Friday, August 24, 2007

A Tale of Two Countries

By the Anti-Jihadist

I wrote and recently submitted this column to Malaysia Today's editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin for posting on his widely-read political website. He specifically declined to put up this piece. I invite M-T readers (as well as our regular audience) to have a look at this column, one that RPK didn't want his Malaysia Today readers to see, and to draw your own conclusions.

UPDATE: As of the morning 25 August (Malaysia time), RPK has now posted this piece at M-T, without alteration or censorship. I'd like to publically express my thanks for RPK's reversal of his earlier decision not to post this particular article, and for having the courage to do so.

Being familiar with both Korea and Malaysia, and having seen first-hand how these two nations manage their affairs, there is a number of enlightening conclusions that can be drawn.

South Korea, by any measure, is a huge success story. In just fifty years, the country has catapulted itself from a bombed-out, resource-poor, dictator-run Third World crap hole to First World status. Korea’s infrastructure and technologies are world-class, and its government is reasonably efficient and accountable. South Korea’s GNP per capita ranks as the equivalent if not better than most European countries. Newspapers are full of stories of internationally-known Korean chaebol (conglomerates) like Samsung, Hyundai or LG developing new technologies, winning more overseas contracts, opening new factories outside of Korea, and increasing their market share in places like Europe and the US. While Korea has shown an unfortunate propensity to occasionally favour ludicrous ideas like anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism (two dysfunctional ideas that often go hand-in-hand), Korea has gotten it right more often than not. Through an enormous labour effort, Korea has created a wealthy, secular, capitalist democracy. Koreans have a powerful work ethic, and are not averse to doing tremendous amounts of it. Now, Koreans are reaping the rewards of decades of effort -- and they’ve earned it.

Compare Korea’s story to Malaysia’s. Malaysia became independent in 1957 with a significant number of advantages compared to the erstwhile ‘Hermit Kingdom’. Malaysia was emerging from over a century of relatively benign British rule in 1957, not 40 years of brutal Japanese occupation as the Koreans had endured. Malaysia possessed at the time of its founding, thanks to the British, a comprehensive national infrastructure and an excellent education system based on the British model. True, Malaysia was struggling through its own civil war at the time of independence (a.k.a. the “Malayan Emergency”), but this was not nearly as deadly or destructive as the Korean conflict (which is technically still going on). Unlike Korea, Malaysia possesses significant natural resources, namely petroleum, timber, tin, palm oil and rubber. Malaysia’s advantageous geographic position gives it direct access to the Straits of Malacca, the world’s most important shipping channel. And Malaysia in 1963 gained control of Singapore, which has emerged as Southeast Asia’s regional center of commerce, and an enormous wealth-generation machine in its own right.

All told, it’s an enviable set of advantages. But Korea has, somehow, succeeded far beyond anything the Malaysians have achieved to date. How did this situation come to pass?

Let’s review Malaysia’s track record. Other than Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil company, there are no Malaysian-based international corporations worthy of note (Air Asia, for the moment, remains a strictly SE Asian concern). The state-owned car company Proton, which has haemorrhaged enormous amounts of capital, is a massive failure that continues to survive only through massive subsidies and trade barriers to foreign carmakers. Likewise, the national airline MAS suffers from chronic mismanagement and enduring poor financial performance. Endemic corruption has so far resisted half-hearted attempts to remedy it, hobbles progress at all levels, and rots the very underpinnings of the Malaysian state and economy. Malaysia is still forced to import or otherwise buy many critical technologies—in other words, the country has failed to innovate in any meaningful way. The education system, following independence, eventually resorted to dumping so-called ‘colonial’ ideas like teaching English, and even worse, became heavily Islamified. Critical thinking was jettisoned in favor of mindless memorisation and learning-by-rote. Just how bad has the Malaysian education system become? Nowadays, anyone in Malaysia who is rich enough to send their children overseas for education, generally does.

And what about Singapore? Singapore, the Chinese-majority cash engine of the region, was kicked out of the federation in 1965, only two years after joining, over political, racial and religious differences. As a tiny independent city-state, and without any natural resources to speak of, Singapore has become as rich (per capita speaking) and as advanced as Korea, or as most anywhere else in the First World. Singapore, with a population of only one-sixth the size of Malaysia, had in 2006 a GNP of US$141.2 billion, nearly half of Malaysia’s US$313.8 billion. If Singapore had not been expelled in 1965, this mighty economic engine would still be Malaysian territory and could have greatly enriched the country. Alas, the expulsion of Singapore would prove to be not the last blunder committed by the UMNO regime. Now, their former countrymen and now much poorer neighbors to the north can only watch Singapore’s success enviously from across the narrow straits that separate the two countries.

Unlike Malaysia, Korea allows genuine freedom of religion, and its citizens are split into three roughly equal groups—Christians, Buddhists, and the non-religious. All Koreans are free to be of any religion, or none at all, as they see fit without government interference. This defuses religious tensions before they can start and allows the government to focus its efforts and resources on more important priorities, like education and economic development.

