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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Back to basics: quality of life

Posted: 13 Jun 2013 06:10 PM PDT

Malaysia cannot depend on just one source of income -- Petronas. But then even Malaysians (Chinese in particular, but Indians and Malays as well) are moving their money to other countries (and not all is 'dirty' money but are legitimate investments). Some are even coming to the UK and billions are being invested here (some of them are my personal friends). How long can this go on before something breaks?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

TV show host attacked and robbed by armed gang

A TV cooking show host was attacked and robbed by a group of men armed with sticks outside a condominium near Tropicana here.

Lim Wei Tiong, 27, who works with Astro, was attacked when he was about to visit a friend at a condominium along Jalan Tropicana Utama on Monday night.

He and a friend had gone separately to a mutual friend's place at about 11pm when the incident occurred.

"It all happened so fast. One minute I had parked my car and got out, the next minute I was surrounded by a group of motorcyclists armed with sticks," he said at the University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) yesterday.

Lim said the men hit him on the head and grabbed his bag containing his wallet and handphone.

"I fell to the ground but they just continued hitting me," he said, adding that his friend who witnessed the incident was too scared to come to his aid.

Lim said the next thing he remembered was being in an ambulance. He suffered a broken arm and lacerations to the head.

"Luckily, the robbers didn't take my car keys," he said.

Last October, an Astro Awani newscaster was attacked and robbed when she was being driven home by her husband.

As they got out of the car, three men on motorcycles approached them, one armed with a grass cutter.

A brief scuffle ensued when one of the robbers opened the front passenger door, but they snatched her bag and fled.

The husband gave chase for about 4km before ramming into the suspects' motorcycle near the Maluri Complex. Two of the suspects were caught while one managed to escape.


Since the results of the 5th May 2013 general election was announced about five weeks ago there has been a lot of brouhaha as to whether the election was free and fair (or fraudulent), who should be the Prime Minister (and whether Najib Tun Razak is about to be ousted), whether racism in Malaysia is currently as bad or worse than it was in 1969 (the result of many irresponsible statements being indiscriminately and blatantly issued), whether the Malays are now disunited and split (compared to the Chinese, 97% of them who voted en bloc), and so on.

I suppose there is enough chatter in the media so I really do not need to add to the noise, already deafening as it is. So today I want to talk about what every man and his dog is not talking about. And that subject is very basic, about quality of life.

Now, I am not saying that the other subjects are not important. What I am saying is so many people are already talking about those subjects so I would like to talk about what no one appears to be concerned about: the quality of life in Malaysia.

Elections are about choosing a government. Hence elections are part of democracy or about choosing a democratically elected government. But choosing a government is not the whole of democracy. Choosing a government is one of the aspects of democracy. That is what the shouters and screamers appear to miss.

Choosing a government is not the end game. Choosing a government is not the final destination. It is merely the beginning of a journey. Once we have chosen the government, then this government must work towards and guarantee us quality of life.

Malaysia appears to have serious security problems, both external and internal. Recently Malaysia got a new IGP and DIGP and today we got a new army chief. Are we going to see new brooms sweeping clean or is it going to be same old same old? 

Malaysia is no longer a safe place. Hence while Malaysians demonstrate on the streets and protest the 5th May 2013 general election and file election petitions in court, is anyone addressing the security issue? Will our family now be safer on the streets and in our homes or is crime going to get worse? The reports we are receiving is that Malaysia is getting to be a dangerous place to live.

Then we are arguing about vernacular schools and mother-tongue education and racial quotas in institutions of higher learning. It is all about race. But are we also arguing about the quality of Malaysia's education? Are we mainly churning out quantity but sacrificing quality? Is Malaysia a degree mill that merely focuses on numbers? Can Malaysia's graduates (in particular the Malay graduates) compete internationally?

The focus appears to be regarding race, quotas and numbers but not in the quality of the product.

