I would like to post excerpts from an article by Tunku Abdul Aziz on his maiden article for my sinchew published on 22-2-2208. Tunku Abdul Aziz used to write for NST and was formerly the president of Transparency International Malaysia.
For the full article , please go to mysinchew.
Two days ago, I had lunch with a parliamentarian and two senior bureaucrats from Germany on their first official visit to Kuala Lumpur. They came, they saw and were impressed with our capital city and the development they had seen so far as they travelled around KL and its environs
“Why is there all this flurry of activity to bring about a regime change when the government has brought so much prosperity to the country?” I must admit that for a while I was stumped for words. Why indeed!
Underneath all the glint, gleam and glitter of aluminium, stainless steel and plate glass lies a sad tale of greed and corruption, involving the political and bureaucratic elites who govern and administer this land. There will be official denials galore. Some years ago, Transparency International estimated, somewhat conservatively many thought, that Malaysian public infrastructure projects cost 30% more than they should. As far as political corruption is concerned, a major component of the ruling coalition has admitted that problem exists among its membership and the party is wrestling with it as best it can.
The real issue here is not just how well we have done, but, more to the point, how much better we would have succeeded in all aspects of national development and social integration if we had adopted policies that were fair for all. For example, much of the sense of marginalisation felt by certain ethnic groups as well as the rural poor could have been avoided had more thought been given to the needs of our citizens irrespective of race or creed. Instead, for much post-Merdeka period, we spent our time and energy on implementing policies that have tended to divide rather than unite us.
As we sipped coffee towards the end of the meal, I made my final observation that material progress measured in economic terms alone was no substitute for an incorruptible regime that put great store by sound ethical governance principles and practices. My German friends left, I hope, with a better understanding why the well-fed people of this strange country wanted more than bread to sustain them in their relentless quest for a new Malaysia that is grounded on democratic principles, justice and equality for all. Therein lies the soul of a country.
The time is different now. People want more than just bread and food.
People want good governance, transparency, better usage of our resources; people aspire for better quality of life, a life that gives them more freedom and the rights to live this freedom; people want to feel safe , from thugs, from corrupt officials, from bullying little napoleon, and ironically from some of the enforcement people; people want their tax money to be used properly and not into the pockets of certain individuals; people want quality education for their children; people want the ability to seek justice and that justice dispensed by court is just and fair.
IT is true that the standard of living has gone up since the 50s… But what about South Korea, Taiwan,Singapore and Hong Kong, which were either same as us or behind us. These have gone much further ahead.
Most important of all, after 51 years, we have not been better united. If anything, we are more divided and more polarised, along racial and along religious lines.
I will end this article by quoting the title of Tunku Abdul Aziz’s article, “man does not live by bread alone”!!