Saturday, October 18, 2008


A few days ago, I received an email of an article, purportedly written by a Malaysian bumiputra, that raised some of the reasons that have made Singapore highly successful, as compared to Malaysia. Upon reading the article, I note a lot of sense in the article, and it is for this reason that I wish to share with the readers the issues discussed, and for the readers to make their own judgment.

This article comes at a time when our leaders and politicians alike are in a quandary as to how to resolve the myriad of issues affecting the country today i.e. from party squabbles to economic, political and social woes that is likely to affect the country any time soon. The salient issues discussed in the article are as under:

Singapore’s success

1. Practises corrupt-free meritocracy and attracts the best brains of the country, as leaders.
2. Singapore’s politicians, and especially its cabinet ministers consists of incorruptible, dedicated and highly intelligent technocrats.
3. Any significant achievement in development comes without fanfare and self praise.
4. Actions taken by the government is targeted for the well being of the people, and is not meant to satisfy a few.
5. Instruments of government are not politicised. Politisation if any, is guided by national interest, and not self interest.
6. Able to eliminate corruption and lackadaisical attitude towards work.
7. Established correct priorities in its pursuit to achieve what is best for its people. Have the best universities in the region, excellent health care, sparkling clean environment and an efficient public transport system.

Malaysia’s failures

1. Malaysia’s affirmative action had only caused considerable brain drain.
2. Politicians too preoccupied with its ‘Melayuness’ and the illusory ‘Ketuanan Melayu’.
3. Engross in useless mega iconic projects that does not bring real social and economic development, and that has no direct benefit to the masses. The various ‘development corridors’ launched by the government recently are example.
4. Political parties embroiled themselves in racial politics and with UMNO’s paranoia at losing political power.
5. Wealth is distributed to a selected few. Cronyism and nepotism is obvious and rampant.
6. Corruption, the root of all evil, is prevalent right up the highest level of government. Recent arrest of high level government officials are cases in point. This includes recent allegation of corrupt practises by top level politicians and ministers.
7. Has one of the most unwieldy cabinet and the quality of parliamentary debates speaks of the level of intelligence of its parliamentarians.
8. UMNO’s vested interest only benefitted a few and not the whole nation. Political patronage is a norm if one is to be successful in securing government contracts.
9. Development projects are aimed at enriching cronies.

Readers may agree or disagree with the above, but the fact remains that we have been left behind by our neighbour in all aspects of our daily lives. The question now is, can our new leaders of the post Abdullah Badawi era make changes that can narrow the gap between us and our closest neighbour? To this, we all have to wait and see.

Posted at 7.15 am on Oct 18,2008


maurice said...

The comparison is not entirely fair.

We have different sets of socio-economic-politico problems which Singapore does not have.

Our past leaders, in particular TDM have done extremely well to develop Malaysia to its present state of development which is the envy of many nations including Singapore!

captazhar said...

I would like to add more to the list is I may;

Malaysia makes excuses for all its failures, nothing is allowed to be discussed. Dissent is stifled under the blanket of the ISA.

On the other hand,

Singapore discusses its problems openly and intellectually. Failings are identified, action taken against those responsible, lessons learn documented and studied to ensure non-repetition.

maurice said...

I remember a few years back, Lee Kuan Yew wanted to see Malaysia's sucess story.So he asked to be driven to KL instead of travelling by air.

You can imagine the shock for him to see our super planned highways and well-kept greenery which is the envy of many developed country.

Anonymous said...

Everything is not lost for Malaysian anyway.To understand Singapore read up its Constitution and assimilate well before concluding that Malaysia is all negative.

I wouldnt advise any Malaysian to relinquish their citizenship if they feel Singapore is the best country to live in.However I wouldnt take this tiny island as our sample for comparison with our country, as I felt that there are other better countries in this world for us to emulate.

How do you like to pay a fine for not voting in an election,well this is what enshrined in Singapore Constitution.Luckily we dont have this proviso in our Constitution otherwise we will be paying to our grave as what THE Singaporean are doing,My understanding of Singapore is pay,pay,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Anonymous said...

What happen to our concept of "Malaysia boleh" has it gone to the cold freezer with the potential demise of existing leadership.Well, it should not be that way and I believe that nation building should be every Malaysian responsibility not only the dream of its leaders.It should be an unchanged policy like our nation building RMK policy, a continuous policy for the sake of all Malaysian.Leaders come and go ,the raayat shall remain focus for unchanged nation building policy which is a legacy of the previous leaders.

I think Tun M approach of nation building should be retained and not to be reviewed at the whim and fancy by the subsequent leaders just to satisfy their lust and purse fattening for cronies.Changes should be made when it is absolutely necessary as the people welfare and well being is the utmost important.

A well managed resources and economy will make us a prosperous nation which could be better than Singapore.We need an honest,dedicated,committed,transparent and truthful leaders to lead us to a better tomorrow.