Building a Country: Malaysia's Development


18 Oct 2017

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In this paper, the major discussion is about the process of building Malaysia country. Besides, it also includes how the Malaysian people accept the revolution from Sultanate perspective until the country becomes a democratic country. Malaysia had achieved their independence day in the year of 1957. In these democratic countries, there are a few political parties which are formed before Malaysia gets their independence day from the British which are United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Indian through Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). In that time, they are the three biggest political parties which are occupied by the three biggest ethnic in Malaysia which are Chinese, Malay and Indians. These parties are formed to fight for the independence of our country, Malaya which is now Malaysia. In addition, the factors which affect the process of building our country, Malaysia are also being discussed in this paper. Besides, through this paper, we will also know how our prime minister builds Malaysia.

  1. Introduction

31 August 1957 is a historical day in Malaysia because it is the day where Malaysia gained its independence from British which had colonized our country for few decades. At that time, the major politic parties which consists of United Malays National Organization (UMNO), Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) which are being separated by their ethnic and different identity. These parties had to cooperate together by putting aside of their own ethnic and misunderstanding to deal with the independency of our country, Malaysia. In this way, these political parties, UMNO, MCA and MIC had formed an association party based on their own ethnic to participate in the election to choose a leader to lead the peoples to fight for independence. On that time, Tunku Abdul Rahman, which has become our first prime minister in Malaysia had changed the current style of setting up an association of government through the election where the winning party does not have sufficient votes from the peoples to form a government. After that, a new political party, the Alliance party, is being formed after people from different ethnic done with dealing within each other. Tunku Abdul Rahman, our deceased prime minister is the leader of the Alliance party and he has won the election on that time with the agreement from UMNO, MCA and MIC where they cannot be one of the participate where the leader of the Alliance party contest. It is the first in the history in all over the world where a multi-racial together formed a political party. Malaysia, which is located in the middle of the Southeast Asian region in the world map, is directly affected by many other factors. There are some of the important principles which must be examined before analyze the politics in Malaysia, for example, most of the people in Malaysia are Malay, so they are the leader in the politics. Besides, social civilization and politics have a strong bond between them. In addition, culture between different religions also has some effect on Malaysian politics.

  1. Historical Perspective of Malaysian Politics: Nationality and Politics

On 16 September 1963, Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (Sabah) has combined to become a union called Malaysia. All the states in Malaysia claim that they are Malaysian people and there is no any separation compared to the neighbor country such as Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. This shows that even though Malays are the dominant in this country and they have the first priority if compared to other clan in Malaysia, they still can tolerate and accept each other with different ethnic and races. There are few states in Malaysia which have their own Sultan which is the head of the state and even though after the federation of Malaysia, those state with the Sultan will still have their own power. While in Sabah and Sarawak, they are given to have their own way to administrate their own states. The unity among the people from different states allowed Malaysia to change from a small country into a big country. After Malaysia has become independence in 1957, they seldom focused on the nation building compared to state building. But after Mahathir has taken over the prime minister position, he promoted a ‘Look East’ policy which gives the first priority to the east. Besides, he also makes Malaysia to recognize as an Islamic state and the government is ruling the country with a right view.

  1. The Transformation from ‘sultanate nationality’ to ‘nation building’

Malays, who are the dominant in Malaysia, are divided into few groups because of different states and ethnic and they are the main subjects when defining the nation building in Malaysia. Besides, they are strongly influenced by the loyalty, the Sultan and the King except for those who lives in Penang, Singapore and Malacca. These three states do not have any Sultan or King, so, they have to pay their loyalty to who govern the states. There are some divisions of the states in Malaysia which are Pahang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Perak is called Negeri-negeri Melayu Bersekutu, while Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, Johor and Terengganu are called as Negeri-negeri Tidak Bersekutu. While for Penang, Singapore and Malacca which do not have any Sultanate or King are called Negeri-negeri Selat. All this separation had created some arguments which have affected the nation building.

