Eddie Hoo, The Heat Online

When a Bernama report of Malaysia being listed as the eighth most efficient government in the world by the Global Competitive Report 2014-2015 was posted on a news portal, it drew not only praises but also ridicule from readers. Is the scepticism over a favourable report on our administration warranted?

The report, which was published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), ranks the Qatar government as the most efficient, followed by Singapore and Finland. Others in the top 10 are Hong Kong (fourth), United Arab Emirates (fifth), New Zealand (sixth) and Rwanda (seventh), Switzerland (ninth) and Luxembourg (10th).

The WEF evaluates the efficiency and competitiveness of 144 of the world’s governments based on, among others, the wastefulness of spending, burden of regulation, and the transparency of policy-making for an overall global ranking.

The sarcasm in some of the readers’ comments didn’t come as a surprise as even positive news seem to awaken both the enthusiasm and scorn of our keyboard warriors. The validity of such reports will be questioned, and often, some readers would go off-tangent in their disparaging remarks and abusive denunciation as they cast doubts on the government.

It would be interesting to find out why there are such adverse reactions to a report on the country’s efficiency. Are Malaysians becoming so cynical that we simply refuse to acknowledge any positive report on our government? 

Has the mistrust in the administration grown so immense that we reject any praises of it, or are we just blinded by prejudice? Or are we simply seeing an angry and repetitive diatribe against the vagaries of a wantonly unjust administration? Either way, it shows a lack of pride in our government.  

However, first and foremost, we need to ask if the keyboard warriors who ridiculed the report are reflective of our society. Do the majority of us think like them?

Are we as crude and as racist as the majority of commenters on social media, who would jump on any opportunity to deride fellow citizens of another race and religion? Even when an intelligent debate is presented to them, their replies are usually devoid of any substance.

While there are intelligent replies, they are outnumbered by poorly punctuated and grammatically askew ramblings and racist rants. This imbalance in the articulation of profound thoughts and nonsensical putting-down of others is not peculiar to Malaysia though.

The intellectual debates posed on relevant issues afflicting other parts of the world too are being dumbed down by commenters who can’t see beyond their own racial and religious prejudice. 

Looking at our government, it is without a doubt at an ebb. The political manoeuvres to unseat Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak have brought the worst out of his detractors. The counter moves that are launched to show an absence of ethics. It only goes to prove that politics is a dirty game.

Aside from the politicking, there are gifted leaders with brilliant minds in our administration. Our roadmaps and blueprints for national development have won praises from other countries, so much so that foreign leaders want to adopt them. 

Among those that attracted the attention of the world are the success of the Performance Management and Implementation Unit (Pemandu) and implementation of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Tanzania, South Africa and India have implemented the same model in the development agenda of their countries, using consultancy services from Pemandu.

Two researchers from the World Bank, Professors Charles Sabel and Luke Jordan, published a research paper entitled, “Doing, Learning, Being: A Study of Malaysia’s Transformation Program” which contain their acknowledgement of the actual results of the transformation in Malaysia.

Despite the implementation of these clever plans, Malaysia isn’t firing on all cylinders. The fault lies with their execution, and herein lies one of Malaysia’s biggest weakness — the inability to see through a great plan. 

Somehow, along the way pockets get lined and palms get greased. The recent foreign expose of graft in government-related dealings laid bare to a patronage system and money politics that have drained the country of its resources and denied the nation its true potential. 

Are Malaysians being cynical for the right reasons? The floor is yours. 

Article was first published on The Heat Online