Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Hantu Laut

Pak Lah says don't compare Singapore with Malaysia.Read it here.

He says you can't compare "first-class grapes(Singapore) and first-class apples(Malaysia).

In the first place, metaphorically speaking, there are no 1st class grapes and 1st class apples in both English and the Malay language.There are only sour grapes and bad apples in English.

In the " The Fox and the Grapes" fable by Aesop, the fox made many attempts to find a way to reach the grapes hanging high on a vine but failed to reach it, retreated and said "The grapes are sour anyway"

The moral of the story is, it is easy to despise something you can get.

Who should we compare ourselves with in this region, Burma, Philippines or maybe Timor Leste ? Would that be a fair comparison ? What about Zimbabwe in Africa that has a whopping inflation rate of farcical 66,000 percent, where everyone is a millionaire but poor and a loaf of bread costs over 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars.

Isn't it natural that we compare with the best or the better ones rather than with something inferior to us.Wouldn't it be natural that we chose Singapore as a model due to its thumping success and close proximity to us.

Pardon me, Mr Prime Minister, I don't think Singapore is a first-class grapes, I think it is a 'chilipadi' and a 'buah keras'. Malaysia could have been a hotter chillipadi and a tougher buah keras if there where less corruption, nepotisn and cronyism. We have bigger land area, bigger population and much more natural resources than that tiny dot south of us. They have nothing but brains that have made them the envy of many nations and one of the highest per capita income in the world. Singapore is the touchstone for other countries especially Malaysia.

Three weeks ago you said Malaysia was the 6th most competative country in the world, now you say we are the 8th in the world. Which is the correct one?

I tell you what, both of your figures were wrong, cooked up by your good-for-nothing MOF boys.Why didn't they give you the source of their information so your humble citizens can check the validity of your claim.

The correct information, if you want to know and for all Malaysians to know are shown below.These are ratings done by IMD, a leading business school in Switzerland and WEF (World Economic Forum)

Overall Scoreboard 2007 (PDF, 151)

WEF World Competative Ranking

From the chart you would notice Malaysia's ranking for 2007 was 23rd by IMD and 21st by WEF, not 6th or 8th as given to you by your MOF boys who probably did a stitch-up on you.

I do agree with you that the Malaysians economy has been doing fairly well the past few years but at the same time the costs of living has also jumped up making life difficult for the average Malaysians. It is the middle and lower income group who are taking the brunt of the higher prices.

Last but not least, the disinformation must stop.


SM said...


It is said that a liar cannot remember what he has said (or something like that). Typical of our PM!
Of course he does not want us to compare with Singapore. Becasue we will start with comparing the Economies & then we will compare the leaders & we all know how pathetic our BN leaders are compared with the Singaporean leadership!
Let's compare ourselves with Myanmar and Philippines. Wow! We are really good lah!

Hantu Laut said...

It was Abraham Lincoln who said "No man has a good enough memory to make a succesful liar"

I suppose he is not a pathological liar and not very good at it, more a flip-flop I would say.

Malaysians politicians are always jittery when someone compare this country with Singapore.

Mat Salo said...


If it was up to me, I would swallow my pride and ship a truckload of my top civil servants and a whole bunch of my Ketua Pemuda's, State Excos across to become understudies there. As a PM, I myself might seek mentoring from Minister Mentor himself. But this ain't gonna happen because we have this high-falutin' (unwarranted, of course) views of our self-aggrandizing selves and self-importance.

It's also going to be embarrassing because quite a few of our Ministers can barely string two English sentences together properly. Remember Mike Tyson and his "prestation"?

The irony is what makes S'pore great is because of M'sians, or ex- M'sians who are at the service of the the gov't there.

I'm dropping names here, but a classmate of mine from JB in the early seventies (Chinese of course) is now a top aide to LHL. His brilliance while in university at NUS had not gone unnoticed. And the SG gov't had pursued him, giving him scholarships to doctoral levels in the US. Will such a talent be noticed in Malaysia? Never.

