Dark Forces Changing Malaysia unravelling the complexities of the Malaysian journey since independence, which the authors dare touch on the issues that really matter which have been bullied out of the public space for being ‘sensitive’ and therefore off-limits to any reasonable discussion. This book helps us to take that crucial first step of looking at ourselves honestly and critically. If we can all put the nation first and do just that, we have a chance of the Malaysia we dreamed of. The vista which is painted within this volume draws from the despair and disillusionment so palpable among many of the citizenry, especially since the 14th General Election, but going back two decades or more. The gathering of the storm clouds over Malaysia is examined in some detail in Section I, which covers developments in the economic, political and socio-cultural sectors and provides a best and worst-case scenario for each of the sectors for the medium term.
Although the worst-case scenario has not happened yet, today many Malaysians and friends from abroad see the country caught in a cul-de-sac of national development and worse, moving backwards in the key area of social cohesion and national unity which forms part of the substratum of any society be it democratic, technocratic, oligarchic, or totalitarian. The essays presented in Section I and other sections seek to identify the causes of this despair and disillusionment that is hindering true Malaysian nationhood.
The volume also contains commentaries dealing with the equally important substratum area of economic and socio-cultural development. In Section II, the issues of racial discrimination, religion, the New Economic Policy, government-linked companies, the 12th Malaysian Plan, and the general socioeconomic environment are examined, across a number of essays.
Here, the effects of the ideology of ketuanan Melayu are clearly seen within public policy, together with their discriminatory and deficient outcomes including for the targeted Malay poor. These essays point not only to the outdatedness of the racially oriented NEP but also its abuses and distortions favouring the elite classes. Of special concern are the social and racial divisions caused by the policy and its successor plans including the latest version touted in the “Shared Prosperity Vision 2030” of the Perikatan Nasional government.
The third section of the volume, “The State of Malay Politics” examines the institutions that have sent Malaysia further on its downward spiral. In this part, the role and complicity of the elites within society are closely examined. The implications of elite ambition, opportunism, and greed have stamped their influence into the nature and workings of the civil service, and also in the structure and modus operandi of the private business sector where corruption, cronyism and rent-seeking have become embedded.