Wednesday, May 16, 2007



IDR: Singapura Ada Peranan Peringkat Menteri

A Kadir Jasin

[Komen menggunakan pengenalan anonymous tidak akan dilayan. Sila gunakan nama sebenar atau nama samaran yang sesuai. Ulasan yang mengandungi unsur fitnah, hasutan, perkauman dan bahasa kesat tidak akan disiarkan.]

TAJUK utama akhbar The Star hari ini ialah persetujuan antara Perdana Menteri Malaysia dan rakan sejawatannya dari Singapura untuk menubuhkan jawatankuasa khas peringkat menteri bagi membantu menjadikan projek Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar (IDR) “satu kejayaan raksasa.”

Akhbar itu, antara lain, berkata: The warming of relations between Malaysia and Singapore in the last two years was given a further boost when the island republic’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged to support the Iskandar Development Region.

Dua akhbar utama berbahasa Melayu – Utusan Malaysia dan Berita Harian – tidak menjadikan berita itu tajuk utama, tetapi turut menyiarkannya di muka hadapan.

Berita Harian, antara lain, melaporkan: Malaysia dan Singapura bersetuju menubuhkan jawatankuasa khas peringkat menteri bagi memantau pelaksanaan dan memperhalusi (memperhalus) sebarang cadangan berhubung kerjasama pembangunan di Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar (WPI), selatan Johor.

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, berkata jawatankuasa itu akan diterajui sebuah kementerian supaya tidak membabitkan terlalu banyak pihak hingga menjejaskan kelancarannya.

“Jawatankuasa ini akan mengadakan perbincangan dari semasa ke semasa bagi mencari penyelesaian terhadap sebarang isu berbangkit. Kita akan umumkan kementerian yang berkaitan nanti.

“Ada banyak lagi isu yang mungkin berbangkit selepas ini dan kita tak boleh selesaikan dalam satu pertemuan ini," katanya pada sidang akhbar bersama rakan sejawatannya dari Singapura, Lee Hsien Loong, selepas mesyuarat delegasi kedua-dua negara di sini, semalam.

Abdullah berkata, Lee turut mencadangkan supaya satu kemudahan disediakan bagi melancarkan urusan keluar masuk rakyat Singapura yang bekerja atau melabur di WPI.

Utusan Malaysia pula, antara lain, berkata: Malaysia dan Singapura bersetuju menubuhkan sebuah jawatankuasa khas peringkat menteri khusus untuk Wilayah Pembangunan Iskandar (WPI) di Johor yang antara tugas awalnya adalah memperincikan penggunaan kad pintar bagi memudahkan pergerakan keluar masuk orang ramai dari republik itu ke wilayah berkenaan.

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi berkata, jawatankuasa tersebut akan dianggotai oleh menteri tertentu dari kedua-dua negara mengikut isu atau bidang kerjasama yang hendak dibincangkan dan dilaksanakan.

“Menteri terlibat akan memperincikan keputusan-keputusan yang dibuat semasa perbincangan dua hala. Misalnya, dalam isu kad pintar ia perlu meliputi pelbagai aspek termasuk siapa yang akan menggunakannya dan bagaimana memastikan ia tidak mudah diklon.

“Apa yang penting, kita mahu kad pintar itu mudah digunakan dan dapat mempercepatkan urusan keluar masuk bagi kedua-dua negara,” katanya pada sidang akhbar di sini selepas mengucapkan selamat jalan kepada rakan sejawatnya, Lee Hsien Loong yang berlepas pulang petang ini.

Tahniah kepada kedua-dua Perdana Menteri. Dengan pemulihan yang begitu ketara hubungan dua-hala itu, kita bolehlah mengharapkan penyelesaian kepada isu-isu tertangguh yang kebanyakannya memihak kepada Singapura.

Ini termasuklah pembekalan air mentah dengan harga yang sangat murah kepada Singapura, tanah milik Keretapi Tanah Melayu di Singapura dan simpanan rakyat Malaysia yang tersangkut di dalam Central Provident Fund (CPF) Singapura.

Dan siapa tahu mungkin isu penentangan Singapura terhadap pembinaan Jambatan Bengkok dalam wilayah kedaulatan Malaysia juga boleh diatasi segera.

Tapi Hsein Loong dari awal-awal lagi membuat helah dengan mengatakan bahawa isu tertangguh sukar diselesaikan.

Perkembangan ini, mengingatkan blogger tua seperti saya mengenai tahun-tahun awal Pembangunan Luar Bandar ketika mana negara kita begitu daif sehingga terpaksa meminta bantuan negara-negara luar.

Sebab itulah kita ada Rancangan Felda Kampung New Zealand kerana negara itu memberikan bantuan teknikal membuat kajian awal projek berkenaan.

Itu pun kerajaan kita pada waktu itu amat waras dan cukup berhati-hati meminta bantuan luar demi menjaga keselamatan dan maruah negara.

Oleh sebab itulah ia memberi keutamaan kepada kerjasama dengan agensi pembiayaan antarabangsa seperti Bank Dunia, Bank Pembangunan Asia dan Bank Pembangunan Islam dan bukan dari negara individu.