Then we come to my favourite subject, health. And at my age that is finally what is of concern to me personally. Why do we have so many qualified doctors serving outside Malaysia (in particular non-Malay Malaysians but many Malays as well)? Some of the doctors I spoke to expressed a desire to return to Malaysia even though they are currently paid four or five times what they could earn back in Malaysia.

The problem for these people, though, in particular the non-Malays, is that they have no career prospects back in Malaysia because of the colour of their skin. Less capable and less qualified Malays are promoted above the heads of the non-Malays. Hence we have a serious brain drain in the medical profession and because of that our healthcare system has to suffer.

Security, education, health -- just three of the so many crucial issues. But we do not appear to be concerned about these matters. We appear more concerned about why Pakatan Rakyat, which garnered 51% of the popular votes, is not the government although Malaysia practices the first-past-the-post Westminster system of Parliament. Even if Najib concedes defeat and makes way for Anwar Ibrahim to take over as Prime Minister will all these issues be automatically resolved?

Was not Anwar Ibrahim once the Education Minister and Chua Jui Meng once the Health Minister? If they could not improve the situation when they once had the chance to do something about it what assurance do we have that they can do it now? And have they told us in great detail how they are going to do it if they do come into power? It appears like they are as clueless now as they were when they were in charge of those Ministries.

I was once a central committee member of the Malay Chamber of Commerce and, invariably, interacted with the various Ministries such as Trade and Finance. I 'served' through quite a number of Ministers and was fortunate enough to have sat in many meetings with the government to attempt to resolve many issues.

Of course, I was a businessman then and had dealings with companies and businessmen from all over the world. And I must say that this opened my eyes to many things and allowed me to understand what makes these people tick.

Malaysia was initially a favourites destination for foreign investors. And the reason for this, first of all, was because Malaysia had cheap labour compared to, say, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.

Eventually, Malaysia no longer could provide cheap labour and we received instructions from the Trade Minister to no longer promote Malaysia as having cheap labour (because we were no longer cheap) but instead to promote Malaysia as having skilled labour. And that was why the government gave a lot of incentives and provided a lot of funds for training (so that our cheap labour could be converted to skilled labour).

The other attraction was that Malaysians spoke good English whereas most of our ASEAN neighbours did not. This made it easier for the foreigners to communicate with us.

The third factor was that Malaysia was more stable politically compared to our ASEAN neighbours and Malaysia was a safer place than the other countries.

Finally, for the Japanese in particular, is that Malaysia had plenty of golf courses and a 'vibrant' nightlife.

All these gave Malaysia an advantage over Singapore (expensive), Thailand (English no good), Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines (politically unstable), and so on.

Today, Malaysia is way at the bottom of the list of favourites with Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines above us. Maybe Burma will soon be above Malaysia as well -- which will really be adding insult to injury.

Malaysia cannot depend on just one source of income -- Petronas. But then even Malaysians (Chinese in particular, but Indians and Malays as well) are moving their money to other countries (and not all is 'dirty' money but are legitimate investments). Some are even coming to the UK and billions are being invested here (some of them are my personal friends). How long can this go on before something breaks?

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that Malaysia is a country with first-world infrastructure but third-world mentality. Soon Malaysia is going to be a country with third-world infrastructure and third-world mentality. Some European 'powers', the UK included, are already moving in that direction. Do you think a puny nation like Malaysia can be spared that same fate?

Malaysia already does not have quality of life in spite of our 'booming' economy. What do you think the quality of life is going to be like once Malaysia becomes like Greece? And why do you think people like me prefer to set up a kopitiam in the North-West of England rather than in the North-West of Malaysia (apart from the fact that I live in Manchester)?

So you people can continue to scream about GE13 and Blackout 505 and whatnot. I am not saying you should not do that. But while you do that I am going to scream about quality of life plus security, education, healthcare and Malaysia's competitiveness as a foreign investor destination, which neither Najib nor Anwar are talking about.


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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