Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mahathirism's Pet Projects

This will be the Part II of Mahathirism in The Eyes of a 23 year old. I will emphasize on what Mahathirism is in terms of education, development and foreign relations.

Mahathirism : Malaysia Progressed As A United Nation

Pet Projects (Chronologically)

Proton (1981)
PLUS (1988 - 1994)
KLIA (1990)
Petronas Twin Towers (1992)
Putrajaya (1995-2001)
KL Tower (1995)
MEASAT (M1 - 1996 , M3 - 2006)
Astro (1996 - now)
Multimedia Super Corridor (1996)
Sepang International Circuit (1998)
XVI Commonwealth Games 98 Kuala Lumpur (1998)
STAR LRT Malaysia (1998)
Putra LRT Malaysia (1999)
Malaysian F1 Grand Prix (1999-now)
Port Tanjung Pelepas (1999)
KL Monorail Malaysia (2003)

These are the heavily criticised Pet Projects of Tun Dr Mahathir by a segment of the people, especially the Opposition parties.

If we rationally evaluate these, Proton was initially ridiculed and Dr Mahathir was belittled when he said Malaysians will produce their own cars.

In the late 1980s, when the first Proton Saga was rolled out, Malaysians and the world was silenced and we became proud of our national carmaker till today.

Proton has gone so far ahead and we now own the famous British sports carmaker Lotus.

Under Tun Dr Mahathir's leadership and guidance, Malaysian companies gained another star rating when they built

1. KLIA - one of the world's best airport
2. Petronas Twin Towers - former World Tallest Building, currently, World Tallest Twin Towers

In 1996 till today, the MEASAT satelites enable us to watch global satelite channels like BBC, CNN, ESPN, and the famous TVB channels among the Chinese community.

Malaysians then played host to a string of international sports such as SUKOM 98, Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, SEA Games and various world championship events.

Although imperfections exist in planning of transportation links in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, nevertheless, the introduction of KTM, STAR & PUTRA LRT as well as KL Monorail provided an improvement in standard of living.

Malaysians today enjoy the connectivity among major spots in Kuala Lumpur (although limited).

It was also under the Mahathirism guidance that brought Malaysian technology to a higher level.

If we recall, companies like Intel, AMD & Microsoft came to Malaysia under the Industrialization policies, Education policies and of course the Multimedia Super Corridor plan.

These mega multinational firms brought in not only their expertise but also invested heavily on education of the locals in skills and knowledge of their technological field.

Malaysians began to move forward with the introduction of MSC Malaysia in the arena.

Among the improvement which Mahathirism brought through MSC Malaysia was
  1. Project Monitoring System (SPP II)
  2. Human Resource Management Information System (HRMIS)
  3. Generic Office Environment (GOE)
  4. Electronic Procurement (EP)
  5. Electronic Services (E-Services)
  6. Electronic Labour Exchange (ELX)
  7. E-Syariah

These might seem far from our understanding (for some of us) because the systems affect only the Government agencies and various private companies.

However, we need not look so far.

If we take a look at our Identity Cards which can store information like Driving license, Health information, Passport Info & Identity, we can see that is one of the benefits of Mahathirism.

Private sectors such as Body Shop made full use of the My Kad chip and introduced the My Kad - Body Shop membership system.

Yes, that is Mahathirism.

Surprisingly, the heavily criticised and ridiculed MSC also dished out a heavy usage application among all Malaysians.

The development of Bankcard began in 2000 under MSC Malaysia with the Malaysian Electronic Payment System (MEPS) Sdn Bhd.

The chip based bankcard, which was co-designed with domestic financial institutions, is now in the wallets of everyone and used by us all.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are Mahathirism's Pet Projects which have been ridiculed irrationally but appreciated deep down in our hearts.

* The final blog entry of Mahathirism will come soon

(Credits to Businessweek, Destination 360, MEPS, TheStar, TheNutGraph and Zcars for the photos)


lordapes said...

"Proton has gone so far ahead and we now own the famous British sports carmaker Lotus."

really? that I didn't know.

Jimmy Tham said...

Tun M definitely has grand idea and knows the way in micro managing it.

He knows the benefit in acquiring a stake in Lotus, building KLIA in the middle of nowehere, implementation of smart card and MEPS but somewhere down the chain shit tend to happen.

I see no reason why Proton can't engineer an industrial coup and wholly integrate Lotus engineering into its business either through JV or the use of options to corner the market just like what porsche did to volkswagen. Do it quick else they are gonna miss the boat on that 1.

KLIA is supposed to be the preferred hub of transportation in SEA putting it with direct competition with Bangkok and Thai but recent fiasco with LCCT and the disability to integrate the 2 together put a dent on that vision.

Lack of adoption by private sector on the use of smart card and MEPS is another thing. I simply don't know why the lack of adoption and frankly I've never try using the MEPS before so there's not gonna be a comment on it.

Malaysia always has this tendency to not follow through on grand projects. Kickbacks are awarded to cronies to construct it but after some time the plan will disintegrate slowly.

Just a word of caution, drawing from similarity between Hitler, Mugabe, LKY, Suharto, Margaret Thatcher and Marcos, all at one time were at the apex of their career and possibly their country as well but as old age start catching up, they get a little senile I would say and tend to make silly decision thereafter. Still, I might be wrong on this and it is just my personal opinion.

I'll probably cite a chapter from the leadership course i took during my undergrad, academians were posed with question on whether leaders were made or they are born leaders, did the situation enable them to be what they were then or the leaders themselves adapt to the situation but one thing is certain, not many are able to make major decisions in their life. Would you sacrifice 49% of your citizen and save the remaining 51%? Former statesmen deserve some respect from us and even Abdullah too deserved it. His soft characteristics brought us what we call today a strong opposition so shouldn't we name him bapa demokrasi after all?

hishamh said...


Nice roundup post. Just one factual error I have to point out: Intel has been in Malaysia since 1972, well before industrialization policy was formed.


Proton cars are now all tuned by Lotus, starting I think with Gen 2. Proton's problem now is not design or characteristics of their cars, but rather build quality and quality of components.

r0 said...

bro, dont forget...

the one and only, dual function tunnel... SMART Project.