Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Malaysian Ideas that need better definition

Lately, there has been a lot of talk on what I would call themes and ideas in the media that, I feel needs better explanation. Let's start with the first one, "1 Malaysia".

1. When Najib started this idea of 1Malaysia, my first thought was One Utama, the shopping mall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. When Najib first started talking about unity and how its about bringing Malaysians together, he never clearly explained how he would go about it through implementation of policies.

Instead, what happened was, the media started interviewing smaller politicians on what they thought it meant and they got a variety of answers. To make matters worst, companies started to cash in on this 1Malaysia idea with such slogans as "product X for 1Malaysia" or "product X in support of 1Malaysia". How do you support 1Malaysia when you don't even know what the heck it is? Is 1Malaysia assimilation? is it multiculturalism?

I think Najib is just keeping it vague so that he can use it as a political tool. Let's say for example, someone on the opposition proposes an assimilation policy, for example... "all Malaysians should go to single stream schools!". If it gets a lot of opposition from the public, Najib can always say "no, we can't do that, its not in-line with 1 Malaysia".

Now let's say if another politician says, "government should review the NEP and make it more friendly to the non-malays". If there is support for it, he can always say "we will study it in the spirit of 1 Malaysia".

Everyone in their head would have their own vague interpretation of 1 Malaysia and think, "oh okay, I guess I'm going to get what I want! Since I don't even know what 1 Malaysia, so Najib's probably thinking what I'm thinking".

The government has a publicity campaign potraying it as a feel good campaign with multicultural kids playing together (how come its always malay, chinese and indian? where are the other races?). Maybe peninsula Malaysia has more of a cultural unity problem then Sabah and Sarawak?

2. The Greater Unity Plan
This Ong Tee Keat is quite a crafty fellow, he only tells the inner MCA circle what it is and he has said it's not a mathematical model. Doesn't really explain how its going to make MCA better. Maybe he learned a thing or two from Najib.

3. New Economic Model
One economist I talked too told me since this new economic model that Najib has been talking about is based on a service based economy, it sounds a lot like an old idea that was already proposed along time ago, the Knowledge Based Economy. It was proposed more than 10 years ago and it started things such as the Multimedia Supercorridor project.

Not much information is forth coming from the policy makers yet on what is this new economic model. Probably the likes of NEAC are still tinkering with the idea and trying to figure it out.

How do we get 6% GDP growth every year when we're stuck in a middle-income trap? A lot of people like to compare the Malaysian economy to the South Koreans. We started of after world war 2 at the same time but South Korea has soared way above us and literally over-taken the Malaysian economy. They've gone on to be a high-income economy, but here we are still stuck at a middle-income economy.

I bet there's a lot more ill-defined slogans out there, care too name any?

No comments: