labor day

A few months ago, I attended a conference at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The place is the proud site of the tallest building in the world—the Petronas Tower.  Kuala Lumpur boasts of a vibrant economy too spread out on a highly nationalistic environment.  Malaysia’s secret?  They allow foreigners to own land in their country.  There is however a caveat when a foreign country would use the land for commercial purposes which oftentimes is the reason for real estate procurement.  The foreign industry should tap only Malaysians as manpower.


There is something defective that I have observed during my week long sojourn in Kuala Lumpur though.  Amidst the impressive flow of smooth traffic in downtown KL  and latest models of sports car plying the route, the taxi services are a turn off.  Only a few clean cabs are around, mostly are run down, late model and fledging sedans.  If only on this score, Davao City is better several notches over KL.


Of course, they—the Malaysians— also have an advantage.  They have oil.  While it can be said that the Philippines is much higher in terms of natural resources, government is too democratic to impose a standard of competence in its administration.  In Malaysia, strong man Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad during his incumbency as Prime Minister for 22 years, pursued an iron hand in pushing Malaysia to the edge of progress and thereafter, literally placed Malaysia on top of Southeast Asia.  He managed Malaysia in a dictatorial manner but he never enriched himself nor used it to cover corruption and any self-serving mission.  Under Ramos, we would have succeeded in trailing Malaysia but he was limited to a 6 year term.  Thereafter, we slid back and the next episode in the storied economic struggle of our country, we found ourselves almost at the bottom near Bangladesh and other calamity stricken islands in the south pacific.


In Kuala Lumpur, there are two predominant foreigners which has settled and embraced Malaysia as its birthplace.  There is the Chinese and the Bombays from India.  They are never to be assimilated into the nationalistic Malaysian race including entry into major commercial or economic activity.  They are rather limited to vending small stores or as runners and cab drivers.  Only Malaysians have the right to occupy managerial positions, government functions and high end economic activity.  That precisely is the reason why most Chinese in the country would rather have their own space for their economic program.  Thus, Singapore was born where the Chinese handles commerce and the Indians in charge of government administration.


Here in this country, there is a constitutional prohibition for foreigners to own solely a specific properly like land.  If at all they intend to come in and introduce business, it should be on a percentage of ownership basis only.  By this is meant that foreigners must observe the 60-40 rule.  They are obliged to find dummies therefore, or, in other words, technically required to fool a system and skirt around the law, just so they can conduct their business.  There are draft bills addressing this concern but the problem is not on legislation.  It should be a constitutional convention to correct and amend the basic law of the land.  But charter change is farthest from anyone’s concern.


Its Labor consciousness leading to the day but we have more people in the peasantry, in the agricultural sector, than laborers because we have little industry.  We have little to show in terms of manufacturing even our own requirements.  The lowly pin and needle we use to sew our clothing is imported.  I remember an exasperated expression of a child to his father:  “Dad, you said God made everything!  How come every item in this house says its “Made in China!”


About vjtesoro

A perpetual student of Corrections

Posted on April 26, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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