Another Inconvenient Truth

For those who have not read my post about the Inconvenient truth yesterday which was listed in Malaysiakini blog corner, , you are advised to read it first before reading this post. By the way, yesterday’s post received tremendous response and was one of the top posts in

planet-earth.jpgAnother Inconvenient truth…..

This one is about our cake. Our economic cake.

In the early sixties, just after our independence, our Malaysian cake was about 3 times the size of the Korean cake, despite having a smaller population.

In the early 80s, the Korean cake has caught up with us and was about the same size as our cake, but per capita wise, each of us still eat more cake than the Korean because we have a smaller population.

In 2006, the Korean cake has become 4 times as big as our cake. Despite their population being much bigger than us, each Korean now eats more cake than each Malaysian.

What went wrong?

If we care to stop and ponder for a while, the reason is very simple.

It is because our politicians are too engrossed in how to divide the cake rather than how to expand the cake.

If from the start, our emphasis has been on how to expand the cake, like the Koreans, we would have maintain our lead over the Koreans, and each of us now would have a much bigger cake to eat.

If we have been busy expanding our cake, we could have reached first world status by now. Our per capita cake share would have reached the standard of the first world, and all of us, regardless of race, would be much richer.

We could have afforded better education for our kids, we could have afforded better housing, we could have afforded better transport system, better healthcare and the list would go on and on…..

The government would have bigger cake too, which means that there would be more money to help the poor, both rural and urban; more money to give scholarships for children of the poor, irregardless of colour; more money to build more schools, more colleges and universities.

Sometimes, we need to look further ahead rather than just look at the things in front of our eyes. If we have been more farsighted , all of us would have been rewarded with abigger share of cake by now.

The inconvenient truth that has caused our cake to grow slower than the Koreans, the Hongkies, the Singaporeans is very simply this: we have been too engrossed in dividing the cake rather than expanding the cake.

We know this inconvenient truth, both the politicians and the people. Are we like the second category of patients mentioned in my post yesterday who are in a self denial state?

The questiion is :

Are we bold enough to face this inconvenient truth, change our tactic and try to concentrate on expanding the cake rather than dividing the cake? This surely needs the political will of a leadership that does not just think of votes but rather the well beings of the country.

related post:

The third inconvenient truth


The Inconvenient Truth

planet-earth.jpg The inconvenient truth -the Big C…

When a patient is told that he has a malignant disease, typically there would be one of these 3 types of responses.

The first group will just take it in their stride and then become proactive in learning about the disease, following  the doctor’s presciption for treatment, changing his life style and diet, and start to fight back against the cancer. Often , this type of patients do very well, and many of them, if the initial stage is not too advanced, overcome the malignancy and become a healthy person again. Because of the positive lifestyle change, he may even live longer and healthier than otherwise.

The second type will go into a denial syndrome….. bad things only happen to other people, bad things don’t happen to good people….this cannot be true…this doctor is no good…..the lab makes a mistake…anyway, no symptoms yet.. cannot be true ….  

Often they do not even inform the family members and just live day by day… hoping that their self denial will make the disease go away .  By the time end stage symptoms develop and they have no choice but to seek treatment, because of pain or obstruction , the cancer is beyond treatment.

The third group is the timid and pessimistic type. They become depressed with self pity, leave whatever decision to their family , and passively follow treatment and blame their fate for the illness. The outcome often depends on the type of family members he/she has.

To the second group,  getting cancer is an “Inconvenient Truth”. Just hope for the best and leave everything alone and hope that the truth will never bother them… or that the truth will never be known.

The third group is not willing to face the  truth either but at least , they have a fighting chance depending on the people around them..people up in the fourth second floor.

The same can be said of the ills in a country, and Corruption is the mother of all ills. 

Corruption to a country is like cancer to a person…. it spreads and becomes extensive if not treated.

We know there is corruption in the police force as determined by the Royal Commission of Police a few years back. We also know that the Commission also recommended the treatment –  the setting up of an IPCMC. 

The diagnosis is there, the prescription is there… but we act as if we belong to the second category of patients….We are in a self denial mode… Bad things cannot happen here lah… so far we are OK lah…why rock the boat…. We will survive lah… There is no corruption lah….. 

We deny the inconvenient truth.

