Malaysia and Singapore may have more in common than we think

Reading an old article by Marina Mahathir, the outspoken daughter of the Malaysian Prime Minister, it struck me that the kinds of things she wrote about her country could just as well apply to Singapore.

The article, headlined “You walk the talk first” recommended changes the government needed to adopt to “share the burden” with the people.

These are excerpts from her long list of suggestions – see if you can pick out the ones that Singapore could also do with:

  • Stop elaborate launches for Government programs
  • Make all civil servants and politicians travel economy class
  • Stop having the full complement of police escorts to cut down on petrol costs
  • Scrutinise invoices for contracts to make sure they are truly reflective of what those projects or supplies cost
  • No need to order kuih for mid-morning or teatime meetings in Government offices
  • Cancel all trips for Government servants to conferences overseas unless they return with full reports of what they did there, who they met and what they learnt and how they mean to apply what they learnt at home
  • Once a week (or more) have ministers use public transport so they know what everyone else has to suffer
  • Once a week, let ministers go to a market to buy food for their families with instructions not to spend more than RM100
  • Get ministers to carpool. They might get more work done just by being able to talk to each other to see what could be coordinated between their ministries
  • Once a month, get civil servants to work with one disadvantaged group in order to be better able to appreciate their problems
  • Newspapers should save paper by reporting real news rather than the non-news that they carry, particularly nonsensical utterances by politicians

Marina Mahathir concluded her article with this line: So if the Government and politicians make these lifestyle changes, I will do my part and change mine.

Do you agree that Singapore could also do with a healthy dose of some of these suggestions?


Augustine Low

* The author is a proud but concerned citizen. Voicing independent, unplugged opinion is his contribution to citizen engagement.



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11 Responses to “Malaysia and Singapore may have more in common than we think”

  • patriot of Temesak:

    How to Bro???…when the Dead Bastard claims they are Elites & Aristocrats…to be in THAT Clique of ArseHoles…it is a Privilege that only Pedigree White Horses are Entitled to…

    But Fate & God land Nasty Blow…white horses are supposed to sire at WORSE a Grey so say a Bastard whose sires are from Dubious Breeding…a Freak or Two was Bred to supposedly White Horses…

    So my fellow Singaporeans Be YOURSELF and Be Proud of your heritage…Taxi Driver, Labourer, washerwoman or seamstress even Samsui Por…BE PROUD we are Singaporeans Bred to take all the KNOCKS since 1957 to build this Nation called Singapore to be our HOME…Not an Elite Corporation for Elites & Aristocrats who leeches on the People’s Blood-Sweat & Tears!!!

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  • Najib's Best Selfie Mate:

    Vices also common.

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  • Si Mi Lan:

    She never mentioned stop bumi first policy ?

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  • Bapak:

    Ownself-check-ownself should change to citizen-check-government.

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  • clown pap and S$m gang:

    Malaysia and Singapore may have more in common than we think

    not TRUE at all.

    not a SINGLE thing is in common.

    1st, clown pap and S$m gang are paid in S$m, way out there far beyond any corrupt najib and his BN cohort can even dream of.

    2nd, clown pap and S$m gang have legalized their version of corruption legally via clown pap PA via clown pap gic via clown pap wife temasick clown pap NTUC and the list goes on and on and on, way beyond the imagination of corrupt najib and his BN cohort.

    3rd, clown pap and S$m gang ensure every clown pap law is interpreted two ways, one way for clown pap and S$m gang members and the other way against 70% sheep unconnected with clown pap and S$m gang clan. corrupt najib and his BN cohort could not reach so deep, only up to bank negara (by firing old chief and replacing with new chief) ag (by firing old chief and replacing with new chief) police and cpib. that is why corrupt najib and his cohort were able to be trounced by upright Dr Mahatir PH.

    4th, the list goes on and on and on why not a SINGLE thing is common between the two. in TRUTH and not in fake news, the scale of cronyism nepotism legal corruption in clown pap and S$ gang NOT a single regime in ASEAN can match. and that is understatement.

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  • Get real!:

    Si Mi Lan:

    She never mentioned stop bumi first policy ?

    This has been a long time social engineering affirmative policy to create balance. Sensitive and very difficult to implement but necessary. You can argue till the cows come home and there will no solution acceptable to all. Many countries are doing it in different forms and degrees and pace one way or other. Not doing it could be also backfired and be disastrous and dangerous in any multi race countries. Admittedly it is unfair in some areas depending on who is handling it. It is a difficult policy and it rattled feelings and nerves and smack of favoritism. It cause anger.
    What are the alternatives then?
    Strict meritocracy will isolate some groups of people.
    Some groups of people are born with easygoing traits and characteristics and some are hard driving people.
    Let’s be realistic about it.
    Even in a family unit the children may not be all of the same abilities.
    The weaker ones need help and extra attention and the parents have to see to that.
    Governments like parents are faced with similar issues when handling multi race societies especially when the majority race is at the lower end of the economic ladder.
    There is no easy solution to this often discussed issue of bumi first policy.
    It calls for a deep understanding of the issues and the problems it could create or cause which could be catastrophic.
    Yet many still harbour distrust and cause hate over this very difficult and sensitive issue.
    People should broaden their outlook and accept the facts.
    It will take a long long while to keep everyone happy,
    With the growth of education perhaps things will improve for the better sooner.

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  • HarderTruths:

    Malaysia is a sizeable country with a ‘citizen first’ policy and rule of law.

    $G is a tiny island where every foreign f**ker is king and locals are treated like dirt by the ruling despot and his minions.

    How is this even close?

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  • LIONS:


    …’.BROKE BACK’,i gue$$???

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  • Human nature:

    1. The strong takes advantage of the weak eg the colonial powers in the past plundered and looted the riches of the countries of the “passive” people they dominated.
    2. The rich takes advantage of the poor.
    3. The crooked “smart” ones takes advantage of the less smarter ones.
    4. The crooked seize every opportunity to grow richer.
    5. Power is intoxicating and those in power will not give it up easily.
    6. Insatiable greed, ego, fear of poverty, jealously guarded self-preservation, are common weaknesses of man.
    7. Many lack the stability and rationality of a sound spiritual or philosophical belief to be truly grade one leaders.
    8. You cannot please everybody.
    9. There is no one solution to fix the problems of any country.
    10. The rememberance of death is a good teacher. Everybody should reflect on this.

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  • Bystander:

    Be honest, Malaysia has far better prospects in all spheres, esp in the economic sense than Singapore, once they get it right.
    We have more faith in Malaysia, irrespective of the Bumi First Policy.
    With the deteriorating PAP in Governance, citizens here are doomed in the near future, with PAP’s gangster/dictator like behaviour, camouflaging its paranoid insecurity and incompetence relative to the old PAP guards.
    Like the Malaysians, we long for the past glorious days of Mr. LKY.
    God bless Dr M.

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  • Equality Was Stealthily Remove:

    Agree and more.

    New GOvt should cut the pay of all ministers and PM and President
    and all judges and top Civil servants. Cut by at least 60% or more,
    in line with a small country and definitely should not be more than
    the President of the USA(a much larger country, with a huge GDP).

    Vote for change, for your CPF and for your children.

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