The relationship between Singapore and Malaysia can be said to be akin to that of siblings with bitter, but very subtle, rivalry. This article compares and contrasts the two countries on the basis of a number of fronts. What is essential plain is the fact that whereas both countries have made enormous strides in the quest to make advances in various fields, they are distinctly different.
Whereas the citizens of both countries can point to the little economic differences between the countries, it still does not change the fact that economic pundits and recent economic statistics point to the fact that Singapore achieved the First-World country status several years ago. The country’s financial institutions, airlines, maritime centers, among others, can be lauded to be only comparable to those of other first world countries. On the other hand, Malaysia is still considered a developing nation. This status is augmented by the fact that the country still exports resources such as oil and palm oil to other countries and its economy depends on these exports heavily. Furthermore, Singaporean businesses, which eventually contribute to the health of the country’s economy, are far more global when compared with those of Malