KUALA LUMPUR: Economic growth has not made Malaysians more equal or happier, rather, they are more disillusioned than ever.
An article in the South China Morning Post (SCMP) adds that Malaysians are facing an optimism deficit, and people are disappointed in the way things have turned out.
While in the past, even in the 1980s of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s era, they felt that things would and could get better, today, they know this may not be the case.
Despite the currency rebound, the SCMP article written by Karim Raslan notes, Malaysians are struggling with rising prices, new taxes, a stuttering economy and an unending series of scandals.
And it is not just due to the allegations regarding 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the political fortunes of Prime Minister Najib Razak. There are other factors such as the rising cost of living and criminal acts such as young men being fatally beaten by mobs for their alleged criminality or lack of masculinity.
“Malaysia had long been a country of the future – offering its great wealth and vast natural resources to its people. But now, Malaysians are baffled by how things have turned out.
“They expected so much and yet at every corner, there are more disappointments.”
“Malaysians are surrounded by leaders who are rash, impetuous, uncivilised and dishonest,” adds the article.
It notes that numbers can be produced to show improvements but that things “don’t feel better, and at the end of the day, that is what counts”.
The SCMP article says that jobs are scarce and Malaysia is not producing young workers who can compete regionally or globally and that the youth are facing a lifetime of debt and poor prospects.
To succeed in the new world of innovation and creativity, Malaysians need to respect education, knowledge and professionalism, but, the SCMP article adds, these “seem to have been tossed out long ago”.