Monday, November 23, 2009

The Closing And Re-Opening Of The Malaysian Mind

The Malaysian Mind has been closed since 1970 when the policy thrust was changed from economic growth to economic sovereignty.

The global past-time was to fight colonialism and capitalism, to look inward with import-substitution and the chasing away of investors ostensibly colonial.

The closing was not only of the Malay Mind. The Chinese Mind was also closed, and so was the Indian Mind. Each looks to its own past and forgot its future.

The closing of the Malaysian Mind resulted in the systematic and willful destruction of the entrepreneurial spirit of an already advanced high-income global economy - with a narrowly defined educational system, and a narrowly defined arena for investments.

The future of the Malaysian economy lies not with foreign investors, but with the opening of the Malaysian Mind so that Malaysian Talents can flourish and Malaysian Capital released to take calculated risks and be entrepreneurial again.
The Malaysian Mind must be allow to flourish like the Malaysian Cuisine which is intermingled and where the hybrid is far more exciting than the original, although the original still display its quiet authencity.
The Malaysian Mind could have been distracted by political shinanigans, and probably still is, such as the PR ploy of 1Malaysia.

It is far better for Malaysians to forget who they think they are and for them to be themselves and as freely as a bird display what is in the innermost self. I bet, under those circumstances, we truly display ourselves as Malaysians.


Anonymous said...

‘The closing was not only of the Malay Mind. The Chinese Mind was also closed, and so was the Indian Mind. Each looks to its own past and forgot its future.’

The first was properly correct as one simply cant change a group of feudalistic minions, trapped continuously in their outlooks of a twisted religious dogma & self-imposed siege mentality. So the closing of their mind reflects their own stage of understandings about their world-views within the comfort of a make-belief cocoon.

The Indian M’sian Mind wad closed, because majority of this group of people r just simply trapped by their caste-based umbilical cords. U r born to be what-&-where u r now! Coupled with the intended ‘tidak-apa’ approaches of the govt departments, one just cant blame them from closing their minds. Their own well-kept brothers dont offer much helps too. This is a forever poverty trap, where the help of uplifting education efforts r far in between & most of the time their minds r in the stage of helplessness.

The M’sian Chinese Mind is superficially closed. Superficially? Given a chance, the break-dam force will be unleashed, whenever, wherever there is a possibility.


The continue concentration of their children’s education is one such force, even under 'stormy' conditions.

The underground movement of ‘plane-jumpers’ to foreign lands for better economic rewards, even though under severe unfavourable conditions, is another.

Most of first generation starters r composed of low economic staggers & low/none educational trainees. Yet given time, no matter how difficult, some shines through. This is NOT the syndrome of a closed mind!

On another matter, have u consider examining the recent world’s bank report for M’sia vis-à-vis the world into a microscopic set of within M’sia’s various racial context?

On first reading, there r many similarities. Yr inputs will be interesting & effort building for those who care about M’sia at large.


walla said...

The problem is time.

We replaced economic growth with economic sovereignty. That was a big mistake. It was just politics without careful calculation of geodynamics.

The planners must have thought that by creating opportunities for and by locals, demand will draw up local supply of know-how and skills to deliver.

They didn't because the training pipeline was unequal to the skill sets needed. Import substitution can only work when what are to be substituted can be supplied locally to the same standards or efficiency.

It was the intrusion of political bias into the training equation of the country which dampened our capabilities to rise to the challenges of a globalizing world.

The monoracial politics was also instrumental in locking in one race to monopolize the public training facilities, and locking out the other races from contributing to make them more relevant to a world which has moved vastly ahead in all fields, facilitated by know-how delivered in other languages. In a real-world model where public training facilities are the linchpins to kick-start research and development, the value-adding and content factors were removed at the very time they were needed the most.

Because of the one-sided policies, many of the better brains of this country also left, reducing the brain-pool to reverse the tide. Their leaving was accelerated by other happenings like the rise of social dichotomies and the fall of delivery and safeguard standards.

