Posts Tagged ‘perception’


August 8, 2008

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Anwar Ibrahim was charged and the government propaganda machinery is already hard at work trying to contain the damage.   So apparently Anwar should be grateful that he is not in prison just yet and that he still has his passport.  Ha bloody ha.

Seriously though, if the sex was consensual, why isn’t Saiful also being charged for engaging in carnal acts against the order of nature?

I think the government are mostly nervous about international perception.  They care about the negative publicity that Anwar can and is generating for them.  But if they were smart, they would be more scared of what us Malaysians think.  They should be concerned that even those of us who have our doubts about Anwar absolutely abhor what is being done to him.

They should worry that the Malaysian public would sooner believe the wildest conspiracy theories than what they have to say.

It’s high time the government realised that it isn’t just Anwar Ibrahim who believes that the country’s “legal and security systems” are “unjust and could be manipulated to serve the interest of certain quarters”.

It’s a belief held by all sane Malaysians.

Can you really blame us after the 1988 judicial crisis, the Lingam scandal, the failure to implement the IPCMC, the failure to establish the Judicial Appointments Commission and the fact that police personnel are today unashamedly fighting over the apportionment of their ill gotten gains?  And that’s just off the top of my head.

Perhaps the government are still of the Josef Goebbels school of thought – that if you “repeat a lie often enough the people will believe it!”

Sorry, but Malaysians have woken up.

It’s time the Malaysian government did as well.

You are discredited.  Do something other than creating media spin.


How Will The World See Us Tomorrow?

June 4, 2007

Exams are a mere 2 days away and as much as I hate the thought, I must go into hibernation for a bit. I will be back after the 20th of June so don’t go solving Malaysia’s problems before then.

Before I do that though, let me deviate from the legalistic ramblings and focus on perception. In particular, how the rest of the world sees Malaysia with all that’s been happening.

Who cares what the rest of the world, in particular the decadent West, may think of us, you may ask?

The reality is that our economy relies on trade and tourism. According to MATRADE, Malaysia is ranked among the 20 largest trading countries in the world. Not bad when you consider the size of our population. MIER estimates growth to hit 5.8% in 2008, a pretty respectable figure.

However, if the Asian Financial Crisis has taught us anything, it is that perception is king. Any hint of political or economic instability/weakness and say farewell to investors. Tourism of course is linked to political and social stability. And ten years after the Financial Crisis, there are many more destinations for investors and tourists.

Hence, it would be foolish and shortsighted to simply say ‘to hell with them’ when our economy is so integrated with the outside world.

How then is Malaysia being portrayed by some of the most influential English news organisations in view of recent events? Here’s a selection:

The BBC: Despite what our Information Minister says, the Beeb has produced a very factual, almost clinical report with minimal commentary.

TIME closes its piece on the following note: “In an era where Islam is so often partnered with extremism and autocratic governance, Malaysia was held up at the annual conference as a model of a moderate Muslim nation committed to safeguarding the rights of its diverse population. But the Federal Court’s verdict on Joy’s case, which represented her last legal recourse, may undercut that reputation.

Al Jazeera makes mention of Malaysia’s ‘faith restoration camps’ and mentions the phrases “regressive” and “unconstitutional“.

The Guardian has this to say: “The court’s decision comes as tensions grow between the Muslim Malay majority and the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who are mainly Hindu, Buddhist or Christian.”

The Economist talks of a creeping Islamisation and concludes with this thought provoking sentence: “Constraints on individuals’ rights to choose their beliefs are usually backed up by claims that religions are somehow ‘under threat’: a curious lack of faith—in faith itself”

The International Herald Tribune (IHT) NY Times mentions rules on bumiputera ownership and says that the ruling underlines “the increasing separateness of Muslims from people of other religions” and adds that “the split on the court mirrored the discord in Malaysian society, where ethnic and religious tensions have begun to increase in recent years.”

[EDIT: My mistake…the link above was to the NY Times. However the IHT paints an equally unflattering picture of Malaysia.]

The Economist and the IHT especially are read by business people around the world.

Looking at it objectively, if your introduction to Malaysia was through articles like the ones above, would you want to invest your client’s money or book your two week honeymoon in Malaysia? It’s no use whether you agree or disagree with the various assessments. The reality is, the damage is done.

I doubt you’ll find a busier Ministry in Malaysia right now than the Ministry of Truth Information.