  1. UMNO and Malayan Union in 1946

UMNO, a party which united all the Malay association from the Peninsula to fight for the proposal of Malayan Union by the effort of a Johor Malay leader, Dato Onn Jaafar. Malayan Union is to unite all the Malays and non-malays to create an equal citizenship. Besides, Malayan Union also has a new idea which is to replace the traditional leaders, Sultanate, with a Governor. But, the Malays, who claim themselves as a Bumiputera reject this idea because they think that this might harm their identity and leadership of the Malay itself. In addition, they also rejected the concept that created by the British. Due to the strong power from the Malay dominant, the British colonial power to realize that they will not have any chances to win the support of the Malay communities through the rejection. After that Persekutuan Tanah Melayu was formed to replaced Malayan Union which is led by Dato’ Onn Jaafar.

  1. ‘Nation Building’ and ‘State Building’ under Tunku Abdul Rahman

Tunku Abdul Rahman is the first leaders who balance the races and ethnicity between three major communities. He is the first leaders who gain the trust of all the communities in Malaysia at that time. Furthermore, the compromises between the leaders of different communities towards the power politics also under controlled. In Malaysia, the power politics are used to ensure that the multi religious-custom society is able to govern without any revolution which will cause chaos. Besides, it is also important that the nation building ethnic and the race in a country is stabilizing because it will cause harm if the racial ethnic balance is being neglected. During the general election in May 1969, Tunku Abdul Rahman has made a toleration with the sensitive issues which involves religious and racial. Besides, Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak also realized that harmony between the communities is the most important to ensure the peace of Malaysia. In September 1970, Tunku Abdul Razak replaced Tunku Abdul Rahman as the second prime minister in Malaysia. While in 1971, our second prime minister, Tunku Abdul Razak introduced a new policy, Dasar Ekonomi Baru. The purpose of this policy is to abolish the famine, to make equality to the socio-economic and abolish the recognition of the race towards the economic function. In addition, he is the first who formed the Barisan National to take over the Alliance Party which has become a strong party at that time. Until today, our Malaysia Government retains this strong national resilience to make sure the stability of the politic in our country. Besides, he also succeeds in building a good diplomatic relationship between the other countries. Due to the diplomatic relationship with China, it improves the position of Chinese ethnic in Malaysia which they can go to China anytime they wanted to. When our fourth prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir led our country, it is the best performance in Malaysia where all the sectors shows a good result.

  1. Malaysia as a Fundamental Moderate Islamic Country: Malaysia, is it an Islamic or Secular State?

When our first prime minister led Malaysia, he ever said that Malaysia has an official religion which is Islam. But this statement has brought many troubles to Malaysia because the others who are non-Muslims and even for the Muslims also unsatisfied with this statement. Some even said that this is an anti-Islamic and causes the Muslims to separate into few different groups which are extreme, moderate and liberal. Many questions have been asked according to that statement and thus causing the worldwide politics become a complicated and brings harm to Islam. Malaysia, which is mostly dominated by Muslims, some of the parties like Pan Malayan Islamic Party (PMIP or PAS) take this opportunity to obtain their support in the election by using Islam as their center. They even use this to influence their supporters that UMNO and BN are the parties who will bring harms to Islam in their campaigns. Besides, they even develop a slogan ‘Membangun Bersama Islam’ to announce Hudud as a part of Islamic law and uses this to win over the votes from the Muslim supporter.

  1. Malaysia and Terrorism

Dr. Mahathir has clarified the misunderstanding by some of the peoples on Islam in BBC interview due to some people call the Muslims as a terrorist. This has caused Malaysia has been prejudiced by other country due to this kind of statement. But, they do not know the truth which our country, Malaysia, is the only one multi-racial country who wins against the terrorism. Besides, Malaysia uses its democratic system to won against the communism after World War II. Tunku Abdul Rahman, who was the leader of Malaysia at that time, also stated that he has prepared to fight against the terrorism rather than staying there doing nothing and he also encourage the people to fight for it. After that, the spirit of fight against the terrorism has influenced many other countries and thus, Malaysia has become the role model. In addition, Malaysia also shows to the outside world that they can live peacefully and harmony in one country with multi-racial and urge the world community to stop hurting each other. Unfortunately, some other people who misunderstand Dr. Mahathir who encourage the people in the world not to fight with each other like copying what Osama Ben Laden said. This caused the foreign people think that we are only acting to the world towards the terrorism but actually we are supporting it. It is bad to judge our country like this because we are really a multi-racial who can live peacefully with each other, tolerate and accept different culture between us. But fortunately Mahathir shown to the world by forming the GERAKAN which is represent by Muslim and non-Muslim.