Berita lain yang penting ialah kenaikan 15 sekilo harga tepung gandum yang berupa barangan kawalan. Menteri Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna, Mohd Shafie Apdal berkata kenaikan itu tidak dapat dielakkan.

Siapa pengedar utama tepung gandum di negara kita?

Menteri Kewangan Kedua, Nor Mohamed Yakcop pula berkata fokus Belanjawan 2008 ialah menjaga golongan "makan Gaji" agar tidak dibenani kenaikan harga barang.

Apa hal orang yang tidak makan gaji, tidak ada gaji, yang bersara, kerja sendiri atau menganggur?

Berita Harian menyiarkan dua berita itu sebelah menyebelah di muka hadapannya.

29 comments:

Daily Nibbler said...

Dato, saya bukan anti pembangunan tetapi yang saya lihat ni, kerajaan beria ia sangat nak Singapura melabur di IDR. Sampai ada menteri nya di jawatan kuasa yang di tubuh khas. Seolah dengan tiadanya Singapura IDR tak boleh di bangunkan langsung.

Itupun tiada perjanjian berapa banyak akan di laburkan, di sektor mana, di kawasan mana, boleh mejana berapa banyak pekerjaan, wang perlaburan, sebagainya.

langit biru said...

IDR: Perlukah peranan Singapore? Tak mampukah Malaysia menjayakannya sendiri?

joe penang said...

datuk
Singapura sekarang terlalu istimewa dibandingkan ketika TDM menjadi PM.
Apahal nak tubuh jawatankuasa peringkat menteri? Ini bukannya spt IMT-GT yg melibatkan wilayah2 negara berkenaan. Tak tahulah saya jika WPI tu merupakan wilayah bersama Singapura dan Malaysia.
Jangan harap harga barangan lain akan tetap maintain. Tepung merupakan bahan asas cam minyak & beras. Tambahan lagi berapa kali minyak naik. Berapa kali gaji(awam & swasta) pekerja naik?

marn said...

Tok..

1st. Malaysia is on and for sale now.

2nd. Orang makan gaji saja yang dok bayaq cukai pintu, jalan, kereta, tanah dll ka?

Ni la orang tetua cakap: Limau purut tiga serangkai, buta perut tadak akai.

dukperati said...

datuk,

kalau ikut apa yg dikata oleh menteri kewangan 2 tu...sementara nak tunggu budget...bolehlah peniaga naik harga brg suka-suka mereka...

diharap akan ada menteri yg akan bagi cadangan mcm lim keng yaik...tak mau bayar harga naik...jgn beli tepong....

indeks klse naik..semua suratkhabar publish kata pelabur confident dgn ekonomi malaysia..sedangkan rakyat biasa tak dapat apa2 faedah pun dari kenaikan itu..yg rakyat dapat minyak naik, tol naik, tepung naik, letrik naik, astro naik, gaji tak naik2...naik gaji nanti ha pesta naik lagi....yg naik2 membebankan rakyat..depa buat kerin....

Bimmer said...

Dato,
IDR, Tepung dan Minyak. Apakah kerajaan sekarang ini tidak dapat membezakan di antara kehendak dan keperluan?

Berita dari gunung said...

Dato dan pembaca.

Untuk daily nibbler, saya rasa dari awal-awal lagi PM cuba sampaikan pada rakyat tentang SJER/IDR bercirikan penglibatan Singapura.

Lebih kurang ayat PM suatu ketika dulu "they have so much money".

PM adalah PM. Walau tidak mempamirkan watak yang cergas, cerdas dan alert, beliau tetap PM negara ini. Beliau ada tanggungjawab tertentu.

Kita lahirkan kebimbangan kerana kita terbiasa dengan konsep SWOT analysis. Kekuatan, kelemahan, peluang dan ancaman wajar diperhalusi supaya destinasi dan laluan adalah jelas. Supaya jangan kita terjatuh lubang dalam yang awalnya disangka lopak.

orang kampung said...

Yang kita bising2 kat sini, ada sapa dengarkah? Ke ada orang tidur, tak baca hati perut rakyat biasa? Dok fikir nak tipu next election kaa? Orang kampung tengah marah ni.Negara lain kena cukai will go back to the rakyat (free university education, free medical care) kita ni asyik kena lanyak sahaja, apa hal?? Ni nak kasi orang seberang pulau tu kaya raya lagi kaa? Tak cukup dia spy on us? Sekarang bawak masuk dalam kain?

Ini negara Pak Pandir atau apaaa???

Pang5Husin said...

Dato'

Nampaknya Pemerintah sekarang sudah tidak berupaya sehingga terpaksa melantik Menteri luar utk menyertai komitee pembangunan WPI. Apa tujuan sebenar kita tidak tahu. Tetapi tindakan sebegini boleh mengundang banyak masaalah terutama apabila melibatkan Pemerintah Singapore.

