Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Decline of a Nation, UMNO General Assembly

My optimism has faded

UMNO recently kicked off their general assembly and our local newspapers have been plastered with reports on speeches made by their politicians, issues discussed by their ministers and grouses vented by their members.

Reading all these reports, I inadvertently felt a heavy sinking in my heart. After all these years of independence, after so many years of working and striving together, it is incredibly sad and frustrating to see that the issue of Malay rights and equity-ownership still takes precedence over everything else.

While the rest of the world marches ahead with globalization, and millions of people around the world are enjoying levels of prosperity which is unmatched in the history of mankind, our UMNO politicians are still intent on maintaining their stranglehold (and even increasing it in fact) on a piece of an ever-shrinking pie.

I once felt optimistic about Malaysia. I once thought that it was a great country to be in, that everyone had an equal chance to succeed given hard-work. Today, for the very first time, I actually thought about what it would be like to leave the country. I am not saying that I will migrate. I am just saying that the thought fleetingly crossed my mind, and that saddens me.

They don't seem to care that Malaysia is sliding down the ranks of competitiveness, transparency and education. After all, according to UMNO and the people they represent, everything is a zero sum game right? In order for them to win, someone has to lose.

This mentality, together with all the problems which plague UMNO and Malaysia is neatly encapsulated in this speech given by Azlieza Azizan, the Malacca representative of Puteri Umno. She said, and I quote,

"We want the Malay corporate equity ownership to be raised to 60%. We have been tolerating the private sector for too long. They apply strict regulations to make it difficult for us to find a place (in the market)"

In a nutshell, her lack of progress is everybody else's fault except her own. The concept of meritocracy is alien to her. The concept of hard-work, sacrifice and perseverance are shunned by her in favor of complacency, greed and self centered-ness.

I know I have Malay readers for my blog. To them, I plead, please oh please tell us that not every Malay sees things the way Azlieza Azizan does. Reassure us that we all have the country's best interest at heart, and that we will all work together to ensure that Malaysia continues to prosper in the international arena.

Not all Malays think like her right?

To those who don't speak up and be heard.

There were many, many other comments which were uttered by people such as Hishamuddin and Khairy which reeked of racially-tinged aggression, but for the sake of brevity I will not quote them in this post. You only have to pick up any newspaper to see just how divided our country has become. Everything seems to be simmering just beneath the surface, and I sincerely hope that it will not reach its boiling point, for all our sakes....

...for all our sakes.


(above: What happened to the Malaysia I knew)

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7 Comments:

Blogger jerng said...

Maybe it is realistic only to expect slow and steady progress. Three steps forward two steps back. Can you handle it? It might take a while. You have to figure out how to contribute in terms of a long term plan. It's very different from contributing to a short term plan. Have to aim broader, and lighter. Too focused => means you'll burn out having achieved nothing, way too early.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Bernard Yong said...

I somewhat agree with what you said. However the question remains, do the policies being advocated by the extreme-rightist politicians in UMNO actually benefit the country at all? Or do they serve as a stumbling block?

Is the absence of meritocracy really good for the country, as you put it, in the long term? Will automatically giving Bumis a 30% stake in companies help the country in the long term, or will it only line the pockets of a select few in the short term?

It's good to see that we both value progress in the country. After all, as long as the next generation has a higher standard of living than the one before, it means that we are on the right track rite? Well, the worrying thing is that Malaysia is increasingly losing out to our regional peers in a number of key performance indicators.

We're losing out in attracting FDI; we're losing out in terms of GDP growth; our level of education, while still higher than some other countries such as Vietnam, is on the decline whereas the aforementioned country is rising; I could go on and on about the areas in which Malaysia has to improve itself. And improve itself it can, if and ONLY IF the majority of the population recognizes the problems we face and actively seek to address it.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Atziluth said...

Seriously, the government, or UMNO specifically, is acting like an over-protective parent to us Malays. Honestly I'm ashamed. I care not for equity or whatever. I believe hard work and perseverence makes a person, not a big, fat government contract. Not that I'm saying government contractors are bad people - its a good way to start a business. Just that, creating dependency on it is not healthy, you know?
Overall, I agree with what you said. I think somehow, even UMNO members are not clear on what they really stand. If they are really fighting for the Malays, maybe they should listen a bit more to Dr. M than they care.
The Malays do not need to be pampered more. The government had done enough in giving them all the right tools. Next, just let them go and utilise those tools. Surely, UMNO has at least THAT much faith in the Malays right?
Unless of course, like you mentioned in a post long ago (or maybe not that long), someone is trying to make the Malays look dependent on UMNO for one person's political gains.
You can rest assured though, that not all Malays think so hot UMNO and I am among those who believe the government had done enough damage to our reputation. We are not some lazy dependent people. For once, let us be and stand on our own two feet damnit!!
Still, whatever those UMNO lackeys' going to spout out will not affect my relationship with the other races.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous t0othfairie said...

Hence the saying about the difference between giving a man a fish, and teaching him how to fish.

3:57 PM  
Blogger F.O.N. said...

it's unfortunate to see what's going on right now when we have come so far since independance.

The speeches in the past week has made me feel less secure in this country. Sad to say that I'm making some 'contingency' plans if things go outta hand. Am doing this for the safety of my family.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had that sad feeling too last few weeks looking at our country having the wrong focus.

Hope things will turn out better!

1:44 PM  
Blogger belacan budu said...

She is young and innocent. By right she should not be allowed to address at all. What to do? Having an inexperienced leader who blessed her with the seditious speech she went all out to fish for recognition! I too might do that but have to weigh the consequences of the statement. The saying in Malay goes ' kertam ajar anaknya berjalan lurus' which means a crab teaches the young crab to walk straight! impossible isn't it? Malaysia Boleh. The motto spoils our reputation in the eyes of open globe!

10:50 PM  

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