A war between two ideologies

Updated version:


September 21, 2013

SEPT 21 — The Chinese have a saying that “if a leader succeeds, he will be hailed as a hero, but if a leader fails, he would be called a bandit.”

Both the late Tunku Abdul Rahman and Chin Peng actually fought for the same cause, that was to gain independence for the people of Malaya after the Second World War.

The difference was that they subscribed to different ideologies, and at that time, there was in fact a greater war being fought between those two ideologies.

While the Tunku subscribed to Western style democracy, and was instrumental in winning local elections and negotiating successfully with the British to grant independence to the country, Chin Peng chose another way. But his choice should be viewed within the context of that time.

Chin Peng, in fact, was honoured with an OBE during the Second World War for leading the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese army. This hero status was changed when his forces turned against the British to fight for the independence of Malaya. His OBE was withdrawn by the British authorities then.

Chin Peng’s fault was that he chose Communism as a vehicle for his struggle. Communism has proven to be a failed ideology, and most so-called communist states today are now adopting market economy.

I do not support Communism, nor do the majority of the people of Malaysia and the world at large. As an ideology, it has failed.

The threat then, however, was real. State after state fell to Communism at that time, and there was this domino theory that had most of the democratic nations worried.

In the end, it was their intrinsic ideological weakness in managing the economy that led to the demise of the whole Communist ideology. The two biggest Communist powers, China and Russia, have all turned to market economy and are practising a modified market economy.

But at that time, during the 50s and 60s, the Communists played up the sentiments of independence for the people against colonial powers, and many youngsters succumbed to this attraction, and joined the struggle not so much because of their belief or understanding in the ideology, but more for the struggle to push out the colonial powers.

As a result, all over South-east Asia, wars were being waged. In Korea, in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos Thailand and Malaysia, wars were being fought between the Communists (supported by the USSR and China) and the non-Communists (with the help of their Western allies). It was in fact an extension of the bigger war being fought between the Communist giants and the Western allies.

In wars, there are bound to be casualties and atrocities. While what the communists under Chin Peng did should not be condoned, it should be seen in the context of a war. Many innocents were killed. In fact, a prominent headmaster from my alma mater, Chung Ling HIgh School, was murdered by the Communists.

But in war, once there is a peace accord, both parties must look forwards and not backwards. As an example, once the Second World War ended, the US even helped to rebuild West Germany, and Japan.

Even China and Japan re-established ties and exchanged ambassadors. Malaysia, one of the countries occupied by Japan where thousands were killed and beheaded, also became friendly with post-war Japan.

Another example is the Cold War. All the fights in South-east Asia were actually an extension of the Cold War, a war between two major ideologies. Once the Cold War ended, the past was forgiven and bridges were quickly built between the former Communist states and the democratic world.

To bar Chin Peng’s return was understandable, even though it was against the spirit of the peace accord.

But once a person dies, there must be a closure to everything.

As a nation, while we should not forget about the past, we should not be obsessively vindictive too.

Furthermore, how are we going to enforce the ruling to prevent his ashes from coming into Malaysia?

So I would join in the chorus of appeal including those from Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng, a top police officer involved in the fight against Chin Peng and his people, to allow his ashes to come back to Malaysia.

Let us be magnanimous and forgiving as a nation and move forward.

– See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/hsu-dar-ren/article/a-war-between-two-ideologies#sthash.pxkdEirc.dpuf


The illegals

The ongoing exercise to weed out the illegal foreign workers is long overdue.

Despite being given more than 18 months to legalise their workers, many employers were dragging their feet and did not take advantage of the 6P scheme. Now that the government is taking action against these illegals, theses employers are asking for a stay and another chance. But a line has to be drawn somewhere, and I think the authority is right to crack down on the illegals.

Many of these are employed by locals. But many others have opened their own businesses and run stores and even shops. Many are involved in crime  taking advantage of the fact that officially, they do not exist.

Those doing business are competing directly with the locals, and make life tougher for local traders and businessmen.

Those involved in crime are making the crime situation going from bad to worse.

Many are carrying diseases and thus we now have a resurgence of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.  The illegals did not need to go through any health screen, so they are the main culprits in the spread and resurgence of these illnesses.

For those who genuinely need foreign workers to help their businesses,they can always apply officially and go through the official channels.  It is precisely because of our lax enforcement that many employers are emboldened to employ the illegals. Why go through many red tapes to get a legal worker when you can just hire  off the street?

