Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Malaysia, Where Are We Heading?

Malaysia, Where Are We Heading?

Remember Vision 2020? Isn’t this year we are supposed to achieved “developed” status? The year is about to come to an end. However, far from it, we seem to have lapsed instead into a state of semi-paralysis. Or to be flying in an auto-pilot mood?

I have increasing become less confident about where we are heading.

First the Covid-19 situation. When we only hit single or double digits, we thought we were managing the crisis very well. Indeed, we even gloated about ours vis-à-vis our clever neighbour’s. But for the past weeks, we have seen our numbers piked. It was more than 2000 yesterday, and about 70% of the cases were detected in the most urban part of the country – the Klang Valley! And the virus seems to be lurking everywhere.

Our Heath Director-General Dr Nor Hashim continues to update us on a daily basis. But are we confident that he is in full control of the situation now? I for one think the statistics that are being dished out day in and day out do not really reflect the situation in the Covid-19 management of the country. I suspect they contain omissions and reflect non-timely reporting in many instances. To me, the behaviour of the occurrence graph does not quite conform to statistical norms. Besides telling us this and that clusters, we don’t seem to hear much about strategies or longer-terms plans or contemplations. People like me living in the Klang Valley, we also do not know where we should refrain visiting or the places to avoid. Clusters are quite meaningless to men-in-the-street; people are not confined to the clusters that have been named, are they? Be that as it may, let’s don’t pour too much cold water onto this good doctor who is trying his absolute best to contain the virus.  

Second, an order of vaccine has already landed in Changi Airport. What has happened to our orders? Arriving next February? And nothing from China? But before the vaccines arrive, we are already hearing some rent-seeking moves. Hope they are not true. But given the frequency of these occurrences, we can only hope.

Third, the FDI or the foreign direct investment. It is reported that Malaysia only managed to corner 5% of the ASEAN cake. What happened? I thought we ranked high in the eyes of foreign investors? I dread touching on race and religion; but isn’t time for us to do some soul searching about them and about our education system?

Fourth, our recent Budget. It has been passed by the Parliament. Can we spend our way to recovery without talking about the future of the country’s finances? We appear to be stepping into the middle-income trap. I remember most of my contemporaries were able to buy a decent roof over our head three of four years after entering the work force, even though bank interest was something like 12% then. Many graduates in our country today can only do so with the help of their parents!

Fifth, the one-time-too-often interruptions in our water supply in the Klang Valley. Irresponsible dumping? Sabotage? We deserve a better answer!

Yet, we can get so worked out over someone’s marriage to a sports celebrity in India. Just because they are of different faiths.

Sad indeed.

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