On the other hand, Malaysia is and always has been (by law) a majority Malay/Muslim state, complete with a state religion (Islam), lifestyle police (JAKIM, et al), a dual-track legal system (with Islamic law having the edge), and ever-increasing (Islam-inspired) restrictions on the richer, but outnumbered non-Muslims. The Muslim insistence on permanent dominance in all spheres of national life causes endless tensions and unhappiness within the key (non Muslim) commercial and business communities.

Malaysia still heavily relies on its more entrepreneurial, non Muslim minority to generate the majority of revenue and an outsized portion of the GNP. In a scheme that is ‘jizya’ in all but name, these same non Muslims pay most of the taxes, and the resulting government largess is reserved mostly for Muslims via entitlement programmes (i.e. NEP) that are politically untouchable. This same embattled minority is also largely responsible for what economic growth Malaysia has enjoyed in the first place. This quixotic dependence is a fact of national life and continues to this day.

Korea has regularly-scheduled elections and a multitude of political parties who jockey for votes and compete for power, a show of political dynamism that stands in stark contrast to Malaysia. Malaysia is the only country in the world, to this writer’s knowledge, where the reins of power have been held by one race-based political party (UMNO, or United Malays National Organisation) since the country’s founding. Imagine, say, the United States being run by the same political party for over 200 years that openly and proudly calls itself the ‘United White People’s Party’, and you will begin to comprehend Malaysia. Where, you may be asking, are the other Malaysian political parties? Well, they are either bullied into a UMNO-controlled umbrella group (called Barisan Nasional, or ‘National Front’), or otherwise intimidated into relative impotence. The only genuine opposition party is PAS, a hard-core Muslim Jihadist party that wants to turn Malaysian into a purely shariah state. The unbreakable Malay monopoly on political power ensures this dysfunctional political arrangement will continue indefinitely…unless the whole house of cards somehow collapses (which, year by year, grows increasingly likely).

So, Korea succeeds as few others have, and Malaysia, in the immortal words of Mark Steyn, is among merely the ‘least worst’ of the world’s Islamic states. And why do you suppose that is? What makes Korea different from Malaysia as Dom Perignon is different from tap water?

I would suggest that much of the answer begins with an ‘I’ and ends with a ‘SLAM’.


Anonymous said...

I say man, AJ - the last bit was pretty mean, and not entirely correct lah.
It's the politics of sloth,ignorance, xenophobia and racism that's brought about this predicament.
Islam is just the excuse, they want you to see as a reason for failure- and so they can get defensive.

ShameOnYou4 said...

RPK Is a Sore Loser!!! He is so much like Anwar - they can only see the bad in others except for themselves - that is why the lack of progress and blinded by self-importance !!!

RPK cannot accept facts and truth no matter how hard you throw it at him. He lacks the guts and the courage !!!

ShameOnYou4 said...

I was banned from his blog because I criticise bad practices of ISLAM and the disgusting Malay NEP practices I constantly expose to his readers...

He is too cowardly and spineless to accept the truth!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey lets be fair to RPK, as we know the he was interrogated by the police so he needs to be careful about third party articles.

RED RIBBON said...

So the British made a mistake.....something that was done in possibly good faith has now gone horribly wrong......but Malaysians didn’t suffer nor had they had to defend their “motherland” with blood and tears as the Koreans and MacArthur see they had McArthur and by extension the Americans who trudged the Koreans the right path, of course the Koreans were themselves disciplined and had the resolve unlike the Filipinos,.....the British not only "left" Malaya but during Mahathir's time were even spat at.....Malaysia with its enterprising minority is on its own.....perhaps to oblivion….and must now ready its women to work as maids and its men as laborers overseas......sure Malaysia had it all....location, infrastructure, natural resources, etc....but hey …....just because you scored 20A1s in your exams doesn’t mean you will end up a Lim Goh Tong.....

TheWrathOfGrapes said...

/// As a tiny independent city-state, and without any natural resources to speak of, Singapore has become as rich (per capita speaking) and as advanced as Korea, or as most anywhere else in the First World. ///

Just a slight correction. I think Singapore has always been ahead of South Korea in terms of per capita GDP. The gap was quite wide previously, but Korea is closing in.

As at 2006, Korea's per capita GDP (ppp) was US$24,500; Singapore's was US$31,400. For comparison, Malaysia's was S$12,900.

Should the title be "A Tale of Three Countries"?

Anonymous said...

...........Singapore had not been expelled in 1965, this mighty economic engine would still be Malaysian territory and could have greatly enriched the country......


Don't agree with your opinion above. It should be the opposite. If Singapore were to come under the rule of Malaysia. They won't be better than Penang either. Just another state of UMNO puppet. From bad to worst.

The Singaporean are actually very thankful to LKY for making this bold decision of separation from peninsula. Luck was on their side at that time. This was to me by the Singaporean themselves.

The Anti-Jihadist said...

anon @ 12:30am:

Good point you have. If Singapore had stayed in Malaysia, it would have more than likely been just another Penang, which has been economically emasculated, politically dhimmified, and rendered to just a shadow of its former colonial glory. I bet a lot of Penangites secretly wish the Brits would come back.

