Friday, September 6, 2013

Malaysia: a nation left out

Good day readers. I finally get to head to Singapore for a short visit after five years! Was considering a postgraduate opportunities at Monash Sunway, but found out that I didn't really like it. Immediately I looked for projects in Singapore and found two that appealed to me.

I made the trip to Singapore to see professors!

So I bought train tickets to Johor Bahru. My meeting with professors took place on 30th of August so I bought tickets arriving on 29th to buy more time. To my dismay, a one way train journey took seven and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru.

Repeat after me, 7.5 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru/Singapore in the 21st century. That's a journey covering 400 km (not very far, actually). Going by the train speed, a trip to Bangkok can easily take 22 hours. That's downright unacceptable today. Judging by the standard 20 years ago, I wouldn't mind this train journey.

I regret to say that this is the level of service offered by our national railway company, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad. The KTM Intercity service has existed for 30 years and there wasn't a single bit of improvement to cater growing needs and changing time.

The railway track from Gemas to Singapore still remains single tracked, severely limiting capacity. Isn't this supposed to be completed five years ago?

Malaysia as a nation is progressing at a pace too slow to be acceptable today. South Korea and Taiwan, less developed than us 50 years ago, has caught up and left us far behind in terms of development. This is akin to starting ahead in a race, but allowing other racers (whose starting lines lie behind us) to overtake simply because we don't run fast enough. The country has been mismanaged that progress is impeded.

The amount of foreign investments in Malaysia is less, but we had net outflow since the past few years. Where do I put my face when foreigners remark that Malaysia is a backward country only comparable to less developed areas of Africa?

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