When finally we realise our folly and have to face the inconvenient truth,  the ills of corruption will have spread beyond every nook and corner-  it will be beyond cure!

Anyway, as a person trained in treatment of diseases, It really does not make sense to me that if the diagnosis is known and the prescription given, why is there a delay in instituting the treatment?

Why are we waitng??

The longer we wait, the worse will be the prognosis.

Show the will…fight back against cancer  crime… Set up the IPCMC.

(Post script — Some time back , there was a letter to Malaysiakini written by blogger Ktemoc asking that there be a trade off of giving an amnesty for the setting up of an ICAC IPCMC… I ask myself…Why not? As long as it is good for the future of the country. I also believe in giving more carrots– if the performance is good after the setting up of an ICAC IPCMC, we should seriously think of giving the lower rank officers more pay… by then we could have saved a lot as we don’t have to use  private patrols , private guards and so on…. most importantly, we don’t have to pay into someone else’s pockets.)

Recommended readings: 

 Another inconvenient truth

The third inconvenient truth

Do we have the will?

Combating crime

Excellence -have we lost the urge?

All Men are Brothers

After my previous 2 posts came out in Malaysiakini blogger’s corner, a comment on “about myself ” page caught my attention last night. The writer, calling himself James McDougal has this to say:

If God wanted us all to be Chinese and Indians he would have made the whole world India and China. But he in his wisdom also made Malaysia with Malays as the dominant race with entitlements and benefits given any majority anywhere.

This is what I replied last night:

It does not really matter whether I am a Chinese or you a Malay or indian. Race should not be a consideration at all in a fair and just society. Call me an idealist, but that is what I really believe.
Any person who is weak, irregardless of race, must be helped. But we must give a chance for all to develop their talents and skills, which can only be done by giving them fair competition. Otherwise, how are we going to compete against the outside world?

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that in every religion, the teaching is God never treats the people differently. In the eyes of God, irrespective of whatever faith you believe, there is no such thing as a dominant race. God of course differentiates between the Strong and the Weak, and the strong is supposed to help the weak. This is universal value.

What we need is a policy which helps the weak, irrespective of race. We need to help those living below poverty line, both urban and rural. Those who are already quite well off we should let them face the same challenges and competition.

One person who has done a lot to help the really poor is the 2006 Nobel Prize winner DR. Muhammad Yunus ( a name sake of our local blogger Naked Truth), a Bangladeshi, who started a Bank to give micro-credit to people living below poverty lines without collateral. He has since helped uplift thousands and thousands of people from absolute poverty . If one person can do so much, imagine what a government can do.

What we need is less politics and more work.

I would also like to repost an adaptation of an earlier article which I wrote many months back:

We are sailing in the same boat:

One of my earlier postings in this blog “Buck up to prevent being marginalised” was posted in the newsgroup soc.culture.malaysia on 19th November. It received about 40 comments by now.I would like to single out one comment which I think is totally irrational.

One person called “Othm” commented that “we would prefer to live up the coconut tree, rather than to have the chinamen, indiamen, matsalleh control my country”.

I think this comment is totally nonsensical and irrational and does not represent majority of the people. It is the comment of an ignorant person perhaps. Those who think ahead and who care for the country will not have uttered such comment.

It is like a child who is behaving emotionally with a ” If I don’t get it, I destroy it” type of mentality.

First of all, we are all Bangsa Malaysia. We are in the same boat. If the boat sails well, everyone will be get good rewards. If, one the other hand, the boat sinks, everyone will be drowned. In order to sail well, everyone in the boat must cooperate and work together. The weaker ones in the boat may be given more and the stronger ones may be asked to contribute more. These are all agreed upon. But some form of fairness must also prevail in order to make everyone happy and work hard in the boat.

Secondly, there is no such entities as chinamen and indiamen as all of us are Chinese Malaysian, Indian Malaysian and so on.

Thirdly , the Chinese Malaysian and Indian Malaysian are not going to control the country since they are in the minority. Whatever they earn, they spend in the country and everyone benefits from their spendings. They also pay tax to central govenment and local authorities. The tax revenue helps to fund development, maintain schools, hospitals, parks, roads, subsidise food and petrol, pay the salary of civil servants and police, and enable rubbish to be collected. Besides, they contribute as much in nation building as any other people.