Masa TDM dulu ada juga orang luar dimasukkan ke dalam IAP, tapi bukan mereka-mereka yang ada kuasa politik atau berada dalam pemerintahan sesebuah negara sebaliknya mereka2 yg berjaya dalam bisness, tecnology dll.
Apakah rakyat Malaysia (terutama menteri2) tidak mampu berfikir atau berusaha utk menjayakan sesuatu sehingga terpaksa lantik menteri dari luar? Bodoh sangat ka Menteri atau MP-MP di Malaysia sehingga Menteri Singapora terpaksa dilantaik menyertai komitee?

Semakin hari semakin kelamkabut nampaknya pemerintah hari ini.

Ayah said...

belajar dari sejarah : Ingat macammana mereka dapat lepas dari cengkaman british, hingga akhirnya menjadi daerah merdeka... bukan sehari dua perancanganya tu... ingat karektor Perdana Menteri masa itu...

marn said...

Orang kampung mana yang marah? Nak naik? Naik pi la... Dok sokong jugak time pilihanraya. Tak percaya? Tengok la Ijok dan yang sewaktu dengannya.

Bukannya pesimis. Tapi dah hakikatnya macam tu. Boleh la pi pangkah bagi rosak undi, kalau dah majoritinya suka jugak kerajaan yang ikut suka naik barang2, kita nak kata apa? Semuanya atas nama pembangunan. Kang gomen tadak duit nak 'run' negara.

Tulis surat kat pembesar soh pikiaq pasai kita? Pembesar2 dah berapa lama tak pakai duit sendiri? Semuanya selagi boleh claim, depa claim. Kita jugak yang tanggung kos hasil salah buat keputusan daripada kabinet. Kira ok la boleh kongsi rasa kecewa dan marah kat blog (tengah tak kena sekatan lagi) nih. Heheheheh...

Duit punya pasai dan atas nama pembangunan, kita ajak orang luar JV tadbir tanah kita. Baik ajak British. Depa lagi banyak duit. Eh... silap, baik tak payah merdeka, suruh british perintah dari dulu lagi. Janji kita dapat hasil dan duit masyuk, kira cukup la.

Lepas ni, ntah kawasan mana pulak depa nak JV tadbir?

A KADIR JASIN said...

Sdr Marn, rakyat nampak sokong sebab mereka tiada maklumat tetap. Lagi pun, ini dilema telan mati ibu luah mati bapa atau sebaliknya.

Pada pandangan saya, kemarahan rakyat bukan kepada parti atau kerajaan "per se" tetapi kepada sesetengah pemimpin yang lain cakap tetapi buat lain, tidak cekap dan tidak amanah.

Do we really have a choice. We do, but how many voters dare to try?

Sdr Pang5husin, antara lain mengulas: "Apakah rakyat Malaysia (terutama menteri2) tidak mampu berfikir atau berusaha utk menjayakan sesuatu sehingga terpaksa lantik menteri dari luar? Bodoh sangat ka Menteri atau MP-MP di Malaysia sehingga Menteri Singapora terpaksa dilantaik menyertai komitee?"

Kalau 30 menteri tak cukup lagi dan kita kena bergantung kepada seorang menteri Singapura, saya tak tahu apa nak kata. Kalau saya, saya rasa malulah!

Tapi, apu pun kita kata tentang Singapura, kerajaannya pasti bukan kerajaan half-past six.

LKY tahu jiwa dan minda Melayu. Pengasas politik Singapura yang menjadi tempat bergantung dan permulaan LKY adalah Melayu dan India.

Orang Cina Selat ketika itu kurang berminat tentang politik.

Tapi akhirnya LKY penjarakan atau pinggirkan semua nasionalis Melayu dan pejuang India yang membantu beliau.

Itulah intipati dasar Singapura...berkawan, lepas itu tawan.

Sdr Berita Dari Gunung, yes Singapore has money. But we too have money. Our government is very proud about our rising reserves.

What good is it if we just keep the reserves so that Bank Negara can be proud about it and the Ringgit is strong?

Thank you.

walaweh said...

Dato'

saya nak gelak la kejap dato'

HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

tapi saya tak tahu saya gelak nih kat sapa...........kat diri saya or kat our leader or kat dato' or malaysian.......

to'...........tapi saya gelak nih bukan gelak suka, tapi gelak orang sedih tok.........

max said...

What about looking at it all as natural evolution? Looking at it from a mind detached and void of all political slant, that little island outpost had served as the Peninsular's gateway to the world of global economics in the past - for better and worse.

Both sides of the JB causeway (the gateway dan the hintherland)is geographically and historically predisposed for merger of some sort.

AHIRUDIN ATTAN said...

TheScribe!
Saya pernah respek Nor Mohd Yakcop sebagai seorang pemikir ekonomi negara yang boleh tahan hebatnya. Semasa melapor untuk Business Times, dia dipuji kerana kononnya mempeloporkan konsep Bilateral Payments Arrangement (BPA), skim yang melonjakkan perdagangan dua-hala kita dengan negara2 mundur, terutama dari benua Afrika. BPA menjadi amat ketara selepas NMY dikatakan menyebabkan negara kerugian berbilion ringgit di pasaran wang asing pada awal 1990an (yang menyebabkan Gabnor BN meletak jawatan dan NMY dipindah keluar, kalau saya tak silap). Tuah NMY menjadi-jadi selepas Dr Mahathir mengangkat dia menjadi penasihat ekonomi beliau selepas krisis matawang 1997.

