After reading Tommy Thomas’s ‘Voting for the Future’ in Malaysian Insider, I am tempted to say to him: Go back to Canada.
Born in Malaysia of immigrant parents, Tommy Thomas set up legal practice in Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s. Malaysia was good for him until the 1980s when he uprooted himself, his family and his extended family and migrated to Canada, looking for greener pastures.
Alas, he found that Canada was not the land of milk and honey that he thought it was. Life was tough there. Not long afterwards, Tommy Thomas packed his suitcase again, and returned to Malaysia where he resumed his legal practice.
So, Malaysia was good for him before he left for Canada and Malaysia was still good for him and that’s why he returned. But now he wants to change what was good, for what is at best, uncertain.
And, if things go wrong, he may run to Canada again. After all he did it once. He can do it again.
But I shall control my impulses to ask him to take flight, and instead take a closer look at what he has been saying in his article published on 15 Jan 2013.
In his opening salvo, he says the next GE is the people’s chance to vote out the Barisan Nasional government that has been in power for 55 years. Thomas makes the assumption that a change in government is imperative for democracy to flourish. There is absolutely no basis for such a view.
Thomas then speaks at length about Umno’s dominance of BN since the 1970s. There is nothing strange about this because Umno simply had more MPs than any of its partners in BN. Is he implying that there is equal power-sharing in the opposition? Where is the equal power-sharing in the PR-controlled states? Penang is DAP-controlled, Kedah is Pas-controlled, Selangor is PRK-controlled.
Thomas then goes on to make the mind-boggling and ridiculous claim that the Iranian revolution of 1979 was inspired by events in Malaysia.
Thomas continues “Perhaps the most unacceptable consequence of a lengthy rule by Umno is its control over all the nation’s public institutions, like the media, the universities, the civil service and the police.”
Here Thomas displays his woeful ignorance of governance issues and of the role of government. If the government does not exercise fiduciary duty over public institutions, public universities, the civil service and the police, then whose duty is it? Notice here that Thomas also mentions the media. How little he understands the workings of free enterprise in a free society.
Thomas contends that ethnic-based politics has outlived its use, but has it really? Look at the loose coalition that is now waiting in the wings. Pas is nearly 100 per cent Malay-based, DAP is nearly 100 per cent Chinese based, and PKR is, well, mostly Malay-based with a sprinkling of Indians and even fewer Chinese.
Thomas reserves his most vile accusations on matters that Malaysian courts have already dealt with. Is he suggesting that the judicial system in which he has a lucrative practice, is tarnished?
On Malaysia’s unprecedented economic growth, Thomas compares Malaysia unfavourably with South Korea. Well, Malaysia and South Korea share few similarities and fewer common challenges. South Korea has a homogenous society. They are also largely of one religious persuasion. In such an environment, there are far fewer challenges there than in a multi-racial, mutl-religious, multi-cultural nation like ours. Why doesnt Thomas compare Malaysia with North Korea instead?
Or with Canada? The following data might explain why comparison was not made with Canada.
- Consumer Prices in Malaysia are 43.90% lower than in Canada
- Consumer Prices Including Rent in Malaysia are 47.93% lower than in Canada
- Rent Prices in Malaysia are 59.08% lower than in Canada
- Restaurant Prices in Malaysia are 66.84% lower than in Canada
- Groceries Prices in Malaysia are 48.27% lower than in Canada