Monday, January 31, 2011

Dr M: Malaysia is more democratic than Singapore

I know I’ll be banging my head against a steel-reinforced wall when I say I agree with Dr Mahathir’s statement wakakaka, as reported in The Malaysian Insider:

Malaysia was a more democratic country than Singapore, and argued that the island republic’s “disciplined” image was at the expense of the freedom of its citizens.

Dr Mahathir had said the reason why Malaysians were not as disciplined as Singaporeans was because Malaysia did not resort to extreme measures in governing the country.

Now, don’t confuse the non-corruptibility of the Singapore government with greater democracy. There’s no denying that on a scale of 1 to 10 for non-corruptibility (with 10 being excellent), Singapore as one of the 3 top national authorities in the world to be 'cleanest', the Island State certainly merits a 10.

Alas, I am far too embarrassed to rate Malaysia at all. The corruption of the government and its agencies is just pathetic, and worse, with the lil’ Napoleons (officials) not ashamed of or even arrogant in their malfeasance.

But when it comes to democratic practices, Malaysia, warts and all, is by far superior. Mind you, it's just relative.

The reason for this seeming incongruity is that a long long time ago, LKY and his cabinet decided for a Singapore without any resources other than its people, and which aspires to survive by becoming a financial centre, not just of the region but one of the tops in the world, and a shipping, trading, commercial etc centre, it has to be absolutely squeaky clean, a bastion of law and order and super efficient in every which way to assure, motivate and encourage foreign investments and the use of the island as their regional base.

LKY being LKY, intellectually arrogant as a father-who-knows-best for his Sing children went about ruthlessly achieving that status. Any namby pamby opposition would be crushed if they stand in his way towards achieving this planned status. And just as an example of its assurance to western investors that law & order would be its hallmark, many years ago it even allowed western lawyers to practise in Singapore. Another step in its wish to be a serious global competitor was its non-nationalistic policy of (deliberately) having foreign (orang putih) pilots in SIA, because this would provide assurance to the much needed orang putih passengers.

Malaysia was at its economic peak when we had Dr Mahathir as the PM. Now, did he go about ensuring a Malaysia that was squeaky clean, a bastion of law and order and super efficient in every which way?

I think in some ways, the abundance of our non-human resources has lulled him and his government into neglect in the above fields. Why bother whether foreign investors want to come or not? They can f*-off if they didn’t like our style of government. Result? A typical example in stark contrast to the Sing's practice was our very own amazing Adorna shame, where the judiciary and the ruling it passed disgracefully supported fraud and wholesale cheating.

Of course it cannot be denied that the Malaysian government always have a far more difficult job to do than the Sing’s. There’s social engineering to consider, as in the various reincarnations of the NEP and its various permutations in the implementation. Also, there are far too many political warlords to appease.

Additionally, Dr Mahathir was personally driven by an obsessed fear, that the Malays won’t be masters in their own land. I have a lot of sympathy for his fear but I think his tactics to address this fear (his strategy) were flawed. Yes, his strategy was noble but his tactics weren't.

One of his tactics was to choose a bunch of Malay entrepreneurs to fast track achievement of his strategy, but those wonders let him down, humongously. He compounded the flaw by not getting rid of them. Instead he molly coddled them, and they responded by going into greater disasters. He allowed his fear to blind him into not seeing his chosen ones were far from qualified for the roles he assigned to, or provided for them. His generals let him down badly in the field.

Coming to democracy, because of a ‘relat lah’ attitude, unlike LKY’s uptight don’t-f*-around-with-father-knows-best mentality, I dare say that was what made Malaysia far more democratic in many ways than Singapore.

But as I said, don’t confuse Singapore’s super-duper efficiency and non-corruptibility with greater democracy.

8 comments:

  1. "Additionally, Dr Mahathir was personally driven by an obsessed fear, that the Malays won’t be masters in their own land. I have a lot of sympathy for his fear ..."

    Doesn't this justify NEP or at least something like it? And from a Chinese even. Not a criticism, just to trigger more comments from non-Malays to get a feel how widespread this sympatgy is.

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  2. I am in support of the NEP in its true pristine form of affirmative action, to help support/uplift the marginalized and poor Malays on an asset-tested basis, but not as an ethnic privilege (like those for the White Afrikans or White Rodesians during the Apartheid and Ian Smith's regimes respectively) to gouge the national kitty box, e.g. like the discount for houses above RM500,000 (why should a person who can afford a house worth MORE than RM500,000 require a discount?) Why should big contracts be untendered? If the govt wants to help bumis, at least tender the contracts openly among bumis, otherwise the process only benefits UMNO cronies (including Chinese cronies)

    The NEP could also have been extended to other marginalized groups. Additionally the NEP can be a means to train deserving and competent Malays to world standards, and not be an excuse to reduce standards as we've seen in our local (to use a Dr M word) half-past-six universities.

