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M. Bakri Musa

Seeing Malaysia My Way

My Photo
Location: Morgan Hill, California, United States

Malaysian-born Bakri Musa writes frequently on issues affecting his native land. His essays have appeared in the Far Eastern Economic Review, Asiaweek, International Herald Tribune, Education Quarterly, SIngapore's Straits Times, and The New Straits Times. His commentary has aired on National Public Radio's Marketplace. His regular column Seeing It My Way appears in Malaysiakini. Bakri is also a regular contributor to th eSun (Malaysia). He has previously written "The Malay Dilemma Revisited: Race Dynamics in Modern Malaysia" as well as "Malaysia in the Era of Globalization," "An Education System Worthy of Malaysia," "Seeing Malaysia My Way," and "With Love, From Malaysia." Bakri's day job (and frequently night time too!) is as a surgeon in private practice in Silicon Valley, California. He and his wife Karen live on a ranch in Morgan Hill. This website is updated twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays at 5 PM California time.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Danahara's Success - Readers' Responses

May 20, 2005

Sdr. Bakri,

I just had my surgery a week ago and I am resting now. I am in a cybercafe checking my emails.
About Danaharta, etc., we seem to lack good people to manage public funds. There are many instances of fraud perpetrated by our own people. If they were true to Islam, this would not happen. We have been given all the opportunities through the political channels. MARA and Danaharta are good examples of success. We need more; we need to replicate the successes of these institutions and to ensure their continuity. The new wealth created by Malays in the ruling party is not the result of their effort and hard work. Consequently their wealth and “creations” do not endure, as exemplified by the fate of our brother, Halim Saad.
The government has created ample opportunities. It is up to us to get together to set up our own financial and other institutions and have them be managed by trustworthy people.
By the way, my classmate at MCKK (Malay College Kuala Kangsar) was H…M…. You may know him; he has been very successful, I think.
Well, only an idea.


May 23, 2005

Very daring, independent and insightful article! Congratulations!
Hope to receive more of the same from you. Thank you.


May 22, 2005

Dear Bakri,

This is a good piece, but there are rumors about Azman Yahaya’s activities while at Danaharta. Let us hope these are just rumors as I also know him. He is very well regarded and I also have high regards for him. He is now with Scomi (AAB’s son-in-law’s company), which in turn has a controlling interest in one controversial company.
There is no doubt that Danaharta is a success story, and Daim [former Finance Minister under Dr. Mahathir] too must get credit for this. It was he who started these GLCs after studying what FDR did under the New Deal in the 1930’s.

I will get the Sun Daily and read it.
Regards, Din Merican

May 25, 2005

Dear Din and Bakri:

I sense that you are emerging to be a beacon, leading the school of Malay and Malaysian public opinion.

I sense that the stridency of the Police Commission Report that was released recently is significant. At earlier times the report would have simply been aborted during the investigation process. That the report survived and is being released is significant. In part it was a response to your tempered insistence in calling a spade a spade, the brickbats and distractions you received notwithstanding.

This is not to say that Badawi is doing enough; to me he is clearly not. Just to say that some movement in the right direction is now apparent. Whether it is more apparent than real, or simply more “even-Badawi-does-not-know-the forces-and-marriages-of-convenience-that-conspire-in-his- favour,” we might know till months ahead.

What is your take?

With money politics undiscerned as corruption, and opaqueness excused as inopportune timing, our national leaders leave Malaysians with a vague sense of mental or moral ill-being, a malaise of cynicism and despair (to quote Malcolm Boyd).

After some 20 months as PM, maybe I would give Abdullah the “cawat” as a little caveat instead of undressing him completely. He has to acknowldege and address the dynamics of the real dogfight currently taking place surreptiously in UMNO. It is not fair having the Mahathir-Gafar-“Duduk Pagar” Najib-PAS axis conspring against the poor shredded fellow.
One potential counterbalancing force would be an Abdullah-Anwar-Others in-the-wings axis. I will not characterize it as the axis of evil just yet, but I anticipate some good fireworks display.
Otherwise, all the other planning tools cease to humor any stupid consuming Malaysian.


Dear Dr. Musa,

Thanks for sending a copy of your article commenting about Danaharta. The essay reflects the thinking behind your sharp mind, and your strong and urgent sense of righteousness and transparency that is badly needed among the leadership and politicians in Malaysia. I am very impressed with your knowledge and how you keep yourself informed about what really is happening and what needs to be improved on back in your “homeland” Malaysia.

Since independence Malaysia had not improved the living standards of most of its people other than the top 5 percent, despite the abundant relative natural wealth of the country. I feel very depressed whenever I visit my family members in Malaysia. The majority of my wife’s nephews and nieces had crossed over from KL to Singapore after working in Malaysia for a good 3 to 5 years. They managed to obtain their Singapore PR. They came with their spouses and children in tow, not lured by the money or high pay but expunged by the deteriorating conditions of life in Kuala Lumpur. They are all professionals in their own right.

They cite their children’s education, lack of security, and high crime rates as some of their reasons. They are prepared to trade their good life in KL with a good home and large car for a car-less family and life in an apartment (some in public flats). We really hope the new prime minister can improve things and go beyond mere rhetoric. The recent Police Commission report of a cop who accumulated an asset of RM 34 million has yet to be investigated. They have yet to disclose his name and how he acquired such wealth. Have you had a chance to read that report?

Your comments indicate your in-depth knowledge of current affairs of not only Malaysia but also US and other areas. I really hope that Malaysia will take note of your article and implement some of the suggestions and points towards transforming Malaysia into a better society.

I had just returned from an extended trip to the US after visiting Denver, Rochester, NY, and Las Vegas related to my industry and business. Many of my American friends were surprised that this was my first visit to Las Vegas although I had been traveling to the US at least once or twice a year for the last 30 years. The reason is that I dislike gambling and always regard Vegas as a city of SIN. The Singapore government has also decided to build and develop two integrated gambling resorts by 2008 to attract the tourist dollars. The government is planning to cushion the social impact and problems.

I will be leaving for Frankfurt and Barcelona this Tuesday and then to Beijing and will be back around end of June. If you and Karen will be visiting the region this year I would love to meet up with you. I still remember the interesting conversations that made my day ay your home appeared like a couple of minutes. Looking forward to hear from you and please convey my regards to Karen.

Regards, A

Assalamualaikum Abang Bakri:

I read your essay in the Sun Daily. I think you have made a point there worth thinking. This is the spirit which I try to instill in my children, to be the best and to hold a post only because you are qualified for that job. I have an accountant, an IT man, an Actuarial student, a medical student and a potential medical student in my children of ten.
Modern Malay Muslim?



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