How to become a developed nation? Uncle Koon shares some tips

A FEW days ago UMNO vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed the 9th Prime Minister (PM) of Malaysia by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Those who have voted for Pakatan Harapan (PH) were left disappointed that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim did not become the new PM and were concerned that the new PM will continue to take Malaysia down the old road.

Nevertheless, I sincerely hope the new PM will take Malaysia by a new road to become a developed nation.

I have published two books namely Malaysia Road Map for Achieving Vision 2020 in 2012 and New Road Map to a Developed Nation in January 2021.

I am nearly 89 years old. Before I die, I am now writing this short piece to point out what is wrong with Malaysia for the new PM to know how to make all the necessary corrections to make Malaysia a Developed Nation quickly.

  1. Malaysia was once a rich nation before

At one time, Malaysia was one of the richest countries in the world. We were the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil. Moreover, we have petroleum. Yet we could not be classified as a developed nation.

Barisan Nasional (BN) which made up of Umno, MCA and MIC has been in control of the Government since Merdeka in 1957. MIC and MCA are deaf and mute. They can neither see nor talk.

  1. The aim of the Bumiputra Policy is good but the implementation was bad

In 1970 when the Government introduced the Bumiputra policy, our gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was the same as Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.

Currently after 51 years, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea GDP per capita are four times, three times and 2.5 times of Malaysia respectively.

All these three countries are classified as developed nations despite of the fact that they don’t even have timber to build their houses.

  1. Bad implementation of the Bumiputra policy

The objective of the Bumiputra policy is noble but the implementation is bad.

The BN, ruling the Government since Merdeka in 1957, has been giving out large contracts and concessions without open competitive tenders.

For example, giving out toll roads, water and electricity supplies, each of which is worth tens of billions of ringgit without open tenders.

  1. Corruptions and leakages

You cannot tell the difference in a contract if it is valued at RM25 bil or RM23 bil.

The RM2 bil can grease many hands. That is why the former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is being charged in court for corruption.

As a result, Malaysia is classified as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

  1. Civil Service

Managing a country is like managing hundreds of business operations in every town and city. Good managers produce good results and bad managers produce bad results.

Based on the surging number of COVID-19 cases, our civil servants and politicians are not doing a good job.

Currently we have a total of 1.57 million COVID-19 cases and 13,713 deaths. Unfortunately, both of these figures are still surging as shown on the chart below.

  1. Number of civil servants in Malaysia

I just Googled to find out the number of civil servants in Malaysia and I found this report that there were 1.71 million civil servants on Government payroll as of March 2019.

The number of civil servants as of March this year stands at a whopping 1.71 million, said Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar.

For the core service sectors, he said, the armed forces comprised 152,957 personnel; police had 128,536; civil servants of various schemes (665,068); education (523,226) and health (240,745).

Malaysia has 1.71 million civil servants for 32 million people. That means one civil servant for every 19 people. We have the most civil servants per capita in the world.

For comparison, the UK has 430,075 civil servants for a population of 66.65 million people. The UK has one civil servant for 155,000 people.

  1. Remove racial discrimination and practice meritocracy in the employment of civil servants.

The Government should employ the best people irrespective of race into the civil service and promote efficient workers to manage critical services.

It is only with this system can Malaysia improve to become a developed nation. – Aug 22, 2021.


Koon Yew Yin is a savvy investor and philanthropist.

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

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