    I'm very understanding of Dr M's fears that Malays won't be among the economic leaders of Malaysia. It would appear that Dr M didn't and still doesn't have confidence in his own Malay people, hence he deemed his social engineering necessary, still is today. But what he did wrong was he picked some untrusty and incompetent ones to groom as leaders. They let him and his scheme, the payung concept, down; he also failed to sack them when the situations called for those hopeless incompetents to be sacked.

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  3. In response to KTemoc's reply. That's the problem with the DAP. Their view on race is too uncompromising. If they conceded as much as what you are saying here, they would be getting far more Malay support (high-ranking elected Malay office-holders would help too).

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  4. " am in support of the NEP in its true pristine form of affirmative action, to help support/uplift the marginalized and poor Malays on an asset-tested basis, but not as an ethnic privilege"

    How is this different from affirmative action tout court? I'm afraid what you are sympathizing with is not the same thing that Malays lose sleep over.

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  5. It is no use to compare your level of democracy with another member of the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN) Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Loas, Indonesia, Philippines,Thailand,Singapore,
    Vietnam. I do not have to explain to readers what is happening in these countries.Comparison of the level and standard of democracy with these countries could only at be termed as a race to the bottom. We are Malaysia, and for the first 30 years of our independence benchmarked our level of democracy with many developed countries in the commomwealth. And I know that at time time other developing countries including members of ASEAN, including Singapore, were looking to emulate our commitment to democratic principles. But today the man responsible for the steady decline of our democratic instituions, the Judiciary, the PDRM, and the Civil Service, wants to compare our level and standard of democracy with Singapore.Yes Sir Harry Lee has taken Singapore from a per capita income of
    S$440.00 in 1966 to S$ 44,000.00 today. But man does not live on per capita income alone. They will soon realise that, just as the Koreans did, economic advancement must be accompanied with the development of the freedoms of the individual. Our creativity and innovation is a direct product of the freedoms we enjoy.I hope that the leaders of ASEAN, including Malaysia and Singapore will realise sooner rather than later that you cannot expect the GDP to grow continuously if the freedoms of the individual are restricted through the elborate and sometimes subtel use of the state security apparatus.The growing middle class will only accept a government that is not only perceived to be fair but in actual fact is fair.

    Strong institutions of government are the bedrock of a stable democracy because it is from that the our freedoms are protected and enhanced to enable each and every citizen to be creative , innovative and the best he can be. This is not difficult to understand. Apart from economic reasons people still emigrate form reatively well to do countries to nations that allows them the freedom to be creative without the undue interference of the state.Good governence means less government.

    I personally would like to appeal to Yang Amat Arif TDM to urge the present crop of leaders to restore the institutions of government in our country to the level that he found it when he came to power in the early 80s.That, Yang Amat Arif Tun, will be your place in the history of this great nation.Thank You.

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  6. ..... "would like to appeal to Yang Amat Arif TDM to urge the present crop of leaders to restore the institutions of government in our country to the level that he found it...."

    This Amat Arif is totally beyond such appeal. In order to fix something broken, one must first acknowledge it is broken, no ? One would have a better chance seeing the sun rising from the west than to see this "Most Honorable" restoring the institutions of govt back to its rightful level.

    As for being 'more democratic' than the little dot in the south, just perish this thought. If the MPs and their cohort of warlords and little napoleons and parasitic civil staff are half as efficient and intelligent as the their counterparts in Singapore, they will definately be as equally efficiently ruthless in 'suppressing' its own citizens. More so when these half witted incompetents are not busily distracted with their own michaevilllian manouevering fighting among themselves, jostling for first placing on the gravy train.

    It is hardly the case they are more noble than than our neighbour in the south by 'allowing' more democracy to the people.Most of the time, they lost grip of the situation through sheer incompetency and lazy-thinking. But their deadly and ruthless desire to control and suppress is nevertheless intact...check the ISA, Printing Act, OSA, and all the rest of the Acts.

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  7. MALAYSIA WEATHER IS BETTER THAN SINGAPORE
    BECAUSE MALAYSIA HAVE A LOT OF RAINFOREST

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