Thursday, July 12, 2012

Malaysia vs Singapore

Our tiny neighbor at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia is a  squeaky clean and  politically sanitized country. It is also  the financial center for much of south East Asia attracting capitals from overseas Chinese residing in neighboring countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Its western guided liberal economy is complemented by  Asian values and thus ensuring prosperity to the city state in the seas of Malay dominated  archipelago. Despite its small size it has wielded an economic power bigger many times  over than its size. Even Indonesia succumbs economically to Singapore and dare not antagonize the roaring lion. Billion of dollars are poured into the country by Indonesian name Chinese businessmen.

Even Malaysia has not managed to tame the lion. We have been a lame entity when dealing with Singapore. I believe that main reason why we tend to lose out against Singapore is because our Malay culture. We deal with Singapore using our cultural template and this has been used by Singapore to extract concessions from Malaysia. We are losing out. We need to use a more cultural free setting when dealing with our southern neighbor. We must not use "budi bicara" when dealing with Singapore. It must be based on  a professional and cultural free negotiation. Our PTD negotiators from Wisma Putra must get rid of the Malay facade when dealing with that tiny country.

We must tell  Singapore straight to the face  that sending their three embassy staff for BERSIH demonstration is wrong and runs contrary to diplomatic  norms of  the two countries. They must not interfere with the domestic issues of Malaysia. We like them to prosper but we don't want our sovereignty to  be challenged by a tiny country. We don't interfere with their internal issues and we have the right to demand that they too respect our needs. We must request that the three embassy staff be recalled to their country. We cant afford to just reprimand the ambassador. Something more drastic should be taken. Please get rid of the "Abang adik" mentality. They are not our "adik". They are an independent and opportunistic country.  

We must show  Singapore that they are consequences that they have to pay if do do harm to Malaysia. The soft approach that we adopt now must be stopped. They will never learn if we continue using our soft Malay approach. We must tell them straight to their face that what they have done is wrong and that we will not tolerate it. Don't repeat the fiasco of the water agreement again. We must play a kiasu game with the Chinese run  state. When we deal the right and professional way only then they begin to listen.

I hope that Malaysia will overtake the small country economically. We have the people and resources and we just need to harness all the potentials that we have so that we can compete with them. I believe we can do it. We need to approach them free of the Malay approach and instead replaced it with a neutral professional template. We must win against Singapore economically.

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