Friday, March 07, 2008

Elections in Malaysia

As we all know, tommorow is the day our Northern Brother Malaysia goes to the Polling Booth. As the little red dot and Younger Half-Brother of Malaysia, we have many reasons to be concerned about their elections.

From what I've read online and seen on Youtube, Malaysian Chinese and Indians are generally unhappy at the BN and UMNO, particularly at the NEP, which favours the ethnic majority, the Malays on many areas over the other races.

Pro BN news comes mainly from the mainstream media as usual, with the local Straits Times reporting that UMNO will win in many districts and gave only mild coverage of Gerakan and DAP's fight over Penang.

In the past 40-50 years since the devolution of powers granted to both states by the Empire of Britain, Northern Ireland and Commonwealth States, both countries had walked a similar yet vastly different road to become what they are today.

Singapore, when it was a federal state under Malaysia, supressed political factions contary to the Governing Party and anihiliated opposing voices. Hence, when independence was forced upon them, there was no alternative choices left except to follow the only path left: industrialise quicker and faster than the region or risk losing relavance in the post WW2 World. With the help of various events of the time, such as the Malayan Emergency, the Cold War and the Vietnam War, Singapore was able to gain additional support from the United States in addition to economic plans to make Singapore an Air, Sea and tourism hub.

Catching the warm drafts of new trends, Singapore invested heavily in Telecommunications and also succeeded in bringing in Multi-National Companies to invest during the 20-30 years of its independence. These MNC's brought in many factory jobs which provided vast job opportunity for the womenfolk of Singapore at the time.

Now that many of our Neighnouring countries are catching up in development, Singapore is investing heavily into Sovereign Wealth Funds such as Temasek Holding and Government Invesment Company to invest and generate funds for the Singapore Government while the economy is being restructured to become a financial and biomedical hub.

In the same 20-30 years, Malaysia had relied on mining and argiculture as the basis of its economy and only in the 1970s had Malaysia started to Modernise. I believe that with a strongly established Manufacturing, Air and Sea hub just below its shores, attracting foreign investments would be somewhat affected.

Moreover, with the main party UMNO (and by proxy its coliation the Alliance, later renamed to Barisan Nasional) unwillingly to share the pie with the Chinese and Indians, it is no coincidence that Malaysia is always 1 step behind Singapore. This however is also part of the reason Singapore can survive up till today.

In the Spring and Autumn Period, the State of Zheng was situated at the borders of the Mighty State of Jin and the State of Qin. The State of Zheng survived for a long time largely due to its shrewd political and social reforms, including the codifying of laws by Zi Chan. It was destroyed at the start of the warring states period by the princely state of Han, a state resulting from a split of the Jin Kingdom, after years of decline.

The Elections up North will be keenly watched by many people across its Southern end.

I wish Malaysians and Singaporeans the Best of luck no matter what happens. In the end, we are still brothers.

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