1. I am not talking about GDP and Per Capita. I am talking about feeling. I feel that Malaysia is growing. Certainly Kuala Lumpur is growing. High-rise buildings are everywhere.
2. Take KLCC. The twin towers were once without partners. Now the garden area is completely surrounded by high-rise hotels, condos and officers.
3. It is the same with the railway station. It is now hidden by a palisade of hotels, offices and apartments.
4. Jalan Tun Razak is now lined with high-rise offices and headquarters of numerous big corporations.
5. Perhaps they are empty. I know about cities going through a building boom only to precipitate a bubble. But at night I see lighted windows of the condos indicating that they are occupied. The bubble may yet come. But for now the building boom is not yet a bubble.
6. The suburban parts of Kuala Lumpur now see a number of new towns, linked to the city. There is Mont Kiara, Sri Kembangan, Puchong and many others. Then there are old Petaling Jaya, much changed, Subang Jaya, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. In between there are the well-laid-out housing estates, small towns in themselves.
7. When the Kuala Lumpur International Airport was relocated to Sepang, Subang became deserted except for the occasional military aircrafts of the transport squadron landing and taking off. Today the second terminal has been refurnished and upgraded and is the hub for the Firefly turboprops. In addition there are two FBOs serving scores of private jets and other aircrafts. Many foreign aircrafts are parked in the huge AIROD complex, where they are being serviced or repaired.
8. Toll roads and flyovers help to reduce traffic at ground level. But the number of motor vehicles being put on the road each year continues to cause congestion.
9. Foreign investors invest billions for each of their projects. And Malaysia companies also report billions of Ringgit of profits. And they are also going abroad to build power plants, roads, ports and airports. I remember in my time when profits of a hundred million Ringgits were considered great. Now profits for a quarter may exceed one billion for banks and other businesses.
10. The rural areas are not neglected. Roads, schools, clinics, water supply and electricity reach even the remotest villages.
11. There may be unemployed graduates but their number are really small.
12. I have been visiting many countries and in none of them do I see growth as I see in Malaysia.
13. I also notice that many richly endowed countries of the developing world remain backward and underdeveloped. And invariably they fail because of politics, because dictatorships or wrong ideas about the freedoms of democracy. In both cases the love of self is greater than love of nation. Consequently they would rather see their nations remaining poor and undeveloped as long as their selfish ambitions remain supreme.
14. Malaysia is really well on the way to achieve the objective of becoming a fully developed country of 2020. But politics may still get in the way.
15. Some who see the Arab Spring seems bent on proving that the Government of this country is like the Governments of these Arab countries. The Government is being demonised despite the fact that this country with less resources than the Arab countries has developed beyond expectations; has given its citizens a good life and has seen democratic election being held wherein the Government party suffer serious losses and the opposition make very substantial gains. In Malaysia, unlike in the authoritarian countries in the Arab world, there has never been elections in which the Government gets 90% of the votes. Admittedly the same party has won all the 12 elections. This is frustrating for the opposition parties. But as much as the people can reject the Government party, the people also have a right to return the same party in any election. What is important is that support for the party is due to its success in developing the nation and meeting the needs of the people.
16. Change is not always for the good. There have been many instances when changes have brought disaster for the nation.
17. On the other hand the people have a right to criticise or even condemn the Government they elected. This is necessary to keep the Government on the straight path.
18. Some time between now and mid-2013 Elections must be held. I hope the people will not be swayed by the campaign of hate but should make a proper assessment of the qualities of the people and parties which will contest. Think of the development and progress of this country and choose wisely.
JENAKA MALAM PERTAMA PENUH MAKNA