Malaysia aspires to be a developed nation in 12 years time, which is not that far away . But do our policies favour achieveing that goal of a developed nation? If not, ask ourselves, do we really aspire to be developed?
Developed countries, as most people know it, are countries that have a high level of income. But, does a high per capita income qualify a country to be developed? Countries in middle East which are high income countries with very high GDP per capita are not considered as developed. To be acknowledged by the world community that a country has achieved a developed status takes more than a high per capita income…
Developed nations have certain characteristics. Firstly, most of them are in the temperate zones. Practically all are deomcracies, where everyone is equal under the law.. Most have very low corruption levels. Most have a highly educated population and intelligent workforce. Most have efficient police force and independent Judiciary. ALmost all have good education systems, producing very sound and thinking individuals. Almost all practise meritocracy which leads to excellence in most fields. ALmost all have high level of religious freedom.
Ask ourselves truthfully, do we have any of these characteristics? Do our policies favour the development of these characteristics? We had some of these in the sixties and seventies. Then, our education system was one of the best in aSIA. Our students going overseas used to top universities and colleges overseas. Many of them have become famous personalities in the countries they chose to stay back. ( See the comments on my earlier post on Brain Drain).
But we can in fact achieve all these except perhaps the climate zone. We are in the tropics but climate really does not matter so much with all the airconditioning and scientific advances. If we have the will, we will succceed. But how to achieve this?
Promote people of high integrity into positions capable of making a change. People holding positions like Judges, police officers , enforcement officers, ministers , department heads etc must be of high integrity and must not only be fair and clean but must be seen as fair and clean. For the future of the nation and our posterity, positions must be filled irrespective of race or creed, but must be based on the person’s record and merits. Civil service must be open to all races so that there is a much bigger pool of talents to be chosen from.
The government must do away with the unwritten rule that only people of certain race/cables can be the heads of departments or committees or councils… This unwritten rule is archaic and is an impediment to advances in knowledge as well as economy. We need the best to come forward to serve the people. So instead of growing a meagre 4 to 5 % a year, with the best people in charge , we could have achieved a growth of 9-10%. With this policy, our people will no more have any barriers based on race and religions, and a truly united country can emerge. Our children and our children’s children , irrespective of race or creed, will live better than in the case of continuing the present race based policy.
If we can achieve that, then even if we do not call ourselves a developed nation, the whole world will recognise us as such….