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Good guys win – even if the road is longer and harder

Taken from the Linkedin Page of Datuk Vinod Shekar.

I’m Singaporean and so it becomes a little challenging to admit it but something miraculous happened in Malaysia. It’s challenging to admit because, generations of Singaporeans have grown up with the notion that we’re simply better than our cousins across the Causeway. We’re like the pretty girl that can walk into a room and without trying, gets every guy turning his head just to get a glance at her. Malaysia, by contrast, is our elder sister, who despite having lots of advantages, never seems quite able to get guys interested in her and when we talk to our cousins in Malaysia, we tend to be like that pretty girl who felt sorry enough for her older sister by arranging a date with one of our rejected suitors.

Its especially true when it comes to the topic of politics and law. Say what you like about the Singapore government but Singapore politics is wonderfully boring. You know the results of every election before it even happens and as former Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean once said, “In Singapore, what you see is what you get.”

Malaysian politics by contrast, is colourful. For over 50-years, the same party won the election and politics was dominated by prominent characters in that party. Corruption, which is officially “non-existent” in Singapore is a given in Malaysia and whilst Singapore made it a point to know that it was “regardless of race or religion,” Malaysia has proudly favoured one ethnic group over the rest.

However, this has been a year for the older sister to show the younger sister a thing or two. First, Malaysia saw to it that its former Prime Minister Najib Razak will go to jail for plundering the country. Mr. Najib was the enabler of the now infamous 1MDB scandal and he was probably the only world leader who tried to explain that the US$700 million in his personal bank account was a donation from another nation. The jailing of the once untouchable Mr. Najib showed that the rule of law was working. Even the most powerful was being held to account.

Then, there was the fact that Dr. Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest serving Prime Minister was voted out and lost his deposit. The good doctor, who is 97, has been a force in Malaysian politics over three decades. Dr. Mahathir is credited with bringing up the Malaysian economy but he has been accused of being the architect of the system of patronage that was abused by Mr. Najib. The Malaysian voters had grown tiered of the good doctor and showed him the exit by the most effective means. His electoral defeat showed that the voters were willing to get rid of people regardless of who they were.

Then, there was the fact that Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister has finally bee sworn in a Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Mr. Ibrahim is what my former client, Mr.Vinod Sekhar, called a good guy. Mr. Ibrahim was once a rising star in Dr. Mahathir’s government and seen as a potential successor. However, when the Asian Financial Crisis hit, Dr. Mahathir turned on him and sent him to jail on trumped up charges of sodomy (forbidden in Islam – Mr. Ibrahim being known as a devout Muslim). Mr. Anwar Ibrahim spent the next 30-years of his life moving in and out jail, fighting legal challenges as well as fighting the political battles.

While it might be a stretch to call this Malaysia’s “Mandela” moment, the fact that a former political dissident can get to the top job by sheer persistence is encouraging. It is a case of it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you work hard.

Then, there’s the unsung hero of this situation. In this case it is the King, Sultan Abdullah of Pahang, who brought the politicians together to work out a unit government. Malaysia’s king, like his British counterpart, is a constitutional one and his powers to do things are limited. Yet, when there was a hung parliament, he managed to gather the politicians together to get them to form a government.

Sure, Malaysian politics has been colourful. However, the system has been toughened and institutions like the courts and parliament and the monarchy have been tested. One has to ask, would we, on this side of the Causeway be able to pass the tests that have afflicted the Malaysian system?

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

yyy
READER COMMENTS BELOW

23 Responses to “Good guys win – even if the road is longer and harder”

  • 河马不是马:

    Just one question: could Anwar and his administration last and deliver?

    The lesson learned from our Abang Besar is: too many partying is bad for health. Eat, work, sleep and play well required tremendous self discipline!

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  • xoxo:

    Anwar is one perseverant person who has a good wife standing all the way behind him n for him.

    His imprisonment too has a positive effect on him.
    He is the wiser for it.
    Look at the others who have had it EASY N BREEZY.
    HEAVEN IS WATCHING.
    Malaysians shud thank Allah for Anwar.
    Next several years or so will witness a more progressive n prosperous Malaysia,that i am sure.

    Malaysia Boleh!
    Anwar pun boleh!
    What about us?

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    @ 河馬
    Just one question: could Anwar and his administration last and deliver?

    Yes. Muz KIV.

    Other questions e.g.

    Will he exercise vengeance
    1. The M guy ?
    2. The N guy ?

    Or water under the bridge.

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  • Old Cunning on the Run:

    https://fb.watch/h1q81HhwaZ/

    How Joe Biden is up to his throat in vested interests and criminality in association with the corruption in Ukraine government since 2014…. Deceiving the common American people of goodwill, Hunter Biden’s laptop from hell was exposed by God’s angelic forces, which if it had not been covered by by top level FBI officials in 2020, Joe Biden would have never been elected by the people of America to lead them as President of the USA and the free world!