That's why in my opinion the faster we get away from race-based politics they better we're able to compete. In short, meritocracy, albeit with a more guided approach.

An even greater irony is this friend of mind had never given up his M'sian citizenship because he dearly loves his country and wants to return and contribute.

On an unrelated theme, he also reminded me of what's it's like to be Chinese in Malaysia. It's like falling in love with a girl but getting no response in return: the love unrequited, spurned, rejected. I've been in that situation before. I know how THAT feels...

Powerful entry H-L and so beautifully written.

SM said...

Mat Salo,

You hit the nail on the head bro! Exactly. That's why the Singaporean Govt. has the ASEAN (or is it Asian) Scholarship every year. They take the best from the region, educate them, give them all that they need to excel & then when the time is right offer them positions in the Govt. with a very good Salary & Perks.
There are lots of Malaysians (especially Chinese & Indians & believe it or not a few Malays who work Overseas) who would dearly love to come back to contribute.
Years ago one of my friends (after Graduation & after a 2 years work experience in the US) came back to try to get a job here. Hahahaha...he could not even get an interview!
Today he "heads" one of the Accounts Departments in one the biggest Telecommunication Companies in the US (by the way he still does not want to give up his Malaysian Citizenship).

Mat Salo said...


Thanks, Sir and this is where we should emulate S'pore. They have a respect for talent and pay high heed for human resources. That's because being a ZERO resource country they have nothing to fall back on. This applies to companies too. PEOPLE are the greatest assets. Better than oil or coal.

It's time M'sian gov't look beyond skin and seriously pursue good talent to face the challenges ahead. For a start we must somehow get the right leaders to effect change.. but this is beyond me, anyway.

H-L, sorry for the "hijacking".

Hantu Laut said...

Mat Salo,

No problem.

It's true there is nothing wrong for us to learn from each other and learning the good things from Singapore is not going to make us look stupid and less capable.

Do you know when Malaysia wanted to build the KLIA where they sent their civil servants to study about the running of airports? Most went to the West, when they have one of the best airports in the world at their doorstep.

I think it's time our leaders get rid of their false pride and start working toward Malaysia, we are better than Singapore instead of don't compare us with Singapiore.

There are many successful Malaysians working in S'pore, who would have been an assets to this country have they not been ignored by the government.

One good example is Datuk Andrew Sheng who was once the Chief Economist in Bank Negara, most qualified and potential candidate for Governor. He knew he has no chance to be one, left the bank and went to Hong Kong.

Below are his career and glorious credentials:

From October 1998 to September 2005, Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew
Sheng was the Chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

He was seconded to the World
Bank, Washington, DC, as Senior Manager, Financial Markets and Payments
Systems, Financial Sector Development Department from 1989-1993. He
became the Deputy Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority from
1993 to 1998, responsible for the Reserves Management and External
Departments. He was the Chairman of the Technical Committee of IOSCO, the
International Organization of Securities Commissions and international
securities regulation standard setter from October 2003 to September 2005.
Since October 2003, he has been the Convenor of the International Council of
Advisers to the China Banking Regulatory Commission. In March 2006, he was
appointed as a member of the Governing Council for the International Centre for
Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) and a member of the Board of the Qatar
Financial Centre Regulatory Authority.

It's time Malaysia starts respecting brains, not just money, especially easy money.

Anonymous said...

Please stop blaming the Malaysian Government for the lack of suitable jobs. Malaysia is not a welfare state, its Government does not guarantee jobs for every single citizen, although it has the moral imperative to do so.
If a person cannot find a job, he must recognise the real cause of his problem, whether it is due to general economic conditions, oversupply of workforce, incompatible skills, unrealistic demand, or other reasons.
BTW, Singapore has its own problems too. Life over there is not a bed of roses. My point is this: Malaysia is not a bad place to stay in if not for its racial problems.