M’sia labelled as a ‘failed nation’? We only have ourselves to blame

By Stephen Ng


I am disappointed with the apathy of the rakyat when it comes to fighting corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

When the current Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador broke the code of silence and revealed that there were senior police officers, including a former IGP, who were protecting a certain cartel, everyone’s head turned and started guessing the names of the senior officers.

Just over a week ago, Abdul Hamid wanted to carry out a reshuffle just before he retires, and we know that he was asked to see Home Minister, Hamzah Zainudin.

Under normal circumstances, the minister would not interfere with a reshuffle within the police force, as this is the prerogative of the top cop himself, but in this instance, the IGP sounded out his disappointment after the meeting.

Yet, only a handful of the many civilians who cheered Abdul Hamid was willing to speak up for the man whom they had high hopes for to clean up the police force.

Where are the Ambigas, the Maria Chins, and the Tian Chuas? Where are the Lew Chin Tongs, the Ong Kian Mengs, the Rafizi Ramlis, Nurul Izzahs and Hannah Yeohs of the future, or the Karpal Singhs of the past, who once stood up against the wrongs done to this nation?

Why have these people chosen to remain silent when some things are going from bad to worse? Have they decided to lay down the hatchets because of the apathy that they see in Malaysians?

What happened to the battle cry of Reformasi, “Ini kalilah!” Anwar Ibrahim’s following was strong when he went into prison, but after he was released, where is the people’s political will for change?

Change for a better Malaysia! Justice for all! Has this not been the battle cry of the rakyat all these 20 odd years since Anwar was sacked by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad?

Who has stolen our hope and narrative as Malaysians? Do we just blame it on a group of unprincipled men? Or, should we blame ourselves for our own apathy?

When I look at the amount of complaints in the social media, I can only wag my head in disbelief. Malaysians have plenty of time to complain about everything under the sun, but when a suggestion was made to put their views across in the media, they shy away.

Why have we become a “rocking chair” culture of complainants, instead of taking charge of the narrative in this country?

Why do we allow the “crooks” (as some in the social media like to put it) to run the country and plunder the wealth of this nation, while every one of us suffer in silence?

While we watch and do nothing, our nation is today lagging far behind other Asean countries in terms of competitiveness in attracting foreign investments. A number of major multinationals have exited the country since 20 years ago, preferring countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.

We are losing our brains to other nations. Columnist Mariam Mokhtar wrote about an Ipoh-born Tan Zhongshan who emerged as top student in his Cambridge final-year law examinations. Tan had also bagged a number of awards. 

In her article, Mariam revealed that Tan was a recipient of Singapore’s Asean scholarship, and now, after graduating from England’s second oldest university in June last year, he has returned to Singapore. After completing his Bar examinations in 2011, he will join the Singapore Legal Service in January next year.

Over the years, we have seen so many of these young men and women, leaving the country, bringing along with them their talents to countries where their contributions are appreciated. Who is to blame?  

Back to Abdul Hamid, he will be retiring in just one week’s time. Until now, there is no sign of any extension given for him to carry on with his good work. Who is to blame?

I end with the famous words attributed to Irish statesman, economist, and philosopher Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”


Stephen Ng is an ordinary Malaysian who has contributed his thoughts on a number of issues to stimulate the country’s thinking public.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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