At the National Day Rally 2006, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, spoke on a variety of current issues affecting Singapore. It was a speech that brought together some old issues, which have been talked about in different forums and the thrust sounded all too familiar.
In June 2006, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, spoke on a variety of currents issues affecting Malaysia. It is interesting how PM Lee's speech mirrored or contrasted some of the issues raised by Tun Dr Mahathir.
While I do not agree with some of Tun Dr Mahathir's views, I found Tun Dr Mahathir's speech had more learning points. And I wished the National Day Rally could have been likewise.
These are some of the positive highlights or learning points of Tun Dr Mahathir's speech. The video of his speech can be watched at the Malaysia Today website in six parts.
He spoke about why he feels, in 50 years, all countries in the world will be multi-ethnic, except China, and why he thought Malaysia’s management of race relations and religious freedom was a success – though some people disagree there is racial harmony in Malaysia.
He felt Malaysia had lost its mastery of English and welcomed the trend to teach Science and Mathematics in English in Malaysian schools.
He emphasized it was necessary to both speak Malay & English well, and also have knowledge to create products and innovate.
He talked about one-party dominance of a democracy, and how it can stifle debate.
He took the view that a government should be strong but not too strong. He spoke about ‘neighbouring countries’ which have been dominated by one political party and how opposition politicians in these countries were charged with corruption or made bankrupt.
His view is that governments having more than 90% majority in Parliament may be regarded as "a little bit too strong". As a result, persons will not criticise the government and, if there is criticism, it will be subdued.
In his view, a strong government is one with a 2/3 majority in Parliament - as opposed to 90% majority - as such a majority can enable critical assessments of policies to be made.
He also felt an opposition was necessary to ensure the government makes the right decisions and to provide alternative viewpoints.
He encouraged people not to reach conclusions or make decisions about issues before first understanding the issues at hand and the background about the issues involved.
He reiterated why it was important for an individual to not have just good knowledge but a strong values system. A strong values system would mean a person who is resistant to vices or temptations in society, and who is disciplined. It also means if a person undertakes to do something, the person must do it well.
To achieve this, parents must spend more time with their children, especially in educating them on the ill effects of television and Internet. The education system too has an important role to play in building character to help individuals face struggles, and shape winners and passionate individuals.
TAKE A STAND
He felt it was important to take a stand and risks, especially when things are obviously wrong.
FUTURE OF MALAYSIA
He shared Malaysia needs good leaders to maintain its premiere position among developing countries. And he is confident of its future.