We can agree or disagree with the modus operandi but Malaysians must be concerned about the need for a reset of national policies and institutions if we are not to end up as a failed state near Malaysia’s Centennial in 2057
The proposal by Nazir Razak, the youngest brother of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, and 54 other prominent Malaysians for a reset of national policies and institutions has created a lot of waves, some agreeing while others quite dubious about the initiative.
While we can agree or disagree with the modus operandi of the proposal, Malaysians must be concerned about the need for a reset of national policies and institutions if we are not to end up as a failed state near Malaysia’s Centennial in 2057.
I congratulate Malaysiakini reporter Wong Kah Hui for winning this year’s prestigious Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award chosen from among 200 entrants from 55 countries.
It is an affirmation that Malaysian talents are second to none in the world and there is no reason why Malaysia cannot be a world-class great nation as we are at the confluence of four great civilisations – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western – if are able to leverage on their values and virtues to create a great Malaysian civilization.
But it cannot be denied that in the past half a century, we have lost our way and one nation after another has overtaken us, whether in international competitiveness, good governance or having an effective and efficient government.
The 22-month Covid-19 Pandemic should be a mirror of Malaysia’s fall from the highest international standards to the extent that we are losing out to Indonesia.
In the last ten days, for instance, Malaysia recorded 52,015 Covid-19 cases and 432 Covid-19 deaths while Indonesia recorded 3,407 Covid-19 cases and 95 Covid-19 deaths.
Even the new Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, could not explain the reasons for Malaysia losing out to Indonesia in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nazir and 54 prominent Malaysians have given their reason for Malaysia straggling behind other nations:
“Our prevailing system remains essentially the one designed in the early 1970s, following deliberations by the National Consultative Council (NCC). Reforms such as amendments to the Sedition Act and affirmative action were innovative ways to cater to the needs of the nation at that time.
“But these reforms were not designed to last indefinitely, and, in the case of the New Economic Policy (NEP), a 20-year term limit was set. This national reset took place over 50 years ago, and even though so much has changed for Malaysia and Malaysians, the system remains substantially in place.
“In its early years, the new system was largely successful, bringing much needed political stability, accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and rebalancing wealth between communities.
“But the system also had negative side effects, namely heightened corruption, the hardening of identity politics and concentration of power, which grew in prominence as the system was prolonged. These negative side effects feed on each other and are at the heart of Malaysia’s systemic dysfunctions today.”
Why have Malaysia’s great plans in the past, including Vision 2020, 1Malaysia and the latest Keluarga Malaysia concept of Prime Minter Ismail Sabri, failed to achieve Malaysia’s objective to be a world-class great nation?
If Malaysia is to regain its lost glory, we must find the reasons for Malaysia’s decline in the past half-a-century so that we can be back on track to become a world-class great nation before Malaysia’s Centennial in 2057.