Now if we say that to change the situation we shall have to depend on local entrepreneurs alone, we must be ready to answer these questions:

- where to find enough capable locals with the right know-how and skill sets to identify, make and market to the world the things and services they want? and,

- how to change our political policies to sweeten a new economic model that will underpin the advancement of the country towards high income developed status which will defined by a complete, holistic and total satisfaction of higher levels of stakeholder satisfaction?

If we depend only on locals, ideas and interactions from the world will be reduced.

Ninety percent of locals are small to medium sized businesses. While some have seen the world, seeing, and collaborating enough to know what and how to do things differently, are not congruent. Especially if they are also hampered by lack of training, a significant challenge which will take time plus mentoring resources, both themselves already in scarcity.

The ten percent which would have experienced interaction with the multinationals parked here will be beholden to their employers and thus locked into company practices that disallow open exchanges supportive of national aspirations.

In other words, technology transfer is stymied, while technology acquisition will depend on knowing what to acquire and having the capital to do so, both of which also in short supply.

walla said...

Furthermore, if it is not technology, then it will be about ideation, marketing and services. These will still require know-how and networks. Which take time to build. They also require attractive selling propositions.

One requisite of such propositions is people outside will want to sell to our market before people inside can market local things to them. They want to see prototypes and examples of applications. They will buy if we can sell with reputation.

But we don't have a big local market for high-capital goods or services to raise these stakes.

Over time, such challenges can be surmounted. But time we can have is relative to things we don't have or are losing.

Oil revenue runs forty percent of our government services. Oil is depleting, ergo these services will have to find new revenue for a growing population very soon; on the other hand, the stakeholders increasingly want reduced tax loads so that they can invest more to be more competitive in order to enjoy higher income.

The hour glass is thus running out for government; vat will only hit the lower income groups which are already sandwiched between high costs of living and small packages of earnings.

High tax will also reduce attractiveness as investment hotspot, as much for locals as for foreigners. It will reduce the effectiveness of infrastructure money already sunk to promote the corridors.

Meanwhile there is only so much one can do with the other agro-based resources like palm oil, rubber and timber.

And we don't have the expertise or real will to embark on new and trendy things like biofuel, nanotech, composites, specialized-parts, even advanced circuits.

Additionally, others are muscling in on things like islamic financing and offshore construction.

While all these are happening, there are other events. We are going to have a permanent two-party political structure.

This will dichotomize federal from state governance which will in turn require heightened and, more importantly, honest and efficient coordination in the practical interest of the citizens.

Many investors have also griped about the lack of coordination between different agencies and departments servicing them in even such areas as applicable policies and treatment. That processing remains tardy and cumbersome disincentivizes more.

All these while there are four million potential voters yet to register.

We are also constantly reminded, almost daily, that integrity is increasingly scarce in the institutions that are the foundation pillars of our society. Trust in these institutions is gone. Dissolved.

And that is because there is no transparency and because accountability is vacuous in how decisions are made from individual to policy cases unless prodded on by public interest, many a time in a cloud of dismay, anger and cynicism.

There is in fact an increasing suspicion that reform actions deliberately target smaller cases while bigger cases are protected because political and administrative governance has marched from tribe to club to syndicate.

These are some of the issues that will form the channels to reopen the Malaysian mind.

In perspective, the country is small, the people are young and the future is replete with possibilities.

But the flip side is preponderantly heavy. The will is dependent on swinging votes but tied to legacy loyalties that enchain real reforms. The candidates have no stomach to visit the real issues confronting the nation. The electorate are in the main clueless of the geodynamics of nation building whose capacitation remains under-estimated.

A classic multi-pincer situation of an emerging nation cocooned in silo plastic. said...

Interesting post!

Will highlight your post in our website and link back to your blog.

All the best!

walla said...

GST links in:

etheorist said...


Exactly which World Bank report you refer to so that I can have a look?