Country Comparison – Malaysia Versus ‘Islamic Republic’ Of Singapore

Syed Akbar Ali

OutSyed the Box

I have heard my friend Tan Sri Zainuddin Mydin say many times that he admires Mr Lee Kuan Yew for having built a very successful nation.

1. Singapore is an economic powerhouse. The wealthiest nation on the surface of the earth – in terms of per capita GDP.

2. I believe that Singapore is also on its way to becoming a powerhouse of culture and the arts. Because that is what happens once you are rich. When all your basics are well taken care of, you will have the time, the interest and most importantly the capacity to focus on the finer things in life.

3. I also think the Singaporeans are beginning to focus some energy on competitive sports. This is one area which did not interest Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He saw no benefit in competitive sports. (I recall reading it in one of his books). But that was his view.

4. My view is that Singapore’s greatest success is in creating a Singapore nation. Singaporeans seem to have a Singaporean identity. It is still a very Chinese centric society but you cannot avoid that – Chinese form 70% of the population.

5. But the average Singaporean does seem to share many commonalities. There is an ‘average’ Singaporean. I know that the Singaporean Chinese do not identify with Chinese from China or Taiwan. Singaporean Indians definitely do not identify with Indians from India. And Singaporean Malays actually look down on their cousins in Malaysia. And in Singapore even the mamaks are ultra kiasu.

Malaysia does not seem to have Nos. 1 to 5 above.  We had a ‘Malaysianness’ during the time of Dr Mahathir. But over the past 12 years this has been going down the hill.  Here is a look at Singapore by some writers. My comments are in blue.

Singapore and the Asian Century

The city-state has a potentially vital role to play in the West’s engagement with Asia. 

By Gabriele Giovannini and Emanuele Schibotto

February 19, 2015

When, on August 9, 1965, Singapore became a sovereign state following its expulsion from the Malaysian Federation it was, without any doubt, a poor country. Yet only four decades later, the former British colony boasted the second most competitive economy in the world and a per capita income higher than that of the U.S.

OSTB : In the same four decades we almost kept up with Singapore. Then we made some suicidal mistakes. Do read on.

The financial guru Jim Rogers told the CNN in 2012: “I have moved – I have sold my house in New York. I have moved to Asia and my girls speak Mandarin, speak perfect Mandarin … I’m preparing them for the 21st century by knowing Asia and by speaking perfect Mandarin…It’s easier to get rich in Asia than it is in America now. The wind is in your face. The U.S. is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world. The largest creditor nations in the world are China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore. The assets are in Asia. You know who the debtors are and where they are. Look at Greece. Look at Spain. I mean, I don’t like saying this. You know, I’m an American, too. But facts are facts.”

But why Singapore and not, for instance, China? What role does the city-state play – and what role will it play – within the so-called Asian Century? What does the country represent for the West in coping with its decline in favor of an emerging East?

Professor Kishore Mahbubani explains, “Singapore has been able to exercise regional influence by generating good ideas.

For example, Singapore noticed that while there were strong Trans-Atlantic institutions like NATO and OSCE and strong Trans-Pacific institutions like APEC and EAS, there were no strong institutions linking Asia to Europe. This was clearly a missing link. This is why the former Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, proposed the idea of an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). I was then the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Singapore, and I made several trips to Europe to try and persuade Europe to adopt this idea. Fortunately, France was the first country to support this idea. Since then, ASEM has taken off. ASEM has also established the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in Singapore.” 

OSTB :  Dr Mahathir took us in the same direction. Despite ‘Buy British Last’ we ended up trading more with Europe, US and UK than ever before. We opened up new areas  of trade with China, Japan and Taiwan. Even Russia became a major business partner. 

Then after Dr Mahathir left in 2003 the morons ramped up the “pro camel herders” policy.

They started courting Arabs who had nothing to offer. The Arabs had no science, no technology, not even proper civilised behaviour to offer us. 

(If you dont believe me about their lack of civilisation please catch the next flight to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt etc. Buy a one way ticket). As long as it was the Middle East (now expanded to Central Asia)  the morons became excited. The ‘halal’ connection.

The GLCs began courting the Middle East, ‘halal’ tours opened up to the Middle East and Central Asia (To go and see what? Camels?) 

Instead of getting closer to Japan, to China, to Europe, to the US, to Singapore where real progress was and is still being made, we surrendered our otak to the Middle East connection. Semua nak jadi Arab.

Now thousands of young students, almost all Malays, are studying in these Allah forsaken sh*t holes in the desert. Learning all types of stupid behaviour and foolish ideologies. 

And all this while what did Singapore do? Singapore got  closer to the real “Islamic countries” ie Europe, expanded trade and business with Japan, China, the US and the rest of the world. 

What did we do? Well our young kids are now volunteering to “jihad” with the ISIS. 

If the Police did not do such a good job of arresting all these confused kids, I think the whole state of Johor or Perak (figuratively speaking only ok, jangan marah) would have left the country for ‘jihad’ in the Middle East.  Lagi senang ‘pendatang’ beli tanah dia. Semua orang dah tak ada dah.

The confused “majority” is now spinning the tale  that that 14 year old girl was on her way to Egypt to get married !!  Ya ke? Kursus kahwin camno?  

Then after that what? Honeymoon under machine gun fire in Syria? Or honeymoon before suicide bombing mission in Iraq?  This community is doomed.

From this line of thinking it emerges quite clearly how Singapore has a potential role that goes well beyond its material capabilities. Nonetheless, the very foundations of its political and social system are closely related to the necessity of being open to the outside world in order both to assure survival and to achieve development. In the view of its founding father Lee Kuan Yew, in fact, global interconnection, education (especially English proficiency), and a harmonious society were the three milestones on which a promising future could be built. The policies that were adopted began to show results from the early 1970s, enabling the country to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) from leading multinationals such as Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Hitachi and Siemens.

That was Lee Kuan Yew’s genius.