What nations surpassing M’sia have in common

As we have celebrated Independence Day on 31 August 2019, it is timely we ponder on Malaysia’s progress in the context of political and economic leadership because these two elements are vital for national growth, progress and general well-being of all Malaysians. Also, sad to say, they are dwindling fast.

The ideal situation is to have both political and economic leadership in the right proportion for Malaysia’s rapid progress.

Looking back to the last 30 years, Malaysia, though having achieved some progress, could have been done better.

We have lagged behind Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan and is in danger of losing to Vietnam. Thailand and Indonesia will surpass us soon. Where has Malaysia gone wrong in comparison to these countries?

The three Asian Tigers have little or no natural resources whereas Malaysia has everything to be desired for, climate, strategic geographical location, oil/gas, fertile land, plenty of water etc. Is it the lack of political or economic leadership or the absence of both? We cannot rely on the excuse that Malaysia is lacking in God’s given bounty for He has been more than generous with us.

The other three Asia Tigers have literally nothing to start with. Best example is Singapore. This city state has to face with all the obstacles and constrains, small population, limited land, absolutely no resources except what is up in their heads. Yet with first class political and economic leadership, Singapore has been enjoying one of the highest incomes in the world.

Singaporeans are among the richest and have world recognized top quality education. With a mixture of firm political leadership and clear economic vision, Lee Kuan Yew has lifted Singapore from a backwater to a city state that has won world-wide admiration. Harry Lee has never held back drumming into Singaporeans that their economic survival is dependent on overcoming harsh realities. His dictum was “compete or sink”. No Bantuan! Zero tolerance on corruption.

The common factor in progressive countries, including the Asian Tigers, is a blend of good quality political and economic leadership.

Malaysian political leaders could have united the country as Tunku Abdul Rahman has done. Instead, they have deluded themselves that they could build Malaysia into a progressive, prosperous country by division of race [master race included] and religion.

There is great reluctance and/or lack of political courage of the political leaders to forge a new political direction of unity.

Malaysian society will stay separated and compartmentalized. As an easy way out, politicians have been exploiting race/religion for their own political agenda. This to my mind is weak political leadership, knowing the dire consequences of their approach, worse still, to exploit it. This divisiveness shall inflict irrevocable damages to our country.

Like our political leadership, Malaysian economic leadership is at best mediocre, with the core of the economic model dominated by race. Consequent upon this, many politicians have been drumming up their support by using archaic feudal ways, offering all sorts of goodies and freebies, umbrellas from competition and adulterated with favouritism policies. Our quality of education has sunk and a great number of graduates are unemployable. Economic realities have been thrown out of the window.

All these freebie bantuan privileges Malaysia could afford before because of good oil and oil palm prices for many years. How long can this make-believe prosperity continue? How come still so much poverty?

Majority Malaysians have been lured into a “dream-like” comfort zone. A combination of mediocre economic leadership, an ever-increasing number of people demanding for “birth-right” benefits, softening of oil and oil palm prices, “the chicken has home to roost” or our past excesses have returned to haunt us. The “Bantuan” model is unstainable.

One could ask, which one [political or economic leadership] is more important or desirable. Actually, one cannot be totally separated from the other. Looking at the present global scenario and Malaysia’s present difficult situation, we must give more focus on economic leadership. The ideal situation for Malaysia should be less politics after GE14, much more focus on economic issues and development.

Unfortunately, the politicians, including PH ones, just cannot wean themselves of politicking. I can understand the opposition for this indulgence for the simple reason they don’t have a government to run and an economy to manage. The sad part is that many in government have fallen into their trap. Worse is that many government ministers and leaders, already hindered by inexperience, also play politics among and against each other. I feel sorry for Tun M who has to manage this bunch, their lack of policy initiatives and poor vision. No wonder he has said his job now is three times more difficult than last time.

Lack of funds is being used as an excuse for inaction. This cannot be a valid reason. China was dirt poor 30 years ago. Good political and economic leadership, with little fund, have lifted 800 million Chinese out of poverty and have transformed China into a super power within that time frame

Malaysia’s present political system with its excessive exploitation of race /religion, is very unlikely to produce a leader with great statesmanship, a unifying personality with good political and economic leadership.

The present racist trend, if the leaders in government fail to put a stop to it soon, will sling Malaysia towards an economic self-destruct mode, what’s more again with this talk of boycott on non-Bumi products when Malaysia needs to enhance economic unity in this great global economic uncertainty. We are pushing ourselves towards economic suicide. This is madness.

Those promoting the boycott want to grab political power by any means including destroying our economy. With leaders like them, Malaysia does not need enemies.

Near to 1.5 years after GE14, the saddest part is that the PH’s promise of a “New Malaysia” has remained fuzzy and vague, so temptingly near and yet so far. The fear is that it may drift further and further away. Admittedly PH has done much cleaning up of the problems it has inherited. This is insufficient. PH must produce its own brand of political vision and economic model with clarity.

As it is now, PH has been quite comfortable to play along in the present race/religious political and economic framework. I have yet to see a new start or sufficient bold and fresh ideas that can give birth to New Malaysia.

It is obvious that natural resources, which are in abundance in Malaysia, are not half as important as good political and economic leadership of which, unfortunately, Malaysia is in serious short supply.

Too many selfish, bigotry politicians who are bankrupt of ideas, resorting to exploit race, religions and grasping at any divisive issues for political gains at the expense of our national progress. Malaysia is being held prisoners and strangled by these bigots.

Too few politicians with statesmanship to care for the nation’s overall well-being, to look after the interest of all Malaysians and to give us the promised land of “NEW MALAYSIA” – Instead these politicians are giving us a fake New Malaysia.

By: Datuk John Lo.

Read more @ http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/read/3165/what-nations-surpassing-m-sia-have-in-common/

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