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What has become of us? If I were to take the 'worst case' scenario, and if I were to look at us from an outsider's point of view, this is what some may think of us:

Security: We have had hundreds of snatch thefts and they go on unabated. A visitor (although not the run of the mill type) can be brutally murdered and her body exploded to smithereens. Even the houses of VIPs are burgled and the owners tied and gagged.

Secured air cargo areas can be robbed and goods worth millions can disappear overnight. Road accidents kill thousands every year and even after many, many 'operasi', we are back where we started.

Judiciary: Murder and murder-abetment suspects are allowed to be free on either bail or even unsecured bond whilst an ex-deputy prime minister was beaten up and detained for years, only to be found not guilty. Even a chief justice can be sacked by the executive.

Politicians: Politicians, who are supposed to be the catalyst for national unity are the ones who incite interracial tensions instead. They are also the ones who ignore regulations and plunder state assets, such as land in low-cost housing estates that would have been better used as playgrounds or parks.

Transport: Even until today, one needs to 'negotiate' first before getting into a taxi. We must also be the only country in the world that has a variety of LRT systems that cannot interface with one other. Compared to other countries in the region, we also have the most tolled roads.

Public utilities: The independent power producers (IPPs) get paid a predetermined rate even if we do not buy electricity from them. Our water quality is also poor by any standard, in spite of the rates increase.

Cabinet: We have the most number of ministers in the world!

Industry : We are the only country in the world which has a 'national car' project subsidised by taxpayers.

People: We are right down there when it comes to courtesy and politeness (remember the Readers' Digest survey?)

Our leaders should wake up and not be lulled by accolades given by those out to only please us and are too polite to point out our weaknesses. For starters, please stop using the word 'kagum' whenever we describe what people say about us. 'Kagum' in Bahasa Malaysia means 'in awe'. Are they really in awe of us?

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