As for Singapore's departure from the federation, my understanding is that Singapore was kicked out by the Tunku, regardless of LKY's objections to it. LKY was heartbroken in the wake of the expulsion, and he's freely admitted that.

No one could have had any idea at that time that the 'calamity' was a blessing in disguise for Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh shameonyou4 no wonder no more posting from you on MT but I guess you still read MT, don't you?

Anonymous said...

RPK own MT
The deal is: "Nak baca, baca. Tak nak percaya, jangan percaya. Dahlah baca free, nak demand macam-macam pulak" said...

The fate of Sarawak was not as lucky as Singapore.

Anyway, thank Anti-jihadist for the good write up. I guess RPK intention was to protect his blog from further harrasement by the PDRM.

since u start the ball rolling. i would like you and the readers here to read this website about i-slam. cos i don't see the link in your blog so i thought u might
have not read it before.

to me the articles in the website is really an eye opener and "proven" FACTS all there since 2000 years ago, in the Bible. Pls follow the link below.

Anonymous said...

Malaysia did not plan to kick singapore out. Their idea was to detain LKY. I am not sure if Tunku was part of the plot.
But if tunku kicked singapore out, then ideally, He should be the father of singapore and not LKY as he did not expect to be kicked out.

malaysia is destined to be a backward state simply because the muslims are spending too much time and money worshipping. If you visit any new university or army camps, there will be a mosque situated smack in the middle of the complesx.

The most backwards states in the world are all idol worshipping countries. Some worship stones in mecca, some worship statues, some worship men, like jesus and Kim Jong Il. (It used to be stalin and chairman mao.)

Apart from that, north east asian (chinese/koreans an japs) are hardworking steroid induced robots. They dominate science/maths in US universities. they are indeed a gifted lot.So let us focus on human resource because that is the most gifetd resource from God, not natural resource.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Islam is the cause of our country's malaise. The real culprit is Ketuanaan Melayu. Islam is only a consequence of it and is only conveniently used as a tool to bring together the dominant ethnic group to propagate their agendas.
In the name of ketuanaan some politicians used an excuse (NEP) to rape and plunder the country.
However you are right this country could have been better if not for this misguided policy of unearned entitlements under the guise of NEP. The dominant ethnic group and the country will head for disaster if these politicians are allowed to continue their rape.

Anonymous said...

Islam is not the problem.

It is the intellectually challenged people's interpretation of the religion that is the problem.

Anonymous said...

Separate religion from government.Thats the golden rule no. 1 of a successful country.

Hantu Laut said...


You hit the nail on the head with probity.Malaysia has all the ingredients to turn the clock back.Korea,has all the ingredients for the making of a great nation.

The NEP is the biggest stumbling block to progress for the Malays.It helps to put undeserving wealth in their pockets.The NEP also kills the name of the game 'competition'.Unless, we learned to compete we wouldn't survive in this very globalised world.If it was so easy to make money what do you think is going to happen next....'easy come easy go'...and when the oil wells dried up and the wealthy Chinese left the country what do you think would be the situation?

We must not forget that the 26% Chinese are the main economic engine of this country.Without them most of our commerce and industry would come to a grinding halt.

Remember Uganda, when Adi Amin throws out the Indians and Pakistanis from the country , the economy collapses overnight.Now, they are asking them to come back.

Your article is an eye-opener and should be taken with an open mind.

Anonymous said...

First off, in all fairness, some of the criticism of RPK is not warranted. Ok to criticize but better put up solid reasons backed by logic. Else, one may be suspected to be part of the UMNO cybertroopers whose heads are simply full of shit.

Now, back to the article... it's not so much of Islam per se, which in all objectivity, an unfair statement. Rather, it's the combination of a critical bunch of half-baked brains (aka idiots), laziness, greed, misplaced ethnic pride, self-ritheousness, hyprocracy at its ugliest, double-standards, and hijacking of Islam, the combination of the abovementioned main "ingredients" that has turned Malaysia from a land full of promises into one that full of despairs and scandolous shit.

Port Klang Free Zone... bail out again!

Same shit, different day.
Different PM, same shit.
Same shit, different scandals.
Different sameness...
Simply Same Shit.

Fox Mulder
ps: The Truth is Out There

MalaysianChinese said...

I don't think islam is the reason for malaysia lagging behind.

Is the gov problem.

Like UK, we can have our king and official religion.

why cant we move on?

why everything is have to be so racist? NEP, UMNO, MCA, MIC, all these are racist

I am chinese i respect the king, Daulat Tuanku.

i do not respect UMNO

Anonymous said...

I don't agree it's the religion. Every religion has a fundamental aim to teach good - it's man's interpretation & implementation that causes all these evils. When man tries to play god...can you imagine the mayhem? Come on, what kind of God it is, if it needs mere humans to defend,fight or revenge for it, anytime anyone talk bad about it? Ridiculous! It's the greed of a few, who use religion as a reason to sway and divide the opinions of the people. See how silly human beings are!