Having said all these, I do hope that any crack down action should be done humanely and properly and according to our laws and standing regulations.  They should be weeded out, but they are also human beings and should be treated in a humane manner.

Actions should also be taken against those who bring in these illegals and those who knowingly harbour these illegals. Otherwise, once these illegals are sent back, they will get the help of these local contacts and come back here again, maybe with a different identity.

And dont forget those officers who knowingly close their eyes due to you-know-why..




More pain less gain!

I strongly believe that the recent petrol hike is just the beginning of many more painful measures going to be introduced by the government.

GST is coming. That will add a few percentage points to goods and services, making things more costly.

From what i gather, healthcare transformation is on the way too. It is just a matter of time that doctors would not be able to dispense medicine. Patients would have to see a doctor, get a prescription and have it filled at a pharmacy. This means higher treatment charge, which will be paid via a national healthcare fund.

There is also rumour that 1Care (the name may be changed since 1Malaysia is no longer the trending slogan) will be introduced. Under that , doctors will be allocated to patients, and each person above certain income level will have to pay monthly or yearly premium into a national fund which will reimburse the doctors and selected pharmacies  for treatment charges. Any wonder that a big pharmacy chain is now on a acquisition drive to acquire stand-alone pharmacies in preparation of this .

All these measures will be used to reduce federal deficits and the savings will enable government to have more money to spend on projects– in the Malaysian context, maybe more leakage and wastage to make everyone with good connections happy.

Ordinary people will have to rationalise their spending habits, buy only the essentials, plan their trips, tighten the belts until it can no longer be tightened. In a nutshell, we have to be prepared to downgrade our lifestyle.

Will salary for ordinary people go up? It depends how many illegals are caught and deported. These illegals have filled many of the job vacancies, and as a result, salary level for locals have not gone up much, despite cost of living escalating higher and higher.

With more development projects, the rich is going to become richer, and land prices will probably go up and up, and  owning a home is going to be more and more difficult.

For the well connected, there will indeed be “Endless possibilities”. For the politicians, urbanites are no longer important as long as they can get support from the rural areas, as witnessed in the just concluded GE.

For the ordinary in urban and suburban areas, life  will be more painful. These are why I have written that harder times are ahead of us in my last article.

I guess we may have to just swallow more painkillers!

Hard times ahead!

Petrol and diesel are going to cost more in a move to reduce subsidies and rein in budget deficits.

From the economic point of view, this might be a good move since a country’s financial health cannot survive prolonged deficits, which have to be funded by borrowings.

We have budget deficits for far too long and federal government borrowings have skyrocketed to about 54% of GDP at end of 2012.  This has resulted in Fitch Ratings’ move to downgrade Malaysia’s sovereign credit rating outlook to Negative from Stable.

So on the surface, we need to reduce deficit spending and a way of doing it is to reduce subsidy on petrol and diesel.

The question   is of course whether this is the only way to reduce subsidy.

Looking at how much big money are wasted through leakages and wastage, mainly as a result of corruption and abuses,  the government can certainly save billions if it has the will and resolve  to really tackle corrupt practices.

The problem   is that PM is not strong enough to do that. If he really pushes hard, he will antagonise most of the warlords holding the key to his re election in the coming party election. He too has too many skeletons in his closet. So with his weak position, he is really in a dilemma with regards to tackling wastage and leakages.

So he is choosing the easy way out. Just cut the petrol subsidy and save about 3 billions a year.

The billion dollar question: will this saving really go to reduce subsidy or will it be used for other big projects in order to please more warlords and gain support?  Will this be used to consolidate his position and win election? Nobody knows at this stage of course.

Another problem is the timing of the rise of petrol and diesel prices. Ringgit has depreciated against US dollars the last few months . Imported things may cost 10% more now compared to around May when exchange rate was then around 3 ringgit to a dollar. Now with the rise in petrol and diesel prices, transportation is going to cost more and this will translate to higher prices for goods and services. As a results of these, cost of living is going to go up further.

This comes at a time when economy is slowing down amidst uncertainties ahead.

With cost of living already very high, and many people unable to survive on their earnings, crime rate has gone up these few years.

So my last question is:  With another round of rise in cost of living pending, will more people find it  harder to survive?

Will crime rate go up further?