Rupa-rupanya, ramai ahli ekonomi dan politik yang kelihatan hebat pada zaman itu bukan kerana kehebatan mereka sendiri. Rafidah yang begitu garang dan terkemuka semasa zaman Mahathir nampak "biasa saja" (average) di bawah kerajaan Abdullah Badawi. begitu juga NMY yang dulu nampak hebat tetapi sekarang tidak seberapa, walaupun telah diangkat sebagai Menteri Kewangan Kedua.

Tengok pada Pak Lah juga. Dulu, sebagai Menteri Luar dan kemudian TPM, amat hebat keterampilan beliau.

Saya tiba-tiba perasan yang ramai pembesar, pemimpin dan ahli fikir kita dulu hebat-hebat belaka kerana masing-masing bertongkatkan kehebatan. Buang tongkat tersebut, mereka semua nampak pincang, terincut-incut, dan terhegeh-hegeh.

Terima kasih.

marn said...

Tok..

macam mana nak salurkan pada rakyat (orang kampung) akan segala maklumat yang lengkap secara tetap? Kalau dulu ada harakah 2X seminggu, la ni apa dah jadi? Kena sekat. Sebab dok kritik kerajaan. Ada alternatif lain? Ada cadangan?

Marah dan kecewa saya pada kerajaan "per se" sebab depa tak jaga amanah. Marah saya pada semua pembesar yang ada sebab tak halang. Nak halang gumana? Dah jatuh tahap durhaka bila tentang numero uno. Diambil tindakan la. kena jawab dengan lembaga disiplin la. Contoh tak payah pi jauh la. Dalam parlimen, usul dibawa oleh pembangkang (walaupun ada yang bagus untuk rakyat) tak boleh disokong. Sebab melanggar prinsip parti. Sekarang ni, depa tu wakil rakyat ka wakil parti? Sapa yang buang undi untuk depa jadi ahli parlimen sama dewan undangan negeri?

Bila pikiaq balik kan tok, betuila rakyat ni jadi macam kupang tembaga. Macam kain buruk pun ya.

antibelit04 said...

Salam.

Dok sibuk dgn IDR...mana cerita zon-zon ekonomi yg lain tu??..apa program?..nampak sangat lebih tumpukan singapore!!!!! Dok heboh nak tarik pelabur luar tapi nampaknya melebihkan singapore. Orang nak hina..pijak maruah negara pun boleh buat jatankuasa peringkat menteri.....

Saya sebagai rakyat biasa akan pangkah pembangkang buat kali pertama..bukan sebab sukakan pembangkang tapi tak nak jadi bodoh selama-lamanya.

Bila minyak naik dulu..satu raly kenaikan harga barangan telah naik. La nie tepung..satu lagi naik. Belum lagi confirm gaji awam naik.

Ada 5 juta pekerja swasta yg ramai drpnya kerja syarikat kecil-kecil..gaji tahunan pun tak confirm naik..kalau naik pun ciput. La nie sebabkan kakitangan awam (yg gajinya pun dari cukai pendapatan pekerja swasta) naik gaji..kami yg tak ada kenaikan mcm tu terbeban dgn inflasi.

Saya dah tak percaya pd statistik inflasi bank negara...tipu!!! Kenaikan melebihi pa yg dilaporkan.

Semalam je nasi goreng naik 10 sen kat paasr malam.

kedidi said...

Dato dan Bloggers,
Bagi saya Singapura ni...
seperti duri dalam daging
seperti gunting dalam lipatan
seperti antah dalam beras

dan kita pula...
seperti talak tiga
hidung tak mancung
pipi pula yang tersorong-sorong

dah terlepas pulau Temasek
depa kini memburu pula Pulau Batu Putih
Pulau Pisang milik kita di atas kertas lama, nak jejak kaki sampai ke puncak kena hambat dek depa, tapi kita tak pernah-pernah nak belajar dari sejarah, sikit-sikit Singapura jadi contoh dan model, siap pikul batang golf dan berpeluk-peluk sakan lagi...

lepas tu senang-senang cakap Malaysia cemerlang, gemilang dan terbilang...tak malu sungguh!!!

terimakasih

Melayu nusantara said...

Assalamualaikum Dato'

To be seen as a successful leader you need to do big projects and outbid Tun. Better still bring on singapura whom even Tun couldn't muster, not even with a crooked bridge. Seen at the Langkawi meet the pat on the back by LKY son, this project will be a success at last, .....another trump card for singapura.

orang kampung said...

eh..bosan lah dengar kita whining but the world continues to be run by idiots.No wonder in the old days, para nasionalis enggan masuk UMNO kerana more talk than action lantas mereka angkat senjata jadi komunis sebab ternyata itu memberi tentangan hebat terhadap British.

I think we also should take some responsibilities: kalau nasi goreng naik 10 sen...masak je sendiri dan bawak bekal.Kalau tol naik, kita guna public transport or car pool (biar tol sampai tutup!)Jangan makan di luar (biar peniaga sampai turun harga)

Tanam sayur sendiri.