Fourthly, these Chinese Malaysian and Indian Malaysian are born and bred here. This is the only country they know since birth. As with their Malay Malaysian counterparts, this is their only boat.

In fact, every human being is the same. We actually descend from the same ancestors who many hundred thousand years ago moved out from Africa and settled all over the world. The different habitat and evolving cultures may have changed the outer appearance, but if you look inside every human, everything is similar.

So, I ask all my boatmates to think ahead and cooperate with each other. The socially and physically more fortunate must help the socially and physically less fortunate. Other than that, everyone should be kind and fair to the others. No one then would have to stay up in the coconut trees.

Size does not matter

Some time back, there was an article in Malaysiakini quoting a politician saying that Singapore is not a country, it is an Island.

This, taken in the context of our protest against the EC envoy, Mr Rommel, shows a sorrowful display of arrogance, ignorance and double standard.

First of all, despite being an island, Singapore is acknowledged to be a country by every member of the United Nations, by virtual of its membership in the organisation.
By having mutual exchange of HIgh Commissioner, our government has also recognised the fact that Singapore is a sovereign nation.

A country needs not be of a big size. As long as it has sovereignty , it is a country. If only size matters, then in the eyes of China, India and USA , perhaps we may not qualify  to be a country.

Secondly, when an envoy gives a remark about our NEP, with the good intention of trying to help us to be more competitive, we scream at the envoy and complain that he has stepped over the line. We are however, permitted to make derogatory remarks about Singapore not being a country… This I think is clearly a case of Malaysians practicing double standard. ” Those who stay in glass houses must not throw stones”…. remember what our English teachers taught us?

Singapore has a small population but its economy is no smaller than Malaysia. According to IMF figures, the 2006 GDP (nominal) of Malaysia is US 150 billion, and GDP for Singapore is US 139 Billion. This is despite the fact that we have about 5 to 6 times the population of Singapore.

I do not agree with a lot of the policies in Singapore, but where credit is due, we must give credit. The people are very competitive, the government has the political will to push through things, the politician and civil servants are very clean, the education facilities are first class. Above all, they practice true meritocracy.

Just to think that we started at the same time.

All is not lost. We can still catch up if we have the will to change.

Review NEP; Practice meritocracy; rule with good governance; deal harshly with corruptions; review education system; free the economy…

we can do it.

recommended reading:

Glass Houses – do not over react

Update on glass houses – do not over react

Following my earlier post “Glass Houses – do not over react”, the EC ambassador was called to Wisma Putra to meet with the Deputy Sec Gen of Ministry of Foriegn affairs, according to the update in Malaysiakini .

This is an over reaction, in my opinion. I feel sad.

In the mean time, in a letter to Malaysiakini,  Dr Lim Teck Ghee  asked the government to come out with a point by point rebuttal. He is of the opinion that we Malaysian should thank Rommel, the EC envoy, for highlighting this problem.

For those who has not read my earlier post, when I call the leaders not to over react, I strongly recommend that you please go to this link: glass houses – do not over react.

Glass Houses – do not over react!

After the spate of protests from Malaysian leaders against the recent remarks of the EC envoy Thierry Rommel, which was reported in Malaysiakini and also my earlier article “A clarion call from an envoy” , I went to the EC website to read through his whole speech again. Those who wish to read his whole speech can go to this link.

I find that as a representative of the EC, he is just voicing out his concern about policies that hinder the trade and investment climate for EC investors and businessmen.

He hits out at the NEP, because the implementation of this policy has created uneven playing fields –  in which the EC investors and businessmen are facing obstacles not unlike trade barriers. The competitiveness of our people has also gone down and this too  affect those from EC who invest or operate businesses in this countries.

When their interests are being affected, it is only natural that we expect them to voice out.

I feel that we should not over-react.

Global trade is like playing games. When 2 persons are playing a game, there is certain rules to be followed. If one side is deemed to play at an unfair advantage, then naturally the other side will cry foul.  We can stop playing; in which case, we will be out of the global trade circuit. If we want to continue playing the game, we must take stock in the criticism and see whether there is any basis in the criticism.