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  • No second is wasted:

    Count many billions Mahathir family got in banks and fix a jail term for them.

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  • xoxo:

    To show SOLIDARITY with THE PEOPLE especially the poor n low wage earners,ANWAR forgoes his PM SALARY.
    In Sg,Ah Heng ‘s Solidarity Budget saw poor sgs receiving $600 out of the $100 BILLION taken from sgs’ reserves(savings)?

    So,just across the Causeway,the MEANING OF SOIDARITY is so different from $in City.

    WHAT IS SOLIDARITY?
    PM ANWAR knows the true meaning.
    God bless him n his work for malaysians’ COMMON GOOD.

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  • MarBowling:

    Lots and lots of DIFFERENCES between the 2 Head Of State:

    LEEder of Sinkapore, Mai Hum : For You, With You and FARK You! Importantly, Singapore for the FamiLEE ONLY!

    Leader of Malaysia, Anwar : For You, With You and For Malaysia. Importantly, Malaysia for ALL Malaysian!

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    Please also state clearly what’s Anwar as PM salary !

    Myr 80,000.

    Multiplied by 12. That’s Myr 960,000. Not sure about their bonus or any other incentives.

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    @ Goods guys win – even if the road is longer and harder

    Yes. Same can said.
    Finally many China people awaken.
    What 1.4 billion people behind me or China ?
    Haha! All along I always have my doubts.

    Needless to say after things cool down, again blame foreign interference. What foreign interference ? The world cup is it.

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  • Hopeful:

    Hope that Anwar will not disappoint this time.
    May all the Malaysia people has a good time ahead under his leadership.
    Fair and justice for all.

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  • xoxo:

    Anwar is the right man for PM job in Malaysia’s current state of affairs.
    He is well versed in economics n finance.
    He is humbler now.
    The cockiness of youth has been eroded and in its place,modesty has grown.
    Anwar will turn Malaysia around.

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  • Liar:

    Anwar as PM salary is 0. Anwar said that.

    PAP mandate strong:
    Please also state clearly what’s Anwar as PM salary !

    Myr 80,000.

    Multiplied by 12. That’s Myr 960,000. Not sure about their bonus or any other incentives.

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    Anwar at his peak in UMNO was persuaded by his supporters to unseat Ghafa Baba which he did n shove to unseat Mahathir too…He HESITATE out of “LOYALTY”or fear of losing to Mahathir…2

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    …2 ” He who Hesitate is LOST ” and he paid a heavy price when M machinery went into Top Gear to search & DESTROY!!!…LEARNED from the master Lie Con You

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    As i SEE it…Anuar will be a PM that Malaysia D3SERVE…

    Whatever his shortcomings he will be FAIR irrespective of Race or Creed according to the CONSTITUITION

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    Yes.

    Anwar forgoes his salary.

    I just saying pls let others know how much is malaysia pm being paid regardless forgo or not.

    What about other bonuses or incentives ?

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  • An-War, bukan Anuar:

    One year down the road, don’t know how many here have to eat their words!

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  • Anwar the Corrupted Sodomite:

    Those of us who’ve lived in Malaysia kampungs know what Anwar done as DPM decades ago…… at one point he was leaking state secrets to some of the war mongering politicians in Washington to curry favor with them for his own PM ambitions. The kampung folks talk about the tons of cash piled ceiling high in his father’s Penang house – or somewhere thereabouts. And what was he doing with Azmin’s wife at Tivoli Condominium in the afternoons?

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  • Temusik Patriot:

    True better to live in fear than be FREE…having crumbs with kaya is better than no Bread lah…Air CONditioned hor…not hot sun leh

    An-War, bukan Anuar:
    One year down the road, don’t know how many here have to eat their words!

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  • nathan chen:

    Voters in this Malaysia GE had taught betrayers and traitors a lessons.Those who took voters as fools had lost their seats.No more party hopping to form alliance just to make up the numbers to get into seats of power.There will not be a second political Sheraton to topple Anwar unity government. The opposition had learnt a valuable lesson after falling from grace ruling for only 22 months after the the famous 2018 victory. Will Anwar last? There is no one more suitable and better than him to be the PM for a very long time to come.

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  • PAP mandate strong:

    Well Mike san

    Karma Bites hard and bites fast!

    Enjoy your day!

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  • Next Life:

    Why so many good guys didn’t win?
    JBJ? KJ? 32-yr longest man?

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  • Soccerbetting2:

    Good guys win ? Watch this interesting Tik Tok on evil women nurses and see whether good guys win or not ?-”https://vt.tiktok.com/ZSRTtTk7J/”

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