By Jean H Charles
I have not visited Kuala Lumpur as yet, but I am a fan of Malaysia and its neighbor city-state of Singapore. I have often featured in this column my admiration for the fact that Malaysia and Singapore might be the only nations in the world that systematically applied the concept of development as prescribed by Ernest Renan. See: The Brand Singapore
A strong army that teaches the virtues of civism and serve as a tool by the government in its nation building process, a government that prevent the practice of nomads in the homeland by investing in strong institutions and excellent infrastructure everywhere and fostering the building of a consensus to help those left behind, these are the techniques that put Malaysia in the front line of emerging countries.
The coup is so much more encouraging since both Malaysia and Singapore are Muslim countries. It was not supposed to be such. The Muslims countries in general are hotbeds of internal conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites, between Christians and Muslims, between autocratic leaders and the young population seeking education, jobs and self-realization.
Malaysia was pursuing its peaceful and nonevent life to its zenith until one of its Boeings, Flight MH370, vanished from planet earth on March 8, 2014, with no trace in the sea or in the ground. The search is still on, in spite of the fact that more than four months have revealed no important debris clues that could lead to a path of resolution.
Now Malaysian Airlines is again on the front page of global news these days, with some 300 people dead, another Boeing, Flight MH17, being shot on July 17, 2014, by a missile allegedly pointed by the insurgents against the government of Ukraine supported by the Russians.
It was a routine flight from Amsterdam, Holland, on that Thursday when the Malaysian Airlines flight left for Asia seeking a route that would lead to its destination in a safe way but the fastest one. Permission was sought and received to fly over Ukraine. Suddenly a missile hit the plane. According to the best explanation, it was done by Rambo freedom fighters under the influence of separatists backed by Russia.
I am crying for Malaysia in spite of the fact that most of the victims of the first incident were Chinese travellers and Dutch citizens were the most prominent victims of the second tragedy.
Malaysia could fit the destination where Christopher Columbus was trying to get to when he sailed by accident to the Western Hemisphere in 1492. It had porcelain and spices in quantity. The strait of Malay that forms a giant lake that links Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia with Malaysia is now one of the most active and most successful regions of the world, called the Asian Tigers.
While the British established the West Indies Company in the Caribbean, they established around 1786 the East Indies Company in the Malaya region. They imported Chinese and Indians to Malaya to mine the plantations of rubber and the exploitation of tin. It had been a British possession until the Japanese expansion that took control of the land in 1942. The defeat of the Japanese in World War II brought Malaysia back under the protectorate of the British. On August 31, 1957, the Federation of Malaya took birth under the leadership of his first Prime Minister Abdul Rahman in the leadership style of Prime Minister Lee of Singapore. He set out to create a nation hospitable to all “which is blessed with good institutions forged and tempered to perfection by successive British administrations.”
Malaysia has a market but strongly directed economy by the state through a five-year plan that corrects or implements the minus and the plus to bring the country from a GDP of $8,100 in 2009 to $17,200 in 2014. With a population hovering around 30 million (29,768,915) people in an area of 329,847 square kilometers, the country has moved effectively from a commodities led economy in rubber and palm oil to a multi-sectoral economy that produces electrical goods such as solar panels and other technology products, as well as services, mainly in medical tourism. It has now a plan to be a completely self-sufficient industrialized nation by 2020. This plan is advancing so well, the targeted date has been shortened to 2018.
I am crying for you Malaysia, because the omens against you may seem to derail your path towards self-economic independence. Akin to the brand Singapore, the brand Malaysia mixed with the experience in Turkey might be the best cocktail for recovery in the countries that emerge from the Spring Revolution in the Arab world. Whether the gods are sailing with Malaysia or not, this troika should press forward to make a bloc and spread the gospel of hospitality for all as the best formula for development.
The raging fire in the Gaza strip, the demonstrations in Cairo or Tripoli can find a suitable fire-fighting agent if they can align themselves with the governments of these three countries to get the ABC that peace in the land starts with the value of each citizen on the land, whether Shiite or Sunni, Christian or Muslim, Jewish or Muslim.
In the meantime, oh Malaysia, as a Christian, I will pray to St Michael and St Dominic, and also to Saint Christopher so you shall sail into continuous glory with no more international incidents over which you have no control of and no clues why they must fall into the land of the hibiscus.