This also reminds me of  a basic human principle. When we are being criticised as a person, we should not over-react. We should instead ponder carefully whether such criticism has any basis, whether we can improve further and be a better person, and whether the person who criticise us is doing that for our future well beings. If so, we should instead thank the person who criticises us for helping us to be a better person.

Indulgent parents always bring up badly behaved children. Parents who take other people’s advice and be strict but fair with their children will find that their children stand a much better chance of succeeding in life. The same principle can always be extrapolated to our society  and our policies. The same basic principle can be used to shore up our competitiveness.

Furthermore, being a member of the globalised world is like staying in a glass house. All those countries who trade with each other or investing in each other are all like those staying in glass houses.

Any misbehaviour will be seen by other people. If we don’t want people to throw stones at our glass house, we should behave according to the rules set up by the globalised world such as the various Trade agreements  as well as the Declaration of Human Rights, in which we are signatories . By signing these agreements, we are actually accepting the fact that we will be staying in a glass house and subjecting to other people’s scrutiny.

Finally, we should ask ourselves, did we or did we not also throw stones at other people’s houses (other countries) before,  by criticising their trade policies, land rights policies, rice subsidies policies, human rights accord, racial policy etc..

If we do, then we have no moral right at all to ask people not to criticise us.

Please also read:

Time to give up the NEP -Tun Musa Hitam   

The unlikely voice of Malaysia’s New Malays”

How to win back the urban Chinese votes

The good, the bad and the Ugly (50 posts to Independence)

A true story of a Malay Entrepreneurship

Combating crimes

The Johore crime situation is getting the limelight lately thanks to the reporting in the various newspapers and Malaysiakini .

As a result, the government has deployed an additional 300 policemen to Johore Baru and surrounding areas to combat the increasing unsafe situation. This is good news to the JB residents. Any increase in police presence will help the situation, but to ensure a crime free JB, this alone is not enough.

It is often stated that our police is shorthanded and that the ratio to population is too wide for the police to be effective.

Is that so?

We have a police force of about 90000 men against a population fo about 26 million, which works out to a ratio of 1:288 police:population. Which is really not too bad, considering that in most advanced country, the ratio is around there and a ratio of 1:250 is considered very good.

I think what we need here is to increase the efficiency and morale of the police force.

The police is very much underpaid, especially the lower ranking officers and ordinary policemen. Hopefully , with the increase in pay from July onwards , the police morale can be better . If each policeman can, after the pay rise, contribute a 20% increase in work rate and efficiency, then the crime situation not only for JB, but the whole nation would be very much improved.

I would like to suggest a few points to improve the general efficiency and image of the police force:

1. Police must gain the confidence of the public. Public respect and approval of police will go along way to ensure public cooperation of the police force.

2. In order to gain the public approval, police force must be friendly, people orientated; there must be no abuse of power, no unnecessary use of force, and no corruption.

3. This can be achieved by having a institution like the proposed IPCMC, or as I have advocated always an ICAC, to oversee that there is no abuses or misconducts and to investigate any reports of corruptions.

4. retraining of the police force in batches to ensure the impartiality and professionalism of the force. The force must be seen as courteous, responsive and helpful in order to gain the trust and cooperation of ordinary citizens

5. strict adherence to police guidelines when carrying out is duty.

Specifically, for the  prevention of crime, we need to:

1. have more patrols especially in crime prone areas. This should include police going on beats, bicycle and motorcycle patrols,

2. education of the public regarding crime prevention. School programs to educate the younger generations like the school students have proved to be successful in many countries, especially in reducing drug addictions and petty crime.

3. Community program like neighbourhood watch. The rakan cop program is a good start.

4. increase efficiency by reducing response time to a crime areas. Response time should be as short as possible, and that’s means good communication and effective liaison between those in the base and those on the street.

5. replace outdated equipment and give the police the most modern and sophiticated tools they need.

6. Set up community police bases so that in each community, there will be a police base manned by a few policemen who will be “friends” to the residents.

7. Adopt a mechanism to link the crime rate and the promotion of an officer in charge of a specific base or section.

The primary duty of the police force is to ensure safety of the people and maintain order and peace. It is one of the most important institutions in the country.

As such, if the police force can effectively reduce the crime rate and improve its general image, then we should consider raising further the pay and living conditions of the lower ranking officers and the ordinary policemen.

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