Malaysian Marc Chua wrote on the online Malaysian news media, freemalaysiatoday.com, on Sunday, calling his fellow Malaysians to return back to Malaysia to help steer his country “to a brighter future” (‘Stay put in Malaysia and make a change, the grass is not greener abroad‘, 30 Aug).
“Instead of running away, lowering ourselves to be true second class residents for stronger currencies, I urge every one of you to stay put, fight for a better future for yourself, and this country that we all call home,” extolled Mr Chua.
“Join the public services, volunteer yourself in NGOs or community services, create unique Malaysian products and services, and grow our economy. Rise up and be one of a new generation of leaders to help steer this country to a brighter future that we all have envisioned to see,” he urged.
“Tanah tumpahnya darahku (the land where my blood drops). Selamat Hari Merdeka (Happy Independence Day – 31 Aug) my fellow Malaysians, wherever you are.”
Malaysian: Impossible to change mindset of privileges and discrimination in Malaysia
Today, another Malaysian Chew Kok Liang who is based in Singapore, replied on freemalaysiatoday.com, explaining why he didn’t want to stay in Malaysia and in fact, feels more at home living in Singapore (‘Why I didn’t stay put in Malaysia‘, 1 Sep).
Mr Chew used to be a volunteer military officer with the Rejimen Askar Wataniah, the military reserve force of the Malaysian Army. He complained that it is quite impossible to change the mindset of privileges and discrimination in Malaysia.
“I was a volunteer officer with Rejimen Askar Wataniah 502 and 515 from 1995 to 2009, while holding on to my day job as a lawyer. From the early 2000s onwards, I initiated and set up Askar Wataniah Societies in TAR College in 2002 and UTAR (Sungai Long) in 2003. They were set up to attract Chinese students to volunteer as Malaysia’s army reserves as there has always been a lack of Chinese participation in the Malaysian armed services,” Mr Chew explained.
“In 2002, while a captain with Rejimen 515 Askar Wataniah (Kuala Lumpur), I had approached the then head of TAR College and other administrators to moot the idea of setting up an Askar Wataniah society to instil patriotism as well as to give a physical and mental challenge to TAR students.”
Eventually, Mr Chew was given permission to recruit students to join the TAR College Askar Wataniah society. He said that about 30 students joined in the first batch of recruits and they successfully passed out of the recruits training programme in 2003.
“This first batch then took over the recruitment of TAR students (with guidance and military assistance from me and my regiment) and successfully recruited and assisted in passing out some 95 TAR College students in 2004,” Mr Chew continued.
“At the time of the 2004 cohort passing out, it was the largest passing out of Chinese recruits in Malaysian military history.”
However, Mr Chew’s efforts were not being appreciated by his fellow officers. He revealed, “My efforts were not only not welcomed by my fellow officers, I was made to feel like I was breaking their rice bowl.”
Subsequently, he left Malaysia and went to work in Middle East. Later, he came to Singapore.
“My family and I are now residing in Singapore. It’s the closest to Malaysian food and weather, without the discrimination and being made to feel like an outsider in my own country,” he said.
“Perhaps that is why the late Lee Kuan Yew once said in a newspaper interview before his death in 2015 that 40% of Singapore’s population consists of Malaysians. Perhaps that’s why I feel at home in Singapore among all the former Malaysians here.”
Mandatory NS for Singaporeans
Meanwhile, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has announced that it is is ready to ramp up training again.
With the opening of Singapore in June after the COVID-19 circuit breaker, MINDEF announced that more in-camp training (ICT) will resume, while individual physical proficiency tests (IPPT), IPPT preparation training and remedial training at fitness conditioning centres for Singaporean NSmen will be phased in.
In any case, foreigners who first come to Singapore on work pass to work and subsequently become a PR and finally a Singaporean, would not have any National Service liability. Hence, even though Mr Chew might have been with the Malaysian Army before, but certainly in Singapore he needs not worry about any ICT or IPPT.