Monday, November 25, 2013

Reviving the Politics of Responsibility

3rd week working at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, reading old reports, this particular paragraph made me proud to be Malaysian:

"on November 21, 1997, there was an official request to fund for an emergency rescue loan. Indonesia and Thailand signed up. Yet Malaysia did not. Amid mass demonstrations, the Malaysian prime minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, refused IMF assistance...It instead implemented a fiscal stimulus of 7 billion ringgit, including a boost to social safety net measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis...Malaysia took a dramatically different approach..Those choices helped prevent Malaysians from suffering the fate of Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea whose politicians chose to swallow the bitter pill of austerity. Indonesia and Thailand experienced significant increases in poverty and prevalence of malnutrition. Malaysia, by contrast expanded its food program to impoverished citizens and experienced a much smaller rise."

I like the old political landscape in Malaysia, where politicians decide on what they feel is right instead of what is popular. Sometimes radical decisions must be made, even if the decision seems to be less popular. Believe in what we feel is right, not fumble upon every demonstrations that threatens the number of votes. Leadership is not a popularity contest, especially when it involves the health of the whole nation. I am still waiting for a Malaysia that thrives on the politics of responsibility rather than popularity

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