  1. Fundamental Islamic Country

When Malaysia firstly announces our country as a ‘fundamental based Islamic’ country, this news shocked all the Malays especially the PAS. Besides, Mahathir also said that whoever does not support the government parties will definitely go to hell after they died. It has frightens a lot of people. In addition, Mahathir also wanted to get rid of PAS because he thinks that most of the Malay will support PAS just because of their ideology. In addition, he also said that when building a country, development is more important than punishment and he said that he dislikes using weapon to rule the country. Furthermore, the non-Muslims know that the announcement given by Mahathir will not bring any harm to them because they have faith with Mahathir that he will guide Malaysia towards a good future. Even the UMNO in Penang, which is a politic party based by Malay, was also run by a Chinese leader. This can show that the harmony between the multi-racial in our country where they can accept each other.

  1. Malaysia and Mahathir as an Agent of Change: Malaysian State Building at the Era of the Globalized World

Dr. Mahathir, Malaysia fourth prime minister stated that globalization means that it is a world without any border but does not mean everything named globalization is a good thing and must be well prepared if anything bad is happen, an action is needed to be taken. Malaysia is developing well under the lead of Dr. Mahathir and he never give up to guide Malaysia towards a better future. Besides, he also never loses direction when Malaysia is facing crisis. In addition, he also encourages the people to maintain a good relationship with their neighbor’s country. By this way, just can bring a lot of benefit to us while contribute to the economy of our country. Furthermore, Dr. Mahathir also realize that the global effects might bring negative effect to our country, so he hopes that this kind of effect can be minimize.

  1. Malaysian Ways: Role Models in Handling the Financial Crisis

When Dr. Mahathir flash back the crisis that happened in 1969, he said that all the community should cooperate together to ensure that the crisis will not happened again. He also found an effective ways to reduce the divergence between different races and try to abolish the famine among the community. While dealing with the crisis of economic in Malaysia, he also facing the disturbance of the politic which caused by the other politic party who opposes the Barisan Nasional. But, Dr. Mahathir is good at dealing with the crisis. He was able to find an effective ways to handle the crisis by develop a new strategy to rebuild the economic in Malaysia. He also ever said that Malaysia is a business country where they trade and buy. This is how the economic in Malaysia grow. Besides, we also need the investment by the foreign country and maintain a good relationship with others country. When Dato’ Mustapa Mohamed work as our second finance minister, he bring our country economy back to the right track and thus Malaysia have an excellent achievement on that time. While in 1997, our country faces the crisis of currency but, Dr. Mahathir had decide to find ways to fix the currency exchange rates to save our country from financial crisis. A strategy has been developed to maintain the currency of our country. After the new strategy started, there is a change in Malaysia economic. Then they even build National Economic Action Council (NEAC) to give them some advice on the economic problem faced by our country. With the help of NEAC, some movements have been taken to solve the crisis. Besides, the government also takes some action to control the currency from being flowing out too much from our country. But fortunately this control is just for a while and the share market of our currency has back to normal and the investment from the foreign country is not affected. Many people invest in our country because our currency is in a fixed rate at most of the time and this is a good thing. Furthermore, the way how our country control the flow of our currency has also been recognized and used by the global financial system because it is unexpectedly a good way to solve the financial crisis and thus causing other foreign country to look high on our fourth prime minister, Dr. Mahathir. Meanwhile, some of the investor from western quit from invest on our market and luckily that time China stepped in and lend us a hand. A year has passed and our country has finally revived from financial crisis and many foreign countries started to accept the way how our Dr. Mahathir deals with the financial crisis. After a few years, Bank Negara Malaysia showed that the economy in our country has improved and our currency is now acceptable by the foreign country. This means that Malaysia finally survived from the financial crisis with the help of our prime minister, Dr. Mahathir.

  1. Conclusion

As a conclusion, the way how our ministers build our country and save our country from many kind of crisis is a history and it should be remembered by every Malaysian. Without those leaders, our country will not have a better life like nowadays with how they fight for our independence from colony of British and save us from crisis. They had shown to the world how a leader should be like and the capability which must have in a leader. Without the leaders, our country, Malaysia will not become a strong country which brings a lot of contribution to the world. Besides, all kind of challenges which faced by our country has become our experience to make us a better country and try to maintain a good relationship between the multi-racial.


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