There are more positives than negatives about Malaysia

There are more positives than negatives about Malaysia

By Datuk Beatrice Maria Nirmala

I BELIEVE in Malaysia. I love being a Malaysian. We are a wonderful, unique and hardworking people with warmth and simplicity in our hearts.

We are, however, a nation of extreme polarities. In more ways than one. And this leads, like the Brownian motion in Physics, to a seemingly random nature of our collective movement forward.

There are those with their heads in the sand, who are unable to see or refuse to acknowledge the fundamental problems that plague our country.

And then, there are those who think that everything is bad about the country. That it is in the worst shape that it has ever been in.

The reality is that we definitely have a lot to improve on — but we are actually very blessed in many ways. Malaysia is probably the most fortunate country in Asean.

Unlike some of our neighbours, we are pretty much self-sufficient and do not depend on imports for basic necessities like food and water.

We do not have a government that is overthrown every few years because the generals decide that the people need to see tanks on the streets.

We were not under the rule of a dictator, who in 20 years stole so much money that nearly 40 years after his overthrow, the country has yet to recoup the losses.

We were not bombed to kingdom come during a two-decade plus civil war. We were not ruled by a genocidal bunch of fanatics who murdered one-third of our population. We are not plagued by internal conflict.

We are not situated on any major earthquake fault line. We do not have any active volcanoes. Whatever natural disasters we have, as bad as they may be, pale in comparison to what some of our neighbours go through.

We have a wealth of natural resources. Agricultural products, oil, palm oil, natural gas, tin, rubber, copper, and so much more.

Add to that the fact that we have quite good infrastructure. We are not plagued by extreme poverty or wealth disparity, and our people live in peace with one another.

So yes, maybe it is time some of us recognise that, all things considered, there are more positives than negatives about Malaysia.

Funnily, outsiders are more likely to know and recognise what is good about Malaysia. KLIA is without a doubt one of the best airports I have ever been to, in terms of services and facilities.

It is not just the airport though. There are so many things in Malaysia that can match, and are even better than, those found in other “more developed” countries.

The Klang Valley MRT? Fast, modern, efficient, affordable. The New York subway? Let me ask you this — what fragrance do you prefer accompanying your commute? Urine or vomit?

There is a reason why Port Klang is the 12th busiest port in the world. A reason why surgeons and medical staff the world over use Malaysian-made latex medical gloves.

A reason why tech giants such as Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. chose to locate their semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Penang. A reason why aerospace industry leaders such as Boeing, Airbus and Rolls-Royce have their regional operations in Selangor.

We just don’t do enough storytelling. When we started International Business Review nearly 20 years ago, we did it with the aim of championing the best of Malaysian-based industries, of giving them and government agencies the opportunity to shout out their stories.

And later on, as we transitioned from pure publishing to public relations and communications, The IBR Asia Group helped them tell their stories in different platforms and media.

We did it for a who’s who of Malaysian corporations and agencies — Genting Malaysia, Maybank, Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, CIDB, the Energy Commission, IGB Bhd, KPJ Healthcare Bhd, National Heart Institute, Sirim Bhd, numerous state governments and federal ministries.

Those years of working with these organisations and more, either through IBR magazine or other ventures, have taught me one thing. We have a lot to be proud of in Malaysia. Our people are driven and we have what it takes.

But we are getting overtaken by our neighbours. Therefore, we need to understand the why. Malaysia needs to urgently address these issues, especially in the Asean context, which I will elaborate on soon. NST

The writer is IBR Asia Group chief executive officer, VOICE OF ASEAN founder and DEWI of Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman

There are more positives than negatives about Malaysia

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