As potential future leaders of Malaysia, what are your aspirations for this country?

This was a little harder to sort out. With 395 people who spoke their minds, there was a wide range of subjects covered, from the practical (better governance, improving education), to the philosophical (“change needs to come from within”).

Below are some of the most often-cited hopes, and some thoughtful comments to make us all reflect on what we can do to make this country a better place.

General Hopes and Aspirations:

To become a developed nation

Social transformation

Political transparency and maturity

Equal treatment for all Malaysians

Fair dividends to East Malaysian states

Good and just governance

Institutional integrity and independence

Education system that emphasizes critical thinking

Unity among Malaysians towards nation building

Establishment of multi-party (non-racially aligned) democratic political system

More liberal country

Professional work ethic

Equitable state, better human rights record

New generation of leaders to solve problems of our present

More research and development, more MNCs

An end to corruption

Interesting comments:

That it’s citizens move towards educating themselves, for themselves. Education is not limited to formal education, but the process of learning… everything. I’m optimistic because I know a group of young Malaysians who are motivated to return based on a genuine commitment to ensure progress and development. Parliament needs to become more civilised and pass legislation rather than allow politicians to treat it as a playing ground; transport needs to be upped; the educational philosophy is in dire straits;….. But above all, the citizens (young and old) need to realise that hoping for better prosperity alone isn’t going to help the country. Progress can only be made when the citizens of a country feel committed to making it a better place. The strongest nations of the present world gained success not only through financial, imperialist, physical means; their citizens seem to have a powerful (sometimes irrational) desire to see the country prosper. And I’ve heard the ‘Malaysia die liao lah. Go overseas and DON’T COME BACK’ rant long enough to know that it hasn’t done us any favours. Change needs to happen. Only if we want it to.

It is better that change come from within, and in particular, from the major race in this country. As with most other things, the change that needs to happen is a mindset change. Malaysia needs to be more liberal. I particularly dislike the need for religious authorities to clamp down on people and dictate what is right and wrong in their personal lives. I hope the country can remain multi-cultural, multi-lingual, economically sound and a vibrant place where people from across the world would like to live, work and play at.

I’d like to see it finally become a progressing country, as opposed to a developing one – there’s quite a bit of difference.

I think we tend to forget that government is different from people. While I think the political arena is disastrous, I believe in my fellow Malaysians. No matter how long it takes us to get there, we will one day have the good, clean and progressive government that we want and need even if the system has to crash and burn in order to revive it. I hope one day Malaysia will also truly be a melting pot of cultures which not only co-exist but also appreciate one another for who we are, fellow Malaysians 🙂

A complete overhaul of the current leaders is necessary. It will take a very special group of people, regardless of ethnicity, to seize control of the political system; to have only a few individuals slowly trying to work to the top is not going to be successful. Once we have stability and common sense in our leaders, only then will Malaysia can begin to aspire for something. 
Malaysia shouldn’t aspire to be Singapore. Singapore is what it is today due to a variety of reasons, many of which Malaysia do not share. I firmly believe Malaysia has the potential to be a bigger and better development hub in South-east Asia than Singapore if taken towards the right direction.

I aspire for Malaysians to realise our full potential and capaitalise on them. I think the biggest loss in Malaysia are in inefficiencies, bureaucracy (which on the other hand, I realise CANNOT and unoptimal to be done away with completely), corruption and inter-racial bickering.
One other major impact of having people come back to Malaysia is making the general pool of population a more educated one, and more selfless towards the development, environment and community welfare. I am for good municipalities, Malaysians who bother to recycle, and not the “as long as my family is rich and well-fed, I don’t care about anyone else” attitude.
The very training we get living under developing countries’ laws, regulations and attitudes is essential to nurture this 1st-world mindset- which is much softer than how high up Malaysia is on the Human Development Index or any other UN indices.
If Malaysians abroad don’t come home, we will be left to DETERIORATE, with what’s left at home, quite literally!

I dream of a Malaysia where the old guard has been removed. The younger generation, our generation, seem to have a far progressive mindset and mentality with regards to race, religion and social issues. Malaysia needs these voices to stand-up, remove the moral policing and extremist religious sentiments, completely separate religion and race from politics, and improve the education system including removing the “jenis” type schools which, though tend to produce good exam results, foster racial segregation. The corruption and lack of transparency has reached a point where the “rakyat” have given up on any possibility of fixing the system and this has contributed to the brain-drain problem, as most people who have the opportunity to leave are taking it.

