Sunday, May 30, 2010

Forever in snooze mode, time to wake up...

Our politicians must take heed that the old ways of wooing voters will not work any more in the changing political landscape.

IT has become a ritual for our political leaders to ask their members to wake up after each electoral defeat, but Malaysians wonder if these politicians are still on snooze mode even after making their wake-up calls.

The impression we get is that while Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has taken bold initiatives to win back the lost ground following the March 8 general election, some Barisan Nasional leaders are still refusing to see the changing political landscape.

Some are continuing to cling on to outdated ways, even in states controlled by Pakatan Rakyat where they behave like they are still in power simply because the federal government is under Barisan rule. Worse is that there are still component party leaders who refuse to retire.

Read the rest here...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The race is far from over

GOOD news seems hard to come by in the media but Malaysians had something to cheer about last week over two news reports - the strong appreciation of the ringgit and our ranking as the 10th most competitive nation.

It was reported that the ringgit was the best performing Asian currency for the year, especially against the euro, pound and dollar.

For at least a month now, ordinary Malaysians, especially businessmen and parents with children studying overseas, have been watching the movement of the ringgit against other currencies.

Read the rest of my column here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Time to shift gear to higher mode

WE cannot go on being known as the region's importer of cheap and unskilled labour. Malaysia is unable to attract the best talent but what is worse is that we are in danger of becoming an exporter of professionals.

Malaysia is attracting workers from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Myanmar but they are mostly kitchen helpers, cleaners and security guards.

The country needs doctors, engineers, accountants, scientists, academics, bankers and lawyers but unfortunately they are not coming. And worse, the local ones are migrating.

More from this column, click here.

An interesting insight into migration patterns, click here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Where have all the Chinese gone?

THE numbers have finally hit home. For years, the country’s Chinese population has been decreasing steadily but now it’s officially recognised that Penang is no longer a Chinese majority state.

Last week, a Chinese newspaper highlighted that there were now 18,000 more Malays this year than Chinese in the state.

Quoting Penang Statistics Department director Wan Mohamad Noor Wan Mahmood, Nanyang Siang Pau reported that there were about 650,000 Chinese in Penang, making up about 43% of the total population in 2005, but this was expected to drop to 40.9% this year.

Read the rest of this week's On The Beat column here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No need to tick off voters...

STAND-UP comic Harith Iskandar is the product of Malay-English parentage. He has acted in plays and movies speaking in Bahasa Malaysia and earns a living telling jokes, mostly in English with some Malay and Chinese words thrown in.

He has been telling his audiences that he plans to get married soon with a woman of Chinese-Indian parentage. “I do not know how our children will fill up those forms. I think they will have to tick every box – Malay, Chinese, Indian and lain-lain.”

The predominantly Chinese crowd in Petaling Jaya roared when he asked when Malaysians could stop having to state their racial background. Then he delivered his punch line: “But I am a Malaysian first.” His listeners were on their feet by then, which goes to show how much the issue had struck a chord with urban Malay­sia.

For the rest of the column, click here.