Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dialogue cum Dinner with Young Professionals in Royal Selangor Golf Club

I had an interesting dialogue with about 30 middle-aged professionals in the Royal Selangor Golf and Country Club 2 days ago. It was a working dinner starting from 7.45p.m. and ended at nearly 11.00p.m. There was a fruitful and frank exchange of views about the economic and political situation in the country.

It is good to see young and middle-aged professionals showing greater interest to what is happening to our own country. The young professionals have always been accused of being indifferent to events unfolding within the country and a lot don’t even bother to register as a voter.

It is obvious that there is poor dissemination of information from the government. The end result is that even the professionals know very little about what is happening to our own country. Because of this poor communication from the government to the rakyat, there seems to be lack of understanding on certain policy matters implemented by the government.

The interaction was basically focused on:

1) Teaching of Science and Maths in English;

2) The deterioration of the standards of education in the country;

3) Liberalization of economic policy announced by the PM Najib;

4) Deviation on the implementation of the government policy resulting in decision not been followed through by the public delivery system;

5) Malaysia twenty years from now;

6) Issue of minimum wage;

7) Performance of the PR state government;

8) Can politics in Malaysia be non-racial;

9) Malay’s special privileges.


Malaysia twenty years from now

During the discussion, there was general consensus that Malaysia has done well in the last 50 years as compared to a lot of ASEAN countries. However, compared to Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, we are way behind. The next twenty years will be crucial to us. We cannot be dependent on oil (there will be no oil by then) and as a low cost manufacturing country. We talked about how we should move up the value chain by upgrading the skills of our workers, by improving technology and innovation. We have to develop our service industry to become the main engine of growth.

We discussed at length about the merits and demerits of the implementation of the minimum wage for certain sectors in the country. The implementation of the minimum wage will meet a lot of resistance by the employers. A lot of political will is required to see it through. We cannot have first class infrastructure and a third class pay structure. We cannot stay competitive by depressing the wages of our workers. Raising the minimum wage will have a tremendous spin-off effect for the local economy because of the increase on the local consumption by our own local workers. Right now, foreign workers’ remittance out of the country totaled about RM18billion. With the implementation of the minimum wage, we can reduce progressively foreign workers and remittance out of the country. Imagine half of the total remittance is spent within the country, the spin off effect to the local economy will be tremendous. The minimum wage implementation will force the employers to pay more attention to skill training for workers, to invest in machineries and also to be more innovative.


Non-Racial Politics

This is what all of us should aim at. We should be issue-focus rather than ethnic-centric in resolving issues. However, I felt that it will be quite sometime before we can achieve a non-racial political system within the country. There are political parties who claimed to be non-racial, but in reality they are not. I always feel that some of the political parties have done a better job in political spinning and their public utterances are often tailored to meet the expectation of the rakyat. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The federal constitution provides for Bahasa Melayu as Bahasa Kebangsaan and special privileges for the Malays and also the rights of the non-Malays are enshrined in the constitution. Hence, there will always be a role for ethnic-based political party.

I have written on some of the topics discussed in my blog earlier, hence I will not go into detail issues that were discussed.


20年后的马来西亚

经济竞争力


在一项讨论会中,与会者一致认同,在过去50年马来西亚的发展确比许多东协国家表现卓越。然而,与新加坡、香港、韩国、台湾相比,我们仍远远落后。未来20年是关键期,我们不能一味仰赖石油(石油终会取竭),也不能一直成为低制造成本国家。我们必须提高经济价值链,加强员工技能,提高科技和创新。我们必须发展本地服务行业,让它成为国家成长的主要动力。


我们也详细讨论了在特定领域设定最低薪金的优点缺点。我预见许多雇主将反对最低薪金制度,所以需要很大的政治意愿支持以落实。我们不能有一流的基建设施,却有三流的薪金结构。持续压低工人的薪酬无法保持我国的竞争力。相反的,提高最低薪金额会刺激本地消费,为国内经济带来积极且巨大的效应。目前,国内工作的外国人共赚走了180亿令吉。若实施最低薪金,就可以逐渐减少聘请外籍工人及外汇流失。试想把这笔流失的汇款注入国内消费市场,绝对可发挥超强的经济效应。而且,最低薪金的政策也将促使雇主更加重视雇员们的技能培训、仪器机械的投资,以及注重创新。

非种族政治


这是我们大家应该朝向的目标,针对课题加解决问题并去种族化。然而,要达致非种族政治的目标,我认为我国尚需要一些时间。一些政党宣称非种族政党,但现实中却非如此。我经常认为,一些政党的政治妆术非常了得,他们的言论也是为满足人民的期望而特别设定。不过,空话不如实践。


联邦宪法阐明马来文为过家国语及马来人享有特权,非马来人也享有宪法规定的权利。因此,种族政党依然有他们的角色的功能。

关于上述论点,我也已多次在部落格中评述。

2 comments:

朱刚明 (Chu Kong Ming) said...

Datuk,
I wonder if the constitution of the country can be reviewed or redefined for the sake of next 50 years?
TQ

Tuanku said...

Dear Dr Chua,

It is very interesting to read about your dialogue cum dinner with young yuppy professionals in Malaysia.

I too have a long dialogue cum golfing session with a group of 20 young Malaysian professionals from Oxford, MIT, Havard, Cambridge, Yale, Beijing, NUS, ACCA, CIMA, ICSA, ICAEW, Warwick and Hull universities at a prestigious golfing club in Abu Dhabi today. I am not surprised over the disappointment and even anger by these Malaysian top professionals here towards the arrogant BN government's decision to abolish the teaching of maths and science in English. I was told that they prefer to continue working and contribute their skills and professions in foreign countries because they are worried about the future of the children education if they are going to serve in Malaysia.

During the 5 hours on 1 to 1 session dialogue with them and it was also conducted by an UNESCO delegate, we were shocked to listen to the announcement made by the Malaysian Minister of Education on Wednesday. The erosion of Malaysian Education system today is not the only topic but other vital topics like high crime rate, govt scandals, corruptions, NEP policy , abuse of power, injustice, mismanagement, poor governance and political instability in Malaysia. Majority of the agendas mentioned are very disgraceful, shameful, disgusting and vomit blood for these Malaysian professionals knowing how bad our nation is run by flip flop BN leaders over past 50 years.

I was interesting to know that many JPA Malay scholars and professionals here decided to serve develop nations like Middle East, Europe and USA because they can earn high income, better standard of living, good education system and worst, default in JPA loans or contracts on them.

At the end of the dialogue session, we voted in Dr M's blog on his question to be answered is whether to support or oppose to the decision to teach Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia. Suprising majority professionals, students and undergrads attended our dialogue session voted 100% -
"NO" to the flip flop corrupted and arrogant BN leaders today.

Then we sang Negaraku, read RUKUN Negara and promised to come home to vote for a change of new federal govt in next 13 GE because it seems to Malaysian professionals that the arrogant BN goons never learn from their defeats in 12GE and not listening to the voice of all Malaysians today.

GOD Blessing Malaysia Boleh!

Kind regards,

TUANKU MALAYSIAN
OXFORD, MIT & YALE SCHOLAR
Middle East - UAE

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