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If the United Kingdom was Malaysia's 14th state....

Things could look quite different, judging from this speech by Dr Nazrin Shah:

"The Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah said the fight against corruption should see good governance with figures in authority being qualified for such positions. He said the corrupt should be held in contempt by society. "Those with a chequered past or clear evidence of questionable morality should be prevented from taking office".

And if that wasn't setting the bar a tad on the high side for the likes of Mandelson, Prescott and other members of the rogues' gallery, "Only Malaysians who [are] capable, hard working, bold and scrupulously honest [should be] allowed to serve in positions of responsibility".

Erm, who'd be left in British public life?

The Raja himself has a rather more impressive CV than the average Crown Prince: a PPE from Oxford and both a Masters and a Ph.D from Harvard.

Mind you, his calling card must be a bit lacking in white space: "Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Raja Muda Perak Darul Ridzuan Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah Ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin D.K., D.K.II (Selangor), D.K.S.A, S.P.C.M, S.P.T.S, S.P.M.P. (Perlis), Ph.D (Harvard)".

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Anonymous Nomad said... 1:18 pm

Mr C: A pleasant surprise to see this item at the head of your blog this afternoon. As you seem to follow Malaysian politics fairly closely you will know that of late the Perak Crown Prince has been raising his profile. He has begun to make hard hitting, and usually eminently sensible, speeches which are making an impact here. This one got high profile coverage today in the local media.

He comes from a family who value education highly – in the 1980s his father, the present Raja of Perak (and one time King) was the Chief Judge of the Federal Court Malaysia, the highest court in the land. Those were the days of unsullied integrity, competence and honesty of the Malaysian judicial system, before Mahathir and his cronies used their political power to severely dent it, and also to remove the power of the Sultans. This latter act was welcomed by many as a few of the royals had been abusing their powers. The judiciary is only now beginning to slowly recover some of its integrity. The present, spotlessly clean, Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, succeeded Mahathir with a promise to try to put an end to the cronyism and corruption which had pervaded the country during the latter’s years in power, but it seems to be an uphill struggle and there are almost daily reports of somebody on the take or caught with sticky fingers in the till. The chickens of this past cronyism are now coming home to roost with depressingly regular reports of roof or ceiling collapses (including nasty events at the recently completed parliament building and the sparkling new High Court complex), landslides from improperly prepared groundwork, burst pipes, collapsed roads, faulty fly-overs etc, all of which are due to the incompetence or crookedness of those awarded the contracts for the work and all of which have to be repaired at the further expense of the Malaysian taxpayers.

If he lives long enough, there is an excellent chance of this Raja Muda not only succeeding his father to the throne of Perak, but also taking his turn as the Agong (King) of Malaysia. The system rotates among the States on a five yearly basis and he is still only about 50 years old.

Re his business card, being still a Crown Prince, he has hardly started to collect the various honours the royal families award themselves and each other. Just Google “Sultan of Perak” to see his dad’s collection. If written out in full, they would probably require a sheet of A4 to get them all on. But I think the probable winner in these stakes would be the Sultan of Brunei who seems to have gongs and honours from all over the place!  



Blogger Croydonian said... 1:29 pm

N - A thoughtful and insightful contribution, for which thanks.

If you would like to write a piece on the Malaysian political scene I would be delighted to publish it as a guest post, unedited and with your name at the end.  



Anonymous Nomad said... 1:59 pm

Mr C: Thanks, but no thanks! I do not consider myself half well enough informed to write an essay on the current ever-changing Malaysian political scene; but I shall happily contribute where I am able to whenever anything relevant comes along. There a several local blogs which cover the local scene very well if anybody is interested in a non-newspaper view of the country.

A huge development programme for the northern states was announced today. Any bets on an election in the wind? The PM has been doing his world statesman bit lately and in his absence abroad the profile of his deputy Datuk Najib has been correspondingly much higher with daily appearance on all news bulletins. There is a story in local folklore that dates back yonks that the initials of the first name of the first six PMs following Malaysian Independence will form the Arabic word "Rahman" which means Merciful. So far five are down, with Mahathir providing the "M" and Abdullah Badawi the current incumbent providing the "A". The "N" on the end will be Najib if everything goes to plan. Now is that curious or what?  



Blogger Newmania said... 2:51 pm

Years ago my fathr helped set up the Malaysian national Insurance Company , at that time Lloyds were heavily involved in covering rubber crops and there was a very strong connection.
They certainly had some high standards as his business partner found when he was caught issuing white goods guarantee without proper security.He got a sentence that I forget but was pretty much life in UK terms and they meant it.

It was jaw dropping . No second chnace .. thats it .  



Anonymous verity said... 4:05 pm

Very intersting, Nomad. I thoroughly enjoyed your posts.

Are those jerks up in the north - can't remember the name the the state - still chasing away international investment by revelling in shariah law? Can you imagine a normal company wanting to operate there? I mean, how would they get employees to move from the rest of Malaysia to staff it, given that the indigenes aren't overly endowed with grey matter?  



Blogger Daimyo Higham-Baka-Ohta said... 5:20 pm

Newmania - you have a finger in every pie.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 5:24 pm

In which case Our Man in Islington is going to have a full set of burnt digits....  



Blogger CityUnslicker said... 9:07 pm

much to my (later) dismay my relative turned down the offer of his islands being incorporated as the 14th state of malaysia and him being made king for 5 years.

Still, would have had to convert to islam as part of the price.  



Anonymous nomad said... 6:50 am

Verity: This 12/13 hour time difference does make it difficult to hold a cogent conversation!

Anyway, the answer to your question is No. The new programme seems to be centred on Penang, both on the island and the mainland and will stretch for some miles up and down the west coast to incorporate bits of Perak, Penang and Perlis. From the skimpy detail currently available it seems that this 20 year development is going to concentrate mainly on infrastructure projects - a second bridge across to Penang Island, fully integrated transport systems, a monorail project, new ferry services, an expanded port etc. The famous old Penang Golf Club is to be turned into a horrendous looking mega-city of glass and concrete. Yuk - there seems to be a decided shortage of original ideas in the architectural profession these days!

Not much seems to be heading the way of the eastern seaboard states (Terengganu; and Kelantan - your favourite Sharia Law state!). Terengganu was won back by the National Front a couple of years ago so now only Kelantan holds out - just. I think the majority last time was only one or two seats. As you surmise, many young folk are moving away to work in KL and none seems in a hurry to go back home any time soon. The Govt offers dribs and drabs, but nothing really significant until they regain the state.

I don't know where all this money is coming from (although I suppose the very high oil prices have something to do with increased revenue for the past few years) but there is also a plan for a major trade hub - cum duty free type area in the south of Johor, just across from Singapore. If they go on like this there will not be a palm tree to be seen!  



Anonymous nomad said... 10:21 am

Ooops! 2 corrections to the above (for the sake of accuracy..)
1. for Perlis read Kedah
2. for Golf Club read Turf Club  



Anonymous Nomad said... 1:07 pm

There is an appropriate expression which I could put here to do with old boots - explicit, but inappropriate for this area of discussion. I said earlier that not much development money was going to the NE states, well, famous last words and all that...

Today the Govt announced a development package for Kelantan worth around £84 million for some largish infrastructure work - new highway, new bridge etc. The PM was there in full flow doing the ground breaking ceremony and all that hooha that seems to be de rigeuer for such occasions.

The substantial pay rises awarded a few months ago to the civil and public services also came into force yesterday.

All this merely strengthens my gut feeling that an early election is in the wind.  



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