The Malaysian economy is ailing because of the incompetence of leaders, most of whom were selected not because of their knowledge and competency, but mostly to fulfil a political agenda.
Many such leaders gained their positions through patronage, rather than the ability to handle the complexities of good governance.
The current government with 70-plus ministers, special functions envoys, and advisors, has failed to maintain a progressive economic, social, and institutional development that could provide and sustain an acceptable standard of living.
It has been unsuccessful in reinvigorating the economy to ameliorate the sufferings of the people.
In fact, the country and the people are worse off under its watch, for the simple reason that the so-called “peoples’ representatives” spend most of their time politicking to serve their own agenda, rather than doing honest work and thinking of ways to alleviate the people’s sufferings.
It appears it has no clue on how to address the declining value of the ringgit and the current food shortages – conveniently blaming it on the Russia-Ukraine war, climate change, and on countries restricting their exports of basic commodities. But not their own incompetence.
A thinking, altruistic government would have presaged such eventualities. However, a government concerned only with holding on to power against all eventualities, will only be able to react to a crisis. Such is the nature of the current government.
The adverse political culture of incompetence, greed, and cronyism did not happen overnight. It has been nurtured for over 60 years.
The country’s wealth has been squandered through government projects and approved permits given to cronies. There is also a certain privileged class who appears to have priority over the awarding of projects.
Then, there is also the proliferation of government-linked companies (GLCs) and statutory bodies that exacerbate things.
The aftermath of such practices has brought about the current economic and political debacle, not to mention the many horrendous corruption scandals.
But the worst part is that this unbridled corruption and malfeasance has engendered a value system, not just within the ruling party, but in other Malay-based political parties – from the Peninsula to East Malaysia – that is anathema to ethical and moral standards.
As a result, the Malays have accepted corrupt practices as a norm, and have no qualms of not only supporting corrupt leaders, but dignifying them.
For them, these leaders can do no wrong. The worst part is acknowledging that it is all right to be corrupt, and ethically and morally deficient, as long as one is a Malay, and a Muslim.
There are also those who are facing a barrage of corruption charges and are tainted with corrupt practices but still hold on to top leadership positions within their political parties.
Such prevailing adverse attitude undermines the moral and ethical precepts of traditional Malay sensibilities.
The current modern Malays are bereft of such ethos in their behavioural patterns. For them, power, greed, and position rule over all other sensible matters.
This is evident in the current posture of the ruling party, which appears unconcerned about the economy and the sufferings of the citizenry, but is pushing to have a general election as soon as possible.
They appear unperturbed by the potential consequences of such a move that could adversely impact the people.
What it does is, sing the usual, and “overused” mantra – that its actions are solely for the benefit of the masses.
As such, the country is reeling under incompetent and corrupt leadership, compromising the integrity of institutions that are supposed to curb abuses by the powerful and the politically connected, in order to ensure accountability and transparency.
The government also delayed institutional reforms that would curb their excesses and abuse of power, and make them accountable to the rakyat.
To save this country from the current maelstrom of corruption and abuse of power, there has to be a systemic change in the fundamentals of governance, based on ethical and moral principles, in ensuring that the country’s wealth benefits the people.
No amount of economic and social reengineering will be successful if those running the government are those that have brought ruin to the country.
We need a fresh start, with fresh faces, and fresh attitudes, ideas, and dreams that are not tainted with personal greed and corrupt agenda.
This, however, cannot be achieved overnight. It will take at least another two general elections to weed out the privileged class, the corrupt, and the bigots that are detrimental to the development of this country.
The forthcoming general election should be used as a platform to jump-start this initiative of cleansing our beloved country we call Malaysia.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.