Pada masa yang sama..teruskan usaha meletakkan kerajaan yang lain bagi Malaysia.BN no longer functions...never ever since Tun Razak.

Radzy said...

Nampak nya kita semua hebat dialam maya aje! Berdegar2 mengeluarkan pendapat sedangkan suara2 spt ini entah kemana sampainya! Mungkin kah mereka dipelantaran kuasa membaca, entah tidak. Nampak gaya nye kita ni hanya syok sendiri!

Your posting and comments that followed, are outstanding and pertainant to the present situation. The question is, how many are fortunate enough to have access to cyber world! We can't bring changes to the country or to right the wrongs, if the truths are not reachable to the people at large, especially those in rural areas! These people will maintain the same appreciation of the performances of the country without knowing what is going to hit them!

How many of us who claimed to have knowledge on certain issues go down to the rural areas to explain? So whats going to happen? The people in power just brush aside yours and my cyber views and the people at large still live in ignorance of the issues . Thats explain the presence of the traditional voters who will always become the factor for the government's winning streaks in general or by-elections!!

So lets ponder how best can we dessiminate informations such as this , to the rural areas who are being denied of the truth on most of the issues ! Any way Datuk , I love to read your postings!

bendera merah said...

Salam Datuk;

Saya celah sikit khas untuk sdr RADZ..commenter sdr "Nampak nya kita semua hebat dialam maya aje! Berdegar2 mengeluarkan pendapat sedangkan suara2 spt ini entah kemana sampainya! Mungkin kah mereka dipelantaran kuasa membaca, entah tidak. Nampak gaya nye kita ni hanya syok sendiri!"....saya pi mana-mana forum mesti ada quote ni..tak pa...gua paham..frust to see the bad guys are getting away everyday...atleast posting-posting datuk & commentar yang lain membuat kiter alert dan meremang bulu roma...itu bezanya kiter yang sayang kepada bangsa.negara & agama dgn ikhlas...kalu tidak kiter pi buat demonstrasi mcm depa duk buat dulu habis satu KL...kerja karut...menyusahkan orang..sdr radz
memang org yg tak dapat internet tak leh baca blog-blog ini sedang kan org yg ade internet pun tak reti nak browse depa tau masuk mail je...kalu kiter nak main cyber warfare pehhhh mcm-mcm boleh buat mengalahkan org marketing tapi kiter man-man pasai org melayu banyak budi bicara...peace & keep it up..bagi gua Datuk Akj sure teach me alots in this cyberway.

demi agamaku,bangsaku dan negaraku

idros said...

biarpun saya merupakan anak muda yg baru belajar bertataih mengenai politik negara tetapi saya sudah memahami apa yang telah terjadi pada masa sekarang. Jauh berbeza swaktu Ayahnda TDM memerintah malaysia.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Dato' Kadir

Thought I'd share something with you and the rest, if it hasn't already been circulated and made known. Believe you me, whatever Singapore does, especially with Malay-dominated Malaysia, it would never be a case of "prosper thy neighbour" for the government is a conunbrum whose chauvinistic objective starts and ends with the survival and advancement of the Chinese race. Even mainland China is more outward-looking now than ever.

