Archive for February 7th, 2011

In praise of secularism

By AB Sulaiman

In my earlier but one commentary, I stated that the Malay problem is the root cause of the nation’s problems. Soon after it was published on Jan 6, a dear friend and former office colleague sent me a note.

Ali (not his real name) agreed with my observation but disagreed strongly with my suggestion that one of the ways of solving ‘the Malay problem’ would be to secularise the Malay mind. He seemed to be saying, “Yes I agree with all your observations so long as you don’t ask the Malay to secularise his thinking”.

His reaction was all too familiar, for secularism is considered a dirty word, amounting to blasphemy and apostasy, to the Malay community – a major sin in orthodox Malay reckoning.

But Ali, and those who think like and agree with him, can be no more wrong. Here’s why:
Read the rest of this entry »


Petition to reform history education: act now


We urge CPI readers and others to sign this important petition by a courageous parent. The petition calls on the authorities to act immediately to address the bias and shortcomings plaguing the Malaysian history syllabus and textbooks.

Our younger generation deserve a broad, impartial and fair history in their education. They do not deserve narrowly blinkered history textbooks and a syllabus that are bent on propagandizing parochial ethno-nationalist and religiously biased perspectives and knowledge.

All parents and taxpayers in the country should be concerned with the current situation of history education which is providing our children with selective and biased views and knowledge that can only further polarize and divide the communities and nation rather than serve to unify us on the basis of a fair and accurate representation of our past and that of all civilizations.


THE PETITION Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #52

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 7: Enhancing Human Capital

People are the real wealth of nations.
UNDP Human Development Report 2001

One surprising observation following the American stock market meltdown of October 1987 was that there was very little change in the behavior of American consumers. The Dow Jones Index may have dropped by over 40 percent but stockbrokers and their clients did not jump off the skyscrapers on Wall Street. Citizens did not hoard food or withdraw their savings as they would when faced with major uncertainties. Nor did they withhold spending in anticipation of tough times. To be sure the sales of luxury cars and yachts were dampened, but by and large there were minimal changes in the economic behavior of Americans.

Citizens’ reactions in Malaysia to the much more severe economic crisis of 1997 were also similar to the Americans’. Both were in marked contrast in nearby Indonesia, where the nation was nearly ripped apart because of the economic crisis.
Read the rest of this entry »