Friday, April 25, 2014
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The problems M’sia faces and which Malaysians must face up to


Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah reminded Malaysians on Sunday (April 1) that we are poised on the cusp of change wherein the fate of the next generation lies heavily in our hands. No other general election has been so much talked about, and anticipated with as much anxiety and expectations as the forthcoming polls dubbed the ‘battle of the century’, notes the Umno maverick.

Tengku Razaleigh laments that although we have the power to change the country’s future, we seem impeded nonetheless from making wise decisions in our choice for a better government.

This inertia is one that the Gua Musang Member of Parliament attributes in part to the country’s education system which has created a generation of “captive minds” that are entrenched in stereotypical and race-biased world views.


Speaking at a book launch in Ipoh, Ku Li (as the Kelantan prince is affectionately known) says that our educational curricula do not encourage the moral and intellectual reform of the mind. Their shortcomings are as such that they fail to impart to students the fundamentals of scientific thinking and reasoning in relation to our own society.

“Captive minds tend to avoid major issues such as the concept of good governance, meaning of development, the effect of corruption on society and the rule of law,” he opines.

Delving into the area of economy, Malaysia’s former Minister of Finance observes how there is no honest intellectual inquiry to find out the reasons for inequitable distribution of income despite our many years of implementing the New Economic Policy.

The NEP has only produced results that are diametrically opposed to the original intention of bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots, he says.

The veteran politician also tosses an analogy that if a doctor were to keep on prescribing the same medicine which produces opposite results, then something must be wrong with the doctor, and something more serious must be wrong with the patient who keeps on trusting this same doctor.

“The longer we try the policy, the further we are from the original goal.” He further warns that Malaysia might soon become another bankrupt Greece should the problem of “wanton corruption and wasteful spending” fail to be arrested immediately.

On another note, Ku Li is of the view that consequent to Malaysia’s massive brain drain, the gap is being filled not by replacements with equivalent skills and potentials but by unskilled labour from abroad.

koon-book“Public universities have no places for locals, but they are absorbing large numbers of foreign students. It is sad that our own people should be deprived of the benefits of a good education – a resource that has been described as the global currency of 21st century economies.”

Quoting the late academician Syed Hussein Alatas who once described the country’s leadership as an ‘ignocracy’ – i.e. a system whereby a government deliberately keeps its own people ignorant – Ku Li urges Malaysians to step up our efforts at educating and promoting political consciousness in order to surmount this ‘ostrich with its head in the sand’ syndrome.

He also hopes that the people of this country, in the rural and urban areas alike, would be able to rise to the challenge of casting away our slumber.

Tengku Razaleigh had delivered his speech above as the guest of honour at a book launch in Ipoh. The book ‘Malaysia: Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020’ is authored by Koon Yew Yin, a frequent CPI contributor.

We reproduce below excerpts from reviews of this recently released book.


“Mr Koon writes with perceptiveness and candour as well as with the voice of experience – qualities that are often missing in the writings of many political analysts that are provided with space in the mainstream media. This process of empowerment and simultaneous rejection of leaders who regard power and authority not as positions of trust and responsibility but to serve personal interest or as an opportunity for personal enrichment will be necessary if Malaysia is to prosper and move ahead to join the modern and progressive nations of the world.” – Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah

“Mr Koon has chosen to galvanise his years of experience in business and to reduce them into well-written and well-researched articles that will benefit all Malaysians. This book is a compilation of his articles which were painstakingly and meticulously written. The articles are forthright and brutally honest in many instances and speak to the problems Malaysia faces and Malaysians must face up to. It is a compilation written, not by a politician, but by a Malaysian who cares. It is a must read for all those who believe that our children deserve a better Malaysia and who believe, as clearly the author does, that it is our responsibility to ensure we leave them a legacy they can be proud of.” – Ambiga Sreenevasan (former Malaysian Bar Council president, and Bersih 2.0 chairperson)

“This cogently argued book with its underlying political philosophy and its comprehensiveness regarding the components of a modern morally-based state with checks and balances deserves a wide readership. It is meticulously researched, providing a clear exposition of the social infrastructure required of a modern democratic and open society. Koon Yew Yin has made an important contribution to the political discourse that will shape the lives of ordinary Malaysians for decades to come.” – Glenn Arnold (professor of Investment Salford Business School)

“Writing from a business insider’s point of view, KoonYew Yin’s analysis and prescription of the ills plaguing this nation is reminiscent of the writings of scholars such as Syed Hussein Alatas. He has skilfully linked the issue of corruption with the political-economy of Malaysia as a corporatist Asian state using effective data to analyze the path Malaysia is taking as a ‘failed state’. This book is interesting in that it utilizes anecdotes from grassroots writing in the social media as a testament to the appreciation of the subaltern voice of the Malaysian people. In offering an informed opinion on the state of corruption, wastage, and abuse of power, Koon Yew Yin’s book should be a helpful, easily understood, well-researched reference for students of business and politics, on how the politics of race and religion still triumphs over class and the postmodern caste system." Dr Azly Rahman (academician, columnist and social analyst)

“This volume, consisting of Koon Yew Yin’s thoughts on how to move the nation forward and the key challenges facing Malaysia today should be widely read by all those who love this country and would like to see a progressive and successful nation.” – Prof. James Chin (head of School of Arts & Social Sciences in the Malaysia campus of Monash University)


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