Mom-o'-Success

The Charade of Meritocracy
October 2006
By Michael D. Barr
The legitimacy of the Singaporean government is predicated on the idea of a meritocratic technocracy. A tiny number of career civil servants play a leading role in setting policy within their ministries and other government-linked bureaucracies, leading both an elite corps of senior bureaucrats, and a much larger group of ordinary civil servants. Virtually all of the elite members of this hierarchy are “scholars,” which in Singapore parlance means they won competitive, bonded government scholarships—the established route into the country’s elite.
Scholars not only lead the Administrative Service, but also the military’s officer corps, as well as the executive ranks of statutory boards and government-linked companies (GLCs). Movement between these four groups is fluid, with even the military officers routinely doing stints in the civilian civil service. Together with their political masters, most of whom are also scholars, they make up the software for the entity commonly known as “Singapore Inc.”—a labyrinth of GLCs, statutory boards and ministries that own or manage around 60% of Singapore’s economy.
The basis of the scholars’ mandate to govern is not merely their performance on the job, but also the integrity of the process that selected them. The educational system is designed to cultivate competition, requiring top students to prove themselves every step of the way. Singapore’s schools first stream students into elite classes after Primary 3 and 4. They then compete for entry into special secondary schools and junior colleges, before vying for government and government-linked scholarships to attend the most prestigious universities around the world.
These scholarships typically require several years of government service after graduation, and the scholars are drafted into the Administrative Service, the officer corps of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), or the career track of a statutory board or GLC. The government insists that all Singaporeans have equal opportunities to excel in the system, and that everyone who has made it to the top did so purely by academic talent and hard work. Other factors such as gender, socioeconomic background and race supposedly play no more than a marginal role, if they are acknowledged as factors at all.
On the point of race, the Singapore government has long prided itself on having instituted a system of multiracialism that fosters cultural diversity under an umbrella of national unity. This is explicitly supposed to protect the 23% of the population who belong to minority races (mainly ethnic Malays and Indians) from discrimination by the Chinese majority.
But this system conceals several unacknowledged agendas. In our forthcoming book, Constructing Singapore: Elitism, Ethnicity and the Nation-Building Project, Zlatko Skrbiš and I present evidence that the playing field is hardly level. In fact, Singapore’s system of promotion disguises and even facilitates tremendous biases against women, the poor and non-Chinese. Singapore’s administrative and its political elites—especially the younger ones who have come through school in the last 20 or so years—are not the cream of Singapore’s talent as they claim, but are merely a dominant social class, resting on systemic biases to perpetuate regime regeneration based on gender, class and race.
At the peak of the system is the network of prestigious government scholarships. Since independence in 1965, the technique of using government scholarships to recruit cohorts of scholars into the administrative and ruling elite has moved from the periphery of Singaporean society to center stage. Even before independence, a makeshift system of government and Colombo Plan scholarships sent a few outstanding scholars overseas before putting them into government service, including most notably former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Yet as late as 1975 this system had contributed only two out of 14 members of Singapore’s cabinet. Even by 1985, only four out of 12 cabinet ministers were former government scholars.
By 1994, however, the situation had changed beyond recognition, with eight out of 14 cabinet ministers being ex-scholars, including Prime Minister Goh. By 2005 there were 12 ex-scholars in a Cabinet of 19. Of these, five had been SAF scholars, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. A perusal of the upper echelons of the ruling elite taken more broadly tells a similar story. In 1994, 12 of the 17 permanent secretaries were scholars, as were 137 of the 210 in the administrative-officer class of the Administrative Service.
The government scholarship system claims to act as a meritocratic sieve—the just reward for young adults with talent and academic dedication. If there is a racial or other bias in the outcomes, then this can only be the result of the uneven distribution of talent and academic application in the community. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong put it when he spoke on national television in May 2005, “We are a multiracial society. We must have tolerance, harmony. … And you must have meritocracy … so everybody feels it is fair….” His father, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, was making the same point when, in 1989, he told Singapore’s Malay community that they “must learn to compete with everyone else” in the education system.
Yet if Singapore’s meritocracy is truly a level playing field, as the Lees assert, then the Chinese must be much smarter and harder working than the minority Indians and Malays. Consider the distribution of the top jobs in various arms of the Singapore government service in the 1990s (based on research conducted by Ross Worthington in the early 2000s):
• Of the top 30 GLCs only two (6.7%) were chaired by non-Chinese in 1991 (and neither of the non-Chinese was a Malay).
• Of the 38 people who were represented on the most GLC boards in 1998, only two (5.3%) were non-Chinese (and neither of the non-Chinese was a Malay).
• Of the 78 “core people” on statutory boards and GLCs in 1998, seven (9%) were non-Chinese (and one of the non-Chinese was a Malay).
A similar outcome is revealed in the pattern of government scholarships awarded after matriculation from school. Of the 200 winners of Singapore’s most prestigious scholarship, the President’s Scholarship, from 1966-2005 only 14 (6.4%) were not Chinese. But this was not a consistent proportion throughout the period. If we take 1980 as the divider, we find that there were 10 non-Chinese President’s Scholars out of 114 from 1966-80, or 8%, but in the period from 1981-2005 this figure had dropped to four out of 106, or 3.8%. Since independence, the President’s Scholarship has been awarded to only one Malay, in 1968. There has been only one non-Chinese President’s Scholar in the 18 years from 1987 to 2005 (a boy called Mikail Kalimuddin) and he is actually half Chinese, studied in Chinese schools (Chinese High School and Hwa Chong Junior College), and took the Higher Chinese course as his mother tongue. If we broaden our focus to encompass broader constructions of ethnicity, we find that since independence, the President’s Scholarship has been won by only two Muslims (1968 and 2005).
If we consider Singapore’s second-ranked scholarship—the Ministry of Defence’s Singapore Armed Forces Overseas Scholarship (SAFOS)—we find a comparable pattern. The Ministry of Defence did not respond to my request for a list of recipients of SAF scholarships, but using newspaper accounts and information provided by the Ministry of Defence Scholarship Centre and Public Service Commission Scholarship Centre Web sites, I was able to identify 140 (56%) of the 250 SAFOS winners up to 2005.
Although only indicative, this table clearly suggests the Chinese dominance in SAFOS stakes: 98% of SAFOS winners in this sample were Chinese, and about 2% were non-Chinese (counting Mikail Kalimuddin in 2005 as non-Chinese). Furthermore I found not a single Malay recipient and only one Muslim winner (Mikail Kalimuddin). A similar picture emerges in the lower status Singapore Armed Forces Merit Scholarship winners: 71 (25.6%) of 277 (as of late 2005) scholars identified, with 69 (97%) Chinese winners to only two non-Chinese—though there was a Malay recipient in 2004, and one reliable scholar maintains that there have been others.
