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Delivering on promises

From Sun2Surf of March 30, 2006

Among the main challenges for the government on the domestic front would be meeting the people's rising expectations of the government including its delivery system.
"People are more conscious of their rights so it would be more difficult to manage the country now than before," says University Malaya Faculty of Economics and Administration Assoc Prof Dr Tan Eu Chye.
The other perennial and more difficult challenge would be to find effective means of fostering social integration and national unity.
"Social integration and national unity is crucial to the long-term development of the country as it will guarantee political stability, a pull factor for investments.
"It would be a blessing if more Malaysians are colour-blind. There are racists among all races and this is bad for the country considering our social fabric. But social integration will take more than the 9MP." (Ninth Malaysia Plan -GPJ)
However, efforts must begin now and one way to achieve national integration is to make national schools the first choice for Malaysians of all races.
Professor of technology and innovation policy at the same faculty Dr Rajah Rasiah says beneath our seemingly peaceful society, there is still a lack of trust in the social network.
"If we want to move towards a developed society, we must build trust in order to have a strong social capital. The point is, only if you bring down the ethnic walls can you have true synergy and synergy can ensure rapid growth," he says.
According to him, all segments of society must be involved in the nation's development and be at the same phase of development or there will be sectoral vacuums or unequal development in different spheres which is unhealthy in the long term.
"We need collective participation, we need trust and loyalty, only then can you bring out the best in productivity. We may have Malaysia Inc, the concept was great but as we have seen it was only manifested symbolically," says Rajah.
Therefore, there must be a system to allow all Malaysians to participate in national development. "When you allow people to feel important and be listened to, they will have the trust and loyalty to be more productive for you."
He also hopes that forums that confine discourse along ethnic lines like race-based political parties will be gradually eliminated.
As for the people's rising expectations, he says the people will demand greater efficiency from institutions which play important roles in the functions of society, such as the judiciary, the police and the local councils.
Therefore, when change is required, it has to be an institutional change.
"When a person has a problem related to the institution, his problem is highlighted in the press, someone in power intervenes and his problem is solved. But there is no guarantee that the problem will not be repeated because there is no institutional change, Things remain the same. Only the individual's problem is solved but not the problem in the institution."
The people also demand higher quality of life.
"We see concrete jungles and highrise buildings, is that quality of life? If we continue to focus on material progress alone and develop at the expense of the environment, then we are very short-term development driven," he says. Therefore sustainable development will have to be emphasised.


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