Selangor vs. Singapore March 4, 2008Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Malaysia, Politics.
Tags: BN, developed, Khir Toyo, Selangor, Singapore
A well-written letter in Malaysiakini yesterday.
Selangor vs Singapore?
Benjamin Tan | Mar 3, 08 4:29pm
I read with great interest when Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo recently commented that Selangor is in a position to compete with our southern neighbour, Singapore. He said that in a few years times, the country’s so-called ‘most developed state’ would be in par with the city state of Singapore. Anyone reading his comments should take it with a pinch of salt and I hope this will not be another reason for fellow Singaporeans to laugh at us kampung boys again.I am sorry to inform Khir Toyo that as time passes, the gap between the city state and Selangor will only widen, and there is no way that Selangor could play catch up with Singapore if it continues to be ruled by the same kind of people who have failed Selangor (in this case), and the nation since our independence. The fact that there is a need to make comparison with Singapore, is also testimonial that Selangor has failed under his leadership.
If Khir Toyo, like most Umno leaders, thinks that the tallest towers, biggest airports, grandiose mosques and LRT (Light Rail Transit) are key ingredients to a ‘developed state’ then Selangor is once again, doomed to failure and might as well set its target to compete instead with places like Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya, Brunei, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Iran. In contrast, Singapore has leaders who think, and think hard, and would simply not jump into the foray to construct mega-projects for the sake of being the world’s biggest and tallest or what-not.
Many people in the Klang Valley think that the nation’s economic centre already has an infrastructure that is equivalent to the First World. Even this is wrong. The LRT and Komuter train systems are not only slow and inefficient; they are inconvenient to many passengers in terms of network linkages and station facilities. One just needs to go down south and take a ride on Singapore’s MRT to know what a fully integrated and efficient transportation system means.
How can we have a first world mentality when we are not encouraged, and in this case, not even allowed, to ask questions? Hence, as Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi suggested, we cannot compare oranges to apples, as they are different. We should never compare ourselves with the hardworking Thai and Vietnamese natives who have never heard of special rights before, let alone with the merit-oriented Singaporeans.
How different do the governments of Selangor and Singapore work? In Selangor, development projects are expected to benefit only the Muslim segment of the population. Constructing additional Chinese schools is not allowed unless they are ‘replaced’ with other Chinese schools with low enrollments. Approval to construct churches and Hindu temples are hard to come by, let alone receive allocations from the state.
Singapore, on the other hand, might spend more on value-added projects for the various segments of its society, such as the Housing Development Board (HDB) projects which are expected to benefit the poor, regardless of race and religion. I would also like to congratulate the Singapore government which I think has performed considerably well in inculcating high moral values and a sense of respect among its citizens.
One might note that the seemingly less religious Singapore is also considered to be much more efficient and corrupt-free than Malaysia. Having lived in Selangor for the past ten years, I cannot think of a single thing for which we are considerably better than our southern neighbour.
Considering that both the nation’s ‘most developed state’ and the city state were previously on par with each other at the time when we were separated, one might feel ashamed and restless that at this point of time, we are far behind our southern neighbour in almost all aspects that one could think of. And yet we have shameless leaders who see it fit to compare this ‘sad case of a state’ with the highly successful Singapore.
Umno leaders (especially Selangor’s) might feel offended by reading my simple and basic comparison between Selangor and Singapore. Their reaction could well be predicted – they will ask people who are unhappy with the current state of affairs to just migrate to Singapore. Well, this is exactly the type of attitude and behaviour that deters Selangor from becoming a fully developed state.
They simply cannot understand that the key ingredient to becoming a fully developed state is as simple as having the right attitude and priorities in place. In this case, Selangor has fared badly.
Of course, shameless leaders could still declare their states as ‘fully developed’ since the benchmarks set by them only, or as what they frequently tell us, mengikut acuan sendiri.