The position of the non-Chinese in the educational stakes has clearly deteriorated since the beginning of the 1980s. According to the logic of meritocracy, that means the Chinese have been getting smarter, at least compared to the non-Chinese.
Yet the selection of scholars does not depend purely on objective results like exam scores. In the internal processes of awarding scholarships after matriculation results are released, there are plenty of opportunities to exercise subtle forms of discrimination. Extracurricular activities (as recorded in one’s school record), “character” and performance in an interview are also considered. This makes the selection process much more subjective than one would expect in a system that claims to be a meritocracy, and it creates ample opportunity for racial and other prejudices to operate with relative freedom.
Is there evidence that such biases operate at this level? Unsurprisingly, the answer to this question is “yes.” Take for instance a 2004 promotional supplement in the country’s main newspaper used to recruit applicants for scholarships. The advertorial articles accompanying the paid advertisements featured only one non-Chinese scholar (a Malay on a lowly “local” scholarship) amongst 28 Chinese on prestigious overseas scholarships. Even more disturbing for what they reveal about the prejudices of those offering the scholarships were the paid advertisements placed by government ministries, statutory boards and GLCs. Of the 30 scholars who were both prominent and can be racially identified by their photographs or their names without any doubt as to accuracy, every one of them was Chinese. This leaves not a shadow of a doubt that those people granting government and government-linked scholarships presume that the vast majority of high-level winners will be Chinese.
The absence of Malays from the SAFOS scholarships and their near-absence from the SAF Merit Scholarships deserves special mention because this is an extension of discrimination against the admission of Malays into senior and sensitive positions in the SAF that is officially sanctioned. The discrimination against Malays has been discussed in parliament and the media, and is justified by the assertion that the loyalty of Malays cannot be assumed, both because they are Muslim and because they have a racial and ethnic affinity with the Malays in Malaysia and Indonesia. Current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has historically been a vocal defender of this policy.
This discrimination hits Malay men hard, first because it deprives many of promising careers in the army, and second—and more pertinent for our study of the elite—it all but completely excludes potentially high-flying Malays of a chance of entering the scholar class through the SAF. A Chinese woman has a much better chance of winning an SAF scholarship than a Malay man.
Yet even before the scholarship stage, the education system has stacked the deck in favor of Chinese, starting in preschool. Here is the heart of Singapore’s systemic discrimination against non-Chinese. Since the end of the 1970s, the principles of “meritocracy” and “multiracialism” have been subverted by a form of government-driven Chinese chauvinism that has marginalized the minorities. It was not known to the public at the time, but as early as 1978, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew had begun referring to Singapore as a “Confucian society” in his dealings with foreign dignitaries. This proved to be the beginning of a shift from his record as a defender of a communally neutral form of multiracialism toward a policy of actively promoting a Chinese-dominated Singapore.
The early outward signs of the Sinicization program were the privileging of Chinese education, Chinese language and selectively chosen “Chinese values” in an overt and successful effort to create a Mandarin- and English-speaking elite who would dominate public life. Two of the most important planks of this campaign were decided in 1979: the annual “Speak Mandarin Campaign” and the decision to preserve and foster a collection of elite Chinese-medium schools, known as Special Assistance Plan (SAP) schools.
The SAP schools are explicitly designed to have a Chinese ambience, right down to Chinese gardens, windows shaped like plum blossoms, Chinese orchestra and drama, and exchange programs with mainland China and Taiwan. Over the years the children in SAP schools have been given multiple advantages over those in ordinary schools, including exclusive preschool programs and special consideration for preuniversity scholarships.
For instance, in the early 1980s, when there was a serious shortage of graduate English teachers in schools, the Ministry of Education ensured there were enough allocated to SAP schools “to help improve standards of English among the Chinese-medium students, in the hope that they will be able to make it to university”—a target brought closer by the granting of two O-level bonus points exclusively to SAP school students when they applied to enter junior college. By contrast, neither Indians nor Malays received any special help, let alone schools of their own to address their special needs. They were not only left to fend for themselves, but were sometimes subjected to wanton neglect: inadequately trained teachers, substandard facilities and resources and the “knowledge” that they are not as good as the Chinese.
This account of discrimination against non-Chinese might lead the reader to assume that the quarter of Singaporeans who are not Chinese must form a festering and perhaps even revolutionary mass of resentment. Such an assumption would, however, be a long way from the mark. Non-Chinese might be largely excluded from the highest levels of the administrative elite, but just below these rarefied heights there plenty of positions open to intelligent and hardworking non-Chinese—certainly enough to ensure that non-Chinese communities have much to gain by enthusiastically buying into the system, even after the glass ceilings and racial barriers are taken into account. There are many grievances and resentments in these levels of society but the grievances are muted and balanced by an appreciation of the relative comforts and prosperity they enjoy. For most, any tendency to complain is subdued also by knowledge that it could be worse, and the widespread assumption among members of minority communities that it will be if they seriously pursue their grievances. As long as the Singapore system continues to deal such people a satisfactory hand, if not a fair one, it should be able to cope with some quiet rumblings in the ranks.
While this discrimination is not sparking a reaction that threatens the regime in the short term, the resulting injustices are certainly undermining the myth that the regime operates on meritocratic principles. This is worrying in the longer term because this myth, along with the capacity to deliver peace and prosperity, is one of the primary rationales by which Singaporeans reluctantly accept the many unpopular aspects of the regime, such as the lack of freedom and democracy, the intrusion of government into most aspects of private life, the pressure-cooker lifestyle and the high cost of living.
The rhetoric of meritocracy has given Singaporeans the consolation of believing that their ruling elite are the best of the best and can therefore be trusted almost blindly on important matters, even if they are highhanded and lack the common touch. As this illusion gradually falls away—and today it is already heavily undermined—the trust that Singaporeans have for their government is becoming increasingly qualified. It remains to be seen how long the regime can avert the logical consequences of the contradictions between the myth and the reality.
Mr. Barr is a lecturer at the University of Queensland and author of Lee Kuan Yew: The Beliefs Behind the Man (Routledge, 2000) and Cultural Politics and Asian Values: The Tepid War (Routledge, 2002).