Aspire to replicate same professionalism and work ethic as abroad: a system that treats every worker with respect, value all workers opinion, opportunities to use potential, very low bureacracy ( seniority doesnt exist abroad, its all by merits) and has high efficiency.

Economically speaking – we are actually perfectly positioned to mediate between 3 key influential cultures – the English speaking world, the oil-rich Middle-East, and China’s booming economy. But my key aspiration is to inspire the nation as a whole to aim beyond economic success – to do things well because they are passionate about them, to have working plumbing before a beautiful front gate, to recognise that different people have different capabilities and that life isn’t simply about making your way to the top of the corporate chain.

Just a note about job prospects, i say it’s important to me, but not in the way that i need to be earning the same amount as i would be earning here, but i need to be able to make some sort of a living in the industry that i want to be working in. i.e: in the arts industry, atm it’s just not possible to make any sort of decent living as a full time performing artist in malaysia and that situation just makes it non-viable for me to even consider going home because i’d either have to do something i don’t enjoy to make some money or starve… :s
*religion-i answered this in a different context. so even if the country went hyper muslim, i would still go back, if it is god’s will for me to go back. so yes, religion is a big factor, but prob not in the way that you’re referring to…

i just want to be able to be honestly and completely proud to be malaysian. i want to come from a respectable country, somewhere that people would want to come visit or even migrate to, in the same way some of us stare in envy of the brits and the americans and hope to be able to come study, live and work here one day, i want others to yearn to come and study, live and work in malaysia one day.

There are things we need to change to enable better lives… Lincoln tried and died, Martin Luther King Jr tried too, so I believe one day there will be change that will enable us to have better governance, better transparency and to be better than the organized chaos we have at the moment.

A nation that values human life and honours God.

Towards a more equitable state, where the gap between the rich and the poor is relatively small, and a state who cares for its migrants, not demonises them as thieves, and does not hold refugees in camps, and giving them the right to work. A nation with a free press, with a BBC-like organisation that provides a reasonably impartial coverage of events, and a more secular state, where every religion realises that they share the same public space, with none dominating over the others. A place where race is a much smaller factor than it is today when it comes to glass ceilings, and every person has equality of opportunity, with the poor given special provision to help them catch up to the rich education-wise.

I plan to work in the field of environmental conservation, so I hope to use what I learnt/will learn from studying in USA to help protect the natural habitats in Malaysia. These ideas are all still in my mind & I’m not sure how I can put them into practice, but I will try: 1. Researching, documenting and marketing valuable properties of species/habitats as a botanist/ecologist; 2. Researching and utilizing environmental psychology to increase the marketability of sustainable practices; 3. Increasing environmental awareness and concern among the public esp among schoolchildren, i.e. environmental education; 4. more likely to come…All these are for the sake of preserving the beauty of our natural heritage AND maintaining the quality of the environment in which Malaysians are living.

Transparency, actual equality, green. That it lives up to its Truly Asia ads.

Secularism; Serious separation of powers; Energetic civic participation in the democratic process; Free and fair elections; Freedom of speech, assembly, association, & conscience; A mature and egalitarian society; Abolition of capital punishment and repressive laws such as the ISA, EO, and OSA; Abolition vernacular schools; Abolition of redundant and irrelevant bumiputera rights; Strictly regulated immigration policies; Gun ownership rights; Strong and independent public institutions that the public can rely on; Establishment of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”; A professional and qualified civil service; A strong and respected figure within ASEAN and Asia; A solid social welfare system that addresses the needs of disadvantaged sections of society; Increased labour rights as well as fair and sufficient remuneration necessary for a decent quality of life (current levels are terribly appalling); Strong labour unions; Minimum wage laws

Like the French Revolution – fraternity, equality and liberty.


One Response to Hopes

  1. III says:

    Would it be a bad thing if the country went ‘hyper-muslim’? What kind of Islam are you referring to?

    Honestly, though, if it went ‘hyper muslim’ by my definition of the term, there is no way in hell that I’d go back to Malaysia. Even as a Muslim, I do wonder sometimes if ‘Islam’ (note the inverted commas please!) is the real problem. Separation of religion and state, I support.

    Equality is important too, of course. Meritocracy is something to strive for, certainly – an ideal, an utopia. But unless it can be shown that implementing meritocracy will help bring about a more balanced society, I think it would be downright wrong if it were implemented as things are now, with the playing ground is as uneven as it is.

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