrogance and stupitity. If they have any humanity at all,today Malaysia would have been a great and successful country without such 1malaysia slogan shouting and Perkasa’s extreme racist remarks here and there. Instead Malaysia would be leading Singapore and all other ASEAN country.It’s indeed a great disgruntled thing to all malaysians.

  7. #7 by tak tahan on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 12:00 pm

    Me and friends(local n foreign) will laugh till drop dead about this typical ketuanan melayu with certain group in Malaysia.Are they so helpless or handicap that potrayed by umnoputras till they’ve to rely on this so call crutches?Pathetic ya?

  8. #8 by limkamput on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 12:21 pm

    SIBU: There is still much that Barisan Nasional needs to do for Sarawak and Sabah despite spending a lot of money in terms of projects in the two states, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

    “I admit that Barisan Nasional still needs to do much more. That is why it is important we have continuity in the existing government.// quoted from a farting msm.

    You admit that BN still needs to do much more? You mean BN has not finished exploiting and abusing the two states yet?

    You think it is important BN has continuity to govern the two states. You mean to give you the opportunity to continue exploiting and abusing the two East Malaysian states.

    Despite spending a lot of money in the two states? Yes, we know you spent lots of money in the two states, but 90% of the money was spent on white elephants and siphoned off by cronies.

  9. #9 by SENGLANG on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 12:39 pm

    We must understand that the BN system has been built on the basis of sharing the corrupt practices. They share the money from the corruption and they built their support from the grass roots who have also shares the same. Once a while they also play the racist cards and even upon retirement he the master still play on them. This was how they built the BN empire and rule over the past 50 years. How can we expect this to be change over night. We have see Pak LAh come on with the full support of the people who want the change but he could not because the war lots was to strong same for Najib, he carry much baggage with him will be worst. What he can do will spent on the money to hide his face behind the illusion of perception and hoping to escape his liability. No way will BN will bring in all fundamental changes the force within was too strong and has been deep rooted. More so the master still have his influence and still kicking the racial cards.

    It will false illusion if we think BN will bring in the changes that the people want.

  10. #10 by chengho on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 2:58 pm

    Tunku abdul aziz,
    old man , u are too romantic , this is realpolitik ,real capatalist world and real democracy .
    look at British GE until today they have hung parliment do not know what to do . people complained not enough time allocated for voting and not enough voting paper , can u imagine something like this happened in Britain ,
    anyway i like gin &tonic..
    1Malaysia way to go…

  11. #11 by limkamput on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 4:04 pm

    Talking about b*stardisation of Malaysian institutions and establishments, one example of a b*stard is eunuch chengho.

  12. #12 by wanderer on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 5:16 pm

    How very true to describe Malaysia boleh. I flew home from Perth by MH126, I was not impressed
    with the renovated seats and to confirm my displeasure, as the plane took off, my seat declined backwards automatically without me having to press the seat control button!!! Let me assure Malaysians, it was a disgraceful show of pride by the National Carrier…. fortunately, I was compensated by the excellent services I received from the air stewardess!

  13. #13 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 9 May 2010 - 9:39 pm

    Tunku, you are pin on. The same Malaysian contractors who used to do jobs in the small dot would normally do them ACCORDING to plan. Back home, the scenario changes! Just pay a visit to PUTRAJAYA; in photos, looks manificent; just go nearer; it isn’t half the cost claimed. It seems Malaysians are pretty good in Poor constructions and the local town councils lose no time to approve them. Some students from UUM claimed the structures looked so shabby, you did think you were in some poor African countries! For that matter, you can describe most if not all the Gomen structures. Any wonder the collapses in the East coast states? The whole scheme was thought through by the Father of Development.
    The easiset way to cover piratization is Mega porjects. What happen 2 years later is no one’s concern. This is Boleh Land. The mind-set has been indoctrinated for nearly 2 generations, Tunku, figure we could change it over-night?

  14. #14 by dagen on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 9:24 am

    Someone above posed the question whether malays could think they way tunku did in his expressions above.

    Of course! Umno and umnoputras may be stupid and without merits, they too knew precisely what tunku is saying. It is just that they are too greedy and have too much vested interest to go the way tunku and the rest of us desires.

    And that one half of the malay population which let umno warm the seats in parliament, yes they too could appreciate what tunku said. However they are too frighten to change things. Doesnt matter if umno is bad or even rotten, at least umno is familiar.

    The passage of time will flush these people (who voted umno) together with their “safe” mentality out. That I am very sure. But people are getting impatient with the ways of umno – the wonton abuse of power, suppression, corruption, killings, giving away our petroleum, working with the enemies of the state and many many more.

    Fighting for the good of the nation and for common interst in umno’s terms can mean betrayal and those who did so can be seen as traitors. What umno wants is to fight for umno and umnoputras and nothing else. Umno is as ridiculous as that. This is because umno after 50yrs has not only amassed absolute power, it is begining to see itself as God of all gods.

    To umno only two things matter: (1) the keris; and (2) their ketuanan.

  15. #15 by dagen on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 9:32 am

    Actually chengho is much much less and much much lower than a eunuch. He is the eunuch without the precious jar of his preserved ketuanan.

    He lost it in an accident. I heard a mat rempit knocked him down one day and then ran over and crushed the jar and its content.

  16. #16 by raven77 on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 9:47 am

    Ketuanan Melayu = Making money upfront.

    It’s just a modified form of piracy.

    There will be no Tuans in this country. UMNO conned all its sissy partners to oblivion by means of briberyand outright piracy with swords at their throats.

    It’s left to Pakatan to take these [email protected] out. No Malaysian is anyone’s Tuan except to the law of the land.

  17. #17 by johnnypok on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 2:53 pm

    After begging and living on hand-outs for 50 years, they have lost the ability to think and to walk on their own tow legs forever. If they continue to behave like this, God knows what will happen to them.

  18. #18 by aiD_kamikuP on Monday, 10 May 2010 - 11:02 pm

    Morning Glory?

    Yes, like for most 50+ year old males, morning glory for 52 year old Malaysia is just that.!

    The ‘glory’ that comes in between the dreams in the morning really is rather transient and empty.

    Alas, once awake the disappointment in realising that the glorious sensation is the work of a bladder full is very much like knowing that the meaningless ‘glories’ in Malaysia are the work of bl00dy f00ls.

  19. #19 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 - 5:53 pm

    TAZ – I always thought “morning glory” refers to what greets you in the morning when you undo your pyjamas…

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