Malaysia and Singapore may have more in common than we think

by Augustine Low

Reading an old article by Marina Mahathir, the outspoken daughter of the Malaysian Prime Minister, it struck me that the kinds of things she wrote about her country could just as well apply to Singapore.

The article, headlined “You walk the talk first” recommended changes the government needed to adopt to “share the burden” with the people.

These are excerpts from her long list of suggestions – see if you can pick out the ones that Singapore could also do with:

  • Stop elaborate launches for Government programs
  • Make all civil servants and politicians travel economy class
  • Stop having the full complement of police escorts to cut down on petrol costs
  • Scrutinise invoices for contracts to make sure they are truly reflective of what those projects or supplies cost
  • No need to order kuih for mid-morning or teatime meetings in Government offices
  • Cancel all trips for Government servants to conferences overseas unless they return with full reports of what they did there, who they met and what they learnt and how they mean to apply what they learnt at home
  • Once a week (or more) have ministers use public transport so they know what everyone else has to suffer
  • Once a week, let ministers go to a market to buy food for their families with instructions not to spend more than RM100
  • Get ministers to carpool. They might get more work done just by being able to talk to each other to see what could be coordinated between their ministries
  • Once a month, get civil servants to work with one disadvantaged group in order to be better able to appreciate their problems
  • Newspapers should save paper by reporting real news rather than the non-news that they carry, particularly nonsensical utterances by politicians
[spacer height=”20px”]Marina Mahathir concluded her article with this line: So if the Government and politicians make these lifestyle changes, I will do my part and change mine.

Do you agree that Singapore could also do with a healthy dose of some of these suggestions?