If Malaysia history is a book titled “RAHMAN”, today marks the end of the Chapter A, and we are now turning to the page titled “N”.
In a democracy, when there is a change of new leader, the people normally would have high expectations and hope for change.
On this occasion, however, I have a sense of foreboding. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Deja Vu, that new leaders on assuming power would have lots of promises; but as shown in the past, very often, these promises were mere rhetoric and what was promised seldom got carried out…
I have mentioned that I do not expect any real reforms , especially in the areas of more liberty and the fight against corruption, politics of patronage and money politics, but I will be most gladto have myself proved wrong.
Since it is a fact that we are now turning into a new chapter N, as ordinary people, we could not do much to alter it until of course the next general election.. So we have to hope for the best, and I have hoped that this new leader can prove me wrong .
The most pressing thing to tackle — apart from the poor governance , the loss of excellence in all fields, the corruptions and the crime situation– is of course the economy.
We are already into recession, as I see it.. What we can do is to try to move out of it as rapidly as we can, and in the meantime try to alleviate the effects of the recession on the people..
This recession will probably result in the re-thinking of the concept of globalisation of the world… US is trying to spend its way out of the recession, and if it succeeds, it will have no choice but tackle the problem of its huge deficits, and the debts it incurs over the past decade. It would probably erect certain trade barriers to cut import, otherwise, we can also look forward to see the dollars slowly losing its strength against other currencies.
If US cuts import, the Asian economy that depends on export will be hit. These includes the tigers and the sang kancils.. We will all have to rethink of strategy to try to change our economic models… Probably from a centre of off-shoring manufacturing-based on cheaper labour, , to a higher tech and innovative based economy which has a niche in certain fields..
To move up to a higher tech and innovative economy, we need people that are well educated, English competent, knowledge-based, analytical-minded and liberal . Are we producing enough of these? The answer, sadly, is no. Even if we can overhaul the education system and start producing these people, it would take at least another 2 decades before we can see real results.
Malaysia however has a ready pool of talented people. Unfortunately, these are now overseas , contributing to the economies of other countries.
In fact if these people who are now working overseas do come back, we will never be short of innovation, since many of those overseas are top-rated scientists, economists who are so much sought after and courted by the people overseas.
To have even 10% of these coming back would be a big plus to the country. But in order to attract these people, we must alter our whole concept of being Malaysians. There cannot be 2 sets of rules anymore, one for the elites and one for the common people.
For the world economy, protectionism may rear its ugly head again, if US decides on cutting deficits. And with that , FDi can be expected to reduce… With the reducing FDI being courted by most of the developing countries, we need to have certain attractions to attract them, as in the case of attracting back the overseas Malaysians..
We must have policies that provide a fair and level field for everyone. We must have policies that are open and just. We must have policies that make all Malaysians feel wanted. We must have policies that do not discriminate any one , not on ethnicity, not on religious faith and not on social class.
So, adjustment to certain affirmative policies must be made… The only affirmative action that the whole world would accept is to have it based on ‘needs”and nothing else. The hard core poor must be helped, but other than that, free market polices must be encouraged for us to be competitive and be attractive to FDI..There must be a level playing field for all people..
English as a subject must be re-emphasized.
There must be a fair and independent judiciary to protect and arbitrate fairly any dispute that might arise from business agreement, without which,private sector, as well as foreign investors, would think twice to put money here.
Can the new chapter bring us all these? or will this be the last chapter of the book and a new book would come out in the next GE?