As Dr Mahathir Mohamad used to say, we have to find the root cause of problems. I believe our current 'Malaysia Dilemma' stems from an unchecked Malaysia Incorporated combined with the NEP conveniently absorbed into it.
Malaysia Inc was based on the ideal concept of government and businesses working side by side to fast track national economic development (note the Japanese and Korean models). However, if left without checks and balances, it becomes the ideal playground for systemic corruption, nepotism and cronyism because the prize at the end of the rainbow are government projects and business licences.
Japan and Korea have had their fair share of corruption scandals with the key difference that exposed disgraced CEOs and corrupt politicians are made accountable and resigned or got jailed. That's because they have strong watchdog agencies and strong opposition parties keeping the ruling government and corporations on their toes.
Has Malaysia seen any top CEO or key politician taking a bow and resigning for their misdeeds? It's either that our CEOs and politicians have all been honest and patriotic or that our expedient ('close one eye') system has not been working at all. Take your pick as to which do you think is true.
Here, whichever dominant political party forms the ruling government, it controls the government business machinery. So business is politics, and politics is business. In short, it naturally creates 'money politics'. Politicians need money to buy support and that money has to come from businesses. And for businesses to get government projects and licences, they need politicians 'lobbying' for them. So, it becomes part of the Malaysia Inc business process, and all eyes are closed and never any evidence is found.
Malaysia Incorporated, combined with the NEP, has become an institutionalised Malaysia Boleh business model, and any public questioning of this is treated like blasphemy. Let's call it The System.
The recent Asli report on the bumiputera equity (I salute Dr Lim Teck Ghee for his integrity) has come to the conclusion that 'perhaps The System has got no more clothes on it'. It is immediately seen as threatening, not to grassroots Malaysians, but to the politicians and businessmen controlling the Malaysia Inc business gravy train.
How then can we explain the political resistance to eradicate poverty in Malaysia irrespective of race after 30-plus years of affirmative action? The Asli report suggests an opportunity to open up, discuss and perhaps re-strategise for the future so that Malaysia can move forward. That sounds sensible to the general public but certain politicians reacted like a pack of wolves guarding their dens.
Pak Lah promised to shake up and revamp The System with a 90% mandate given to him but it appears he could not change it, or even got swamped by it. If our top leader can't change The System, it lends weight to the argument that something drastic outside of The System needs to be done.
Perhaps, it takes denying the incumbent government a two-third majority in the next general election and putting in a quality opposition front in Parliament so that a real Malaysia can finally emerge and achieve our Wawasan 2020.
At the very least, we must send to Parliament the strongest opposition since 1969. No pain, no gain. Put in the proper checks and balances for Malaysia Inc and its politics. If not, we deserve to remain a Third World country and proud to remain 'jaguh kampungs' way past 2020.