What this ‘pendatang’ thinks

By Debbie Loh
May 11, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

MAY 11 — Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet briefly with a Singaporean actively involved in the property and construction sector of his country and beyond. After a short discourse of the weather and the odd traffic jams in Singapore, I managed to pose a question, point blank:

“Sir, what do you think of the Iskandar Development Region? Do you think it will turn out to what it is touted to be? A smaller version of Shenzhen?”

To which he answered: “No I don’t think so. We’re not very interested.”

I wasn’t surprised by that statement. The heralding of Iskandar Development Region as a strong and formidable economic region began about four years ago — with the Iskandar Regional Development Authority formalised as a statutory body in 2007.

Since then, endless seminars, conferences and tours were held to study this area measuring 221,634ha and having five “flagship zones”, each as different regions of development.

This masterplan was touted to have the propensity to match the Klang Valley as a vibrant, world-class metropolis — at least for the Asean region.

The prime minister threw in tax incentives bait in 2010 for selected knowledge workers migrating to IDR between October 24, 2009 and December 31, 2015.

Officials from IRDA and IIB hoped on Singaporeans to breathe life into the plans.

Being someone with almost daily discourses on property development, I half expected a long answer about availability of amenities, security issues, liveability, a sizeable and sustainable market for local commerce and so on.

But the reply I received sent a ripple of chills down my spine (serious).

“It is the political climate in Malaysia that holds us back.”

Hearing an outsider comment on such a “private” matter that only Malaysians whine about was strangely alarming to me, for several weeks before this conversation, I discussed the dire situation in Sarawak with a fellow-rakyat who watches it happen.

Our nation has been rocked again and again by politics and untoward statements made by the administration and its apparent or non-apparent affiliates. Ironically, they are the ones that create unrest and alarm among the rakyat.

How have these statements alleviated suspicion and mistrust? How have they forged unity especially when some don’t even desire it?

The rakyat — who only wish to be able to live freely, earn a living, raise a family in a stable environment conducive for advancement, be able to choose the different opportunities open to them — can only watch helplessly and try to understand everything in the context of a Constitution that their leaders don’t really care to regard.

Hang on, the whole purpose of the country’s leaders is to uphold the Constitution, isn’t it?

Almost two years ago, when the Economic Transformation Programme was launched, the administration was acquiescing with the private sector that a clear and dependable rule of law was crucial to economic prosperity.

This was highlighted again and again by dignitaries such as Datuk Francis Yeoh and Tan Sri Ramon Ravaratnam. How has this come through today?

How can policies — statements and plans not even enshrined in any legislative instrument — take form when even the crucial elements are being disputed and unheeded?

As these uncalled-for controversies continue, the racial divide only continues to deepen, the younger generation’s patriotic bravado (yes, born-pendatangs have the propensity to have that) crumbles to alarm and hurt as their older generation that have remained watch and sympathise.

And the next wave of migrants out of the country begins to chart their course of exit. So much for Talent Corporation and the rest of the GTP, ETP, NKEA, PPP, BO, EPP, ETC.

And so the nation’s news continues to wallow in sensational, seditious statements about how Christians want to make Malaysia a Christian nation, how such and such a video was of a certain politician (or not) – while inflation continues to creep up, our school history books are being maimed and filled with lies, low salaries perpetuate, the average salary remains uncompetitive, investors are turned away and the hope for the economy — skilled, knowledge Malaysian workers leave the country.

Maybe we should really consider leaving. Even if this was said in the tone of a threat, they wouldn’t care anyway — it’s probably what they wanted all along.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 4:26 pm

    //how Christians want to make Malaysia a Christian nation//

    In the 1930s, some Germans actually believed that the Jews wanted to make Germany a Jewish nation. Now history repeats itself. This is the price to pay for not having proper history textbooks, resulting in under-educated fools repeating the follies of history.

  2. #2 by cseng on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 8:01 pm

    After Sarawak poll, Umno and BN in distress, 1 Malaysia did not get Chinese votes back. After this, MCA try a drama with Umno to hold Chinese in ransom but that also backfired.

    Umno could not count on MCA, maybe their ex-boss told them, there is no way to win Chinese votes by pleasing them but scared them off, and those votes would come back by themselves.

    To do that, they must isolate the people into race and religion. Umno knew, however corrupted they area, how unreasonable they are, without enough Malay support to PKR or PAS to fight along with Chinese, Chinese community dare not put votes to opposition in full swing. That, probably stills the belief of Umno’s ex-boss, that is, what Utusan trying to achieve.

    There is no way Umno backing down from whatever the Christian community trying to explain and demand, they are pulsing the support of Malay and Muslim. If Umno sense, this type of issue back flowing PKR and PAS Malay support to BN, brace yourself with more religious issue!

  3. #3 by raven77 on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 - 10:53 pm

    LEASE Iskandar to Singapore 99 years or cede it altogether to Singapore…and then it will boom…..the problem with Malaysia…ZERO Management expertise……almost everything coloured by race and UMNO….who wants to do buisness?????

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 12:52 am

    Better still, Johor secedes from Malaysia n joins Sg, then great future
    After all, many Johoreans r watching Sg TV channels, earning Sg $, studying in Sg

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 7:02 am

    We are mighty good at “sloganeering”, we will hold numerous meetings for just 1 agenda which won’t even see the day-light. We love to talk about the circumstantial facts but refused to address the REAL Issues compounding it.
    We love tea and kueh sessions, endlessly talking about peripheral issues knowing very well those discussions will not address the core issue. This we mighty good at. Over the last 30 years, we have created a mind-set that won’t disappear over night. Just listen to the request of the Bumiputra Contractor Association, just hand over the MRT project!!!!!! Looking back, I guess you know who is responsible for such mind-set?
    I don’t think the nation is lack of people who can contribute; the nation is led by people who just want the ‘add-on’ cash! We heard the euphoria when an International bank concluded that we are the 7 nations in Asia to shine. Just you wait!

  6. #6 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 7:44 am

    Answer is easy. umnoputras are corrupt, lazy and a bunch of good for nothing except sodomy and pornography.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 8:48 am

    Better still, Johor quits 1M’sia n joins Sg, then great future
    After all, many Johoreans r watching Sg TV channels, earning Sg $, studying in Sg

  8. #8 by Ray on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 9:59 am

    Iskandar Dev was Umnoputras Evil Intention project for Corruption Obssession and Decietful ISA Authocratic Meleyu Politics forever…
    … I fully agreed with the above writer and whats’ in the minds of Smart Singaporeans and Hijack city of JB,also dislike to visit either.

  9. #9 by Loh on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 10:53 am

    boh-liao :
    Better still, Johor quits 1M’sia n joins Sg, then great future
    After all, many Johoreans r watching Sg TV channels, earning Sg $, studying in Sg

    It is better for Johore Sultan because he can have a larger territory with a GDP the same size as the rest of Malaysia. What about the state government of Johore? If it carries on under Singapore standard, the chamber would be empty.

  10. #10 by bush on Thursday, 12 May 2011 - 11:06 am

    Any development carried out by the G that adopt the NEP will eventually fail and a good example is Putrajaya…etc. Luckily, putrajaya is funded by Petronas and keep pumping money to maintain the world class lanscape and built condo that without any taker.

    If they want to make Iskandar to become the world class region then they should sell the whole piece of Iskandar land to singapore (privatisation) and let them develop and see the world class development. otherwise. just another white elephant in the making. or perhap, another monument to be remembered.

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