Archive for August 26th, 2010

Stand up and be counted, Malaysia

By Azmi Sharom | Brave New World

It is strange that in the 21st century, we are still having to face the problem of institutionalised racism.

OVER the past week or so, there have been some developments in our country which are more disturbing than usual.

In particular, the two cases of alleged racist remarks by school heads; the accusations that Penang mosques have replaced the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with the Chief Minister’s name in their prayers; and the continued insistence that Article 153 of the Constitution is equal to an inalienable right that could not be questioned.

These events are interrelated and it seems to me that they indicate that there is a battle of ideology going on in the country now.

On one side is the idea that a person’s ethnicity and religion entitles him to be treated better than anyone else who is different. On the other side is the idea that equality is an aspiration that is both noble and necessary for nation building.
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When will Najib and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed is quoted in today’s press as saying that Talent Corporation has been tasked with attracting at least half of the 750,000 Malaysian professionals working overseas to come home as part of its efforts to draw the best brains in the world to Malaysia.

Speaking at the launching of the Public-Private Partnership’s website, he said seeking out the Malaysian diaspora for the top brains was necessary as the Government aimed to hit the target of RM115 billion per year in local and foreign investments to turn the country into a developed nation by 2020.

It is shocking that Nor Mohamed could come out with such an unrealistic and “tall order” not only because of the dismal failure of previous government “brain gain” policies but in the light of recent events when the unchecked escalation of the rhetoric of race and religion would have the effect of giving a major push to greater brain-drain from the country instead of pulling back talents from the Malaysian diaspora to return to serve the country.

It is time that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Ministers wake up and realize that the twin crisis of human talents and investments confronting the country are more than a matter of economics.
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Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #29

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 4: Modern Model States

The Relevant Lessons For Malaysia

At first glance, Malaysians cannot readily identify with any of these three countries. Although they differ in a number of significant ways, nonetheless each has important lessons to offer Malaysia.

The most obvious difference is that none of three countries have multiracial societies and the accompanying interracial problems. South Korea is ethnically and culturally homogeneous. There may be some tension between the Buddhist majority and the Christian minority, but that does not lead to serious social or religious conflict. Polarizations and schisms in Korean society are more along regional and class lines.

Argentina is also deeply divided along class lines; between landowners and workers, and urban and rural dwellers. Ethnic differences are not significant as they are all essentially Europeans. Granted there are significant differences between the Germans and the Italians Argentineans (language, culture, religion), but those are of not of the same scale as the differences between Malays and Chinese.
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