At 84, the fire still burns!
In midst of deepening troubles, a Malaysian blogs about
Singapore's leader who is nearing his 50th year (2009) in
office. By Ahmad Mustapha
Jul 31, 2008
Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore’s
founding father, has always been very direct in his comments.
was the man who outsmarted the communists in Singapore (with
the innocent help of Malaya then and the willing help of
the British) and who later outwitted the British and outpaced
Malaysia in all spheres.
practices corrupt-free meritocracy and Malaysia affirmative
action. The former attracted all the best brains and the
latter chased out all the brains.
Singapore cabinet consists of dedicated and intelligent
technocrats whereas Malaysia has one the most unwieldy cabinets.
Not only that, brain wise it was below par not even good
for the kampong.
that kind of composition, one that is very brainy, naturally
Singapore, with no natural resources could outstrip Malaysia
in every aspect of development.
on the other hand, was too much preoccupied with its Malayness
and the illusory ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ and was also
more interested in useless mega iconic development rather
than real social and economic development.
Kuan Yew utters anything that deemed to be a slight on Malaysia,
voices were raised admonishing him. Malaysia would never
dare to face reality.
That Singapore had shown that it could survive was a slap
on those who believed that Singapore would fold up once
it left Malaysia .
it was natural that these doomsayers would try to rationalise
their utterances to be in their favour to combat on whatever
Kuan Yew commented. Its political jealousy.
achieved its development status without any fanfare. But
here in Malaysia, a development that was deceptive was proclaimed
as having achieved development status. It was trumpeted
as an achievement that befits first world status.
was self delusion. Malaysians are led to believe into a
make believe world, a dream world. The leaders who themselves
tend to believe in their own fabricated world did not realise
the people were not taken in by this kind of illusion.
Kuan Yew believed in calling a spade a spade. I was there
in Singapore when the People’s Action Party won the
elections in 1959.
forthright in his briefing to party members as to what was
expected of them and what Singapore would face in the future.
I did not agree with him. We in the University of Malaya
Socialist Club had a different interpretation of socialist
reconstruction. But he was a pragmatist and wanted to bring
development and welfare to the Singaporeans. Well! He succeeded.
was so much embroiled in racial politics and due to the
fear of losing political power, all actions taken by the
main party in power was never targeted towards bringing
wealth to all. Wealth was distributed to the chosen few
were the cronies and the backers of the party leadership
to perpetuate their own selfish ends.
the efficiency and the progress achieved by Singapore caused
the Malaysian leadership to suffer from an inferiority complex.
That Malaysia should suffer from this complex was of its
recent interview, Kuan Yew said that Malaysia could have
done better if only it treated its minority Chinese and
Indian population fairly.
they were completely marginalised and many of the best brains
left the country in drove. He added that Singapore was a
standing indictment to what Malaysia could have done differently.
He just hit the nail right there on the head.
recently celebrated its 50th year of independence with a
bagful of uncertainties. The racial divide has become more
number of Malay graduates unemployed is on the increase.
And this aspect can be very explosive. But sad to see that
no positive actions have been taken to address these social
excuses were given by Malaysian leaders why Singapore had
far outstripped Malaysia in all aspects of social and economic
advancement. Singapore was small, they rationalised and
therefore easy to manage. Singapore was not a state but
merely an island.
was one other aspect that Malaysia practises and that is
to politicise all aspects of life. All government organs
and machinery were ‘UMNO-ised’. This was to
ensure that the party will remain in power.
there was this misconception by the instruments of government
as to what national interest is and what UMNO vested interest
vested interest only benefited a few and not the whole nation.
But due to the UMNO-isation of the various instruments of
government, the country under the present administration
had equated UMNO vested interest as being that of national
Thus development became an avenue of making money and not
for the benefit of the people. The fight against corruption
took a back seat.
was put on hold. And the instruments of government took
it to be of national interest to cater to the vested interest
of UMNO. Enforcement of various enactments and laws was
a ‘palace’ in Kelang, APs cronies and close-one-eye
umno MPs could exist without proper procedure. Corruption
infested all govt departments, the worse is the police and
lately even in the judiciary.
did not politicise its instruments of government. If ever
policisation took place, it is guided by national interest.
To be efficient and to be the best in the region was of
all the elements like corruption, lackadaisical attitude
towards work and other black elements, which would retard
such an aim, were eliminated.
naturally had placed the right priority in it’s pursuit
to achieve what is best for its people. This is the major
difference between these two independent countries.
in its various attempts to cover up its failures embarked
on several diversions. It wanted its citizens to be proud
that the country had the tallest twin-tower in the world,
although the structure was designed and built by foreigners.
Its now a white-elephant wasting away. It achieved in sending
a man into space at an exorbitant price. What for purpose?
These are what the Malays of old would say “menang
sorak” (hollow victories).
be realised that administering a country can be likened
to managing a corporate entity. If the management is efficient
and dedicated and know what they are doing, the company
will prosper. The reverse will be if the management is poor
and bad. The company will go bust.
are five countries around this region. There is Malaysia
, and then Indonesia . To the east there is the Philippines
and then there is that small enclave called the Sultanate
these four countries have abundance of natural resources
but none can lay claim to have used all these resources
to benefit the people. Poverty was rampant and independence
had not brought in any significant benefits to the people.
tiny Singapore without any resources at all managed to bring
development to its citizens.
one of the best public MRT transport systems and airlines
in the world and it is a very clean city state. Their universities,
health care, ports are among the best in the world.
impossible to compare what Singapore has achieved to what
all these four countries had so far achieved. It was actually
poor management and corruption, and nothing more. Everything
is done for the vested interest of the few.
Indonesia and the Philippines and the Sultanate of Brunei
need good management teams. They would not be able to do
this on their own steam. I would advise that they call on
Kuan Yew to show them what good governance is. Why look
East to Japan when it is just next door across the causeway.