Malaysia – far from a failed state

Malaysia – far from a failed state | The Malaysian Insight

Published on 10 Jul 2021 12:26PM

RECENTLY, a Bloomberg columnist, Daniel Moss, published an article entitled “Malaysia Is Staggering Down the Road to Failed Statehood”, which in our view is a lopsided, misleading, and an imbalanced piece against Malaysia.

We are here to provide a more balanced view.

To begin with, a failed State is a nation in anarchy with dysfunctional health care system, extremely corrupted governmental agencies, dilapidating public infrastructures, and very low Human Development Index (HDI). Malaysia has none of these thresholds.

The white flag initiative has got nothing to do with Malaysia failing as a State. It is a manifestation that Malaysians, regardless of race, are there for each other. Unity among its diverse population, is the main ingredient of nationhood of this proud nation.

If Malaysia really is a failed state, the majority of its population would have plunged into abject poverty by now, with the whole nation falling into the abyss of anarchy. However, the current government is still active notwithstanding several unsuccessful attempts to bring it down. Despite the pandemic, the poverty rate in Malaysia remained under 10% of the population in 2020.

Malaysia’s government agencies are still running and operating effectively, particularly the healthcare system, in battling the Covid-19 outbreak. Both the Health Ministry and the Health Department have worked hand-in-hand with various agencies and organisations to ensure that all Covid-19 patients are well taken care of.

Malaysia was initially successful in containing the virus. Back in July 2020, Malaysia had zero infections while first world nations like Italy, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America, and France were overwhelmed by the might of the microscopic but deadly virus.

In November 2020, Reuters reported that the UK has failed to stop the outbreak as deaths climbed up to more than 50,000. Despite mass vaccination, the UK today has recorded 128,000 death tolls, with active cases rising to more than 545,000. Malaysia on the other hand has recorded 6000 deaths with 81,000 active cases.

The UK remains one of the countries with the highest recorded Covid-19 cases in the world. The new variant is slowly causing yet another outbreak in the UK, and possibly the rest of Europe.

According to a report in the Guardian last year, about 700,000 UK citizens were driven into poverty due to the pandemic. Based on this data, is it fair to conclude that the UK is a failed state?

Despite all the 1MDB drama and allegations of kleptocracy, Malaysia was able to come up with RM2 trillion savings – a fact that was admitted by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir himself, before he voluntarily stepped down in early 2020. How could a failed state run by an allegedly corrupt government have come up with such massive amount of savings?

Although Malaysia is now swamped with huge numbers of daily infections, this has to be balanced against the high number of individuals getting vaccinated each day.

The author, Daniel Moss, failed to recognise that Malaysia has ramped up its vaccination, with more than 10% of its population fully vaccinated within a month. The vaccination progress has been rather promising as of late.

Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, a number of mega infrastructure projects like MRT 2, LRT 3, and new highways in the Klang Valley, among others, are still being actively constructed. According to data published by the United Nations Development Program in 2020, Malaysia has a very high HDI, at par with other developed States. These qualities would not befit a state at the brink of failure.

Therefore, it is an overstatement or an exaggeration to state that Malaysia is going down the path of a “failed State”, just because of the white flag campaign. This campaign just goes to show that Malaysians always look out for one another, come what may.

Malaysia is far from becoming a failed State.

* Mohd Hazmi Mohd Rusli and Fareed Mohd Hassan are lecturers at the Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.

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