Anonymous said...

Assamualaikum Dato' Kadir,

Thanks for posting my message and Michael Barr's "The Charade of Meritocracy". I hope it will help fellow Malaysians look at the Malaysia-Singapore relationship from a more enlightened perspective. Having spent the first 23 years of my life as a Singaporean, I can attest to Mr. Barr's well-researched observation and superb analysis of the Singapore government's 'zionistic' approach to running the country. The fact is, Chinese chauvinism and the Zionist factor have blinded the PAP from being a fair government to all its citizens, "regardless of race, language or religion" (to quote part of the pledge I used to say every single morning before class started, during those formative years in school.

Mom-o'-Success

Anonymous said...

Quoting myself: "Believe you me, whatever Singapore does, especially with Malay-dominated Malaysia, it would never be a case of "prosper thy neighbour" for the government is a conunbrum whose chauvinistic objective starts and ends with the survival and advancement of the Chinese race."

Oops!! It should be "conundrum" not "conunbrum". Dyslexic, at times....

Mom-'o-Success

Abdul 'Aleemul-Hakeem said...

Dengan Izin

Terima Kasih
Panjang umur dan murahlah rezeki kamu.

Muhunya kita ingat kata orang tua-tua,Mom-o'-Success:

Ilmu Itu Nyawa
Al-Ruh itu urusanNya.

Anonymous said...

Kepada Saudara Abdul'Aleemul-Hakeem

Terima kasih kembali dan alhamdulillah atas doa saudara, semoga doa yang sama Allah makbulkan untuk saudara dan juga Dato' Kadir yang telah mempermudahkan percambahan ilmu melalui ruang ini.

Walau apapun pendirian kita khususnya dari segi gaya kepimpinan negara dan kecenderungan politik, saya doakan kita diberi kebijaksanaan untuk mengutamakan persamaan yang wujud di kalangan kita dan menjadikan diri kita sebagai sebahagian daripada penyelesaian dan bukan sebahagian daripada permasalahan negara.

Saya kurang arif tentang percaturan politik negara, tetapi apa yang saya tahu (setelah lama hidup di negara di mana orang Melayu terpinggir dan dipinggirkan), rakyat Malaysia perlu banyak bersyukur dengan segala macam kelebihan yang ada di negara ini yang tidak mungkin Singapura telah, sedang dan akan dapat berikan kepada rakyatnya baik Melayu, Cina, India atau yang lainnya dengan secara menyeluruh.

Apabila Lee Kuan Yew mengatakan beberapa tahun lalu bahawa kejadian jenayah di JB telah sampai ke tahap yang tidak terkawal, dia sebenarnya mengutarakan sesuatu yang dia inginkan terjadi di JB, dan sejak dari itu, dia mengatur strategi perkara itu memang berlaku di JB (seperti yang dilaporkan di akhbar-akhbar, walaupun ada kalanya terlebih melapor).

Strategi yang sama digunakan untuk melemahkan orang Melayu di Singapura, melalui apa yang kita katakan sebagai (dengan izin) self-fulling prophecy - when we are repeatedly told and made to believe that we are useless, we will ultimately believe that we are so. Although for many Malays in Singapore, they work harder than ever to prove their worth, and they are really worthy citizens who are not given due recognition by their government.

The same strategy was used by the Nazis to decriminalise the killing of Jews, and now used by Zionist Israel on the Palestinians. Lee Kuan Yew's gravest mistake (which in fact reflects his ignorance of biblical nuances when it comes to relationships among the People of the Books) is to equate the Malays with the Arabs, and his Chinese-dominated parliament with Israel's Zionist-dominated Knesset.

All said, the one good thing that has come out of this discriminatory treatment (at least, for me) is that when one comes from a place where Malays are marginalised, one learns not to seek privileges but works hard to get to where one seeks to be.

Mom-o'-Success

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Dato' Kadir,

It's me again, Mom-o'-Success. I'm getting dyslexic yet again (please refer to the message I sent shortly before this).

The third last paragraph - the word should be 'self-fulfilling prophecy' not 'self-fulling prophecy'. Silly old me.

About Me

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I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).