Why has Malaysia lagged behind other nations?
COMMENT | New Countries – America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and yes, Malaysia are all relatively new countries in their modern setup. All of these nations had their native or native populations, but the settlers, coming from other nations fleeing oppression or persecution in their home country or seeking employment or being brought in as migrants, or as slaves or indentured laborers , have changed the demographics of these nations. Colonization and decolonization provided the impetus for change.
They all started their new or changed national identity as colonies, but eventually became independent. The United States has become the most powerful nation in the world. Singapore has become one of the richest countries per capita. And Canada and Australia are considered advanced nations. New Zealand also did well. All of these nations have benefited from massive immigration. Indigenous peoples may dispute this claim as they have not been treated well in some of these countries.
All of these countries have diverse populations with many cultures, languages and religions. English is the dominant language in these countries.
Malaysia’s history is no different, except that indigenous peoples remain in the majority and have political control. It has a diverse population. It is a constitutional democracy with a parliament, a professional civil service and an independent judiciary. It has a modern market economy. It is an advanced country in some respects. English is widely spoken (with varying levels of proficiency) although the language of administration and instruction in schools is predominantly Malay.
Malaysia has not progressed as much as these countries.
Fifty years ago, Malaysia was tied or ahead of countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Today, these countries have become developed nations. Taiwan and South Korea are major manufacturing nations, and Singapore is a financial hub, surpassing both Hong Kong and Switzerland.
What differentiates these countries from us? What did they do right and what did we do wrong?
Consider Singapore, our closest neighbor. Singapore has a population of just over five and a half million, a GDP roughly equal to ours and a currency three times ours – three times what it was 50 years ago. He has no resources except a good location. It relies on the talent of its own people and the inefficiencies and problems of its neighbors.
Singapore has benefited immensely from Malaysian talent. Our talent exodus is headed mainly to Singapore…