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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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

No Longer "Anwar Who?" Readers' Responses

No Longer "Anwar Who?" Readers' Responses

Reprinted from www.malaysia-today.net

I respect Bakri’s arguments, but I am afraid it will be case of:

Kera di hutan disusukan/Anak dipangkaian mati kelaparan.
[Breastfeeding the moneky’s baby while letting your own starve!]

Aspiring to be the Prime Minister in order to correct the “wrongs” is natural. Every politician worth his salt should aspire for that. To say it would be a failure if that goal is not achieved is surely incorrect. Success can be measured in many ways. If in the process of “fighting” for the prime ministership, Anwar succeeded in garnering momentum for the creation of a truly formidable opposition (i.e. not necessarily rule the country), by Malaysia’s standards, that in itself would be a major major achievment.

Really, if Malaysians were honest, we will realize that there is so much more we need to do and achieve all around as a nation. One would be a more equitable distribution of seats in Parliament between the Government and opposition. After all, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”


With Dr. Bakri’s thesis, to let someone else other than Annuar Ibrahim to be the Malaysian premier (as much as he accolades him), why in the world would we, the rakyat, settle with someone with less personal assets and rich global networking and goodwill? Malaysia is such a small country and needs others to help it survive and prosper. Someone with Annuar Ibrahim stature would fit the bill, don’t you agree?

There in front of our eyes we are witnessing a group of incompetent and inward-looking bunch of people roaming and staying in the corridors of power in Malaysia. Some are there simply because they were born into that. It was never about personal achievements, merits, let alone credibility. What do we have now? If this trend were to continue, I shudder to think of Malaysia in years to come!

For the majority of MT readers, I assume that we can relocate anywhere in the world for our credentials go beyond national boundaries; but what about those MakCiks and Pakciks? At least in my kampong, and the same goes for all others, the rakyats are now categorized according to their political affiliations and no longer as citizens of a nation. I know children of rich UMNO members who are being given scholarships whereas equally qualified children of PAS members are being denied not only scholarships but also entry to local varsities. Mind you, they are all bumiputras.

My point is we have to stop electing mediocre leaders especially those who champion racial superiority and so-called racial protection. Protection against whom? It is the Malays who deprived other Malays of equal justice and treatment, not non-Malays! It is the Malay ruling elite that plundered the country’s rich resources. It is a Malay who is at the helm of the country since independence, and it is the Malays who screw things up really bad!! Don’t forget this. Racial and religious politics will bring Malaysia closer to some of the African and Middle Eastern countries in terms of turmoil, chaos, rampant abuse, corruptions and all. We need some one with fresh outlook who can think not in terms of race and religion but in the interest of the nation.

UMNO always think of UMNO, and it is a priority even at the expense of the nation. UMNO exists to serve UMNO not Malaysia. So is PAS. And I say, to heck with them.

Anak Kelantan

Who else can repair and rescue Malaysia from the brink of collapse now? Just look at the bunch of leaders from our PM downward. Are they capable to lead and make us stand up as a nation? You and I certainly will agree the answer is a big NO! Our current so-called leaders are no better than the street fighters, they are good at shouting inflammatory slogans. Can we pin our hope on them to lead us out of difficulty and into the 21st century?

I am no Anwar admirer. He too had done wrongs when he was in the government, everyone would do that when one is in power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, one can get drunk with too much power. Hopefully Anwar can see the tao of wisdom after the path that he has gone through. With his kind of leadership quality, without doubt he is our man, our last hope to repair the sinking ship Malaysia. Hopefully he has the courage to cut across the barrier of race and religion and make ALL of us stand high together as Malaysians. We, the non-Bumis, have been yearning to be fully Malaysians for almost half a century; Anwar is our last hope.


Bakri writes about lofty stuff but sometimes the defensiveness of his unsettled intellect manifests itself.

My translation of his advice to Anwar reads as follows:

Anwar is a talented doctor. Why practice in an archaic society with real pain and suffering. Come and practise your wares in a more enlightened environment (like the great ol' U.S. of A) where you can bridge misunderstanding Westerners have of us as just little brown ignorant Asians.

Malaria, malnutrition and TB are not the “in” things anymore. Let us go for the more challenging stuff like cosmetic surgery. You will get recognition from real people and not some pitiful scumbags who deserve their fate because of their own fault and lack of motivation. God may have given you talent and skills, Anwar, but its how you use them that defines your person.

In which case, Anwar can still patronize his homeland by advising and writing as an armchair political commentator. Better still, he does not have to get his hands dirty while still being seen to suffer the affinity of his origins and to care and cry for his people.

Sounds familiar, dude?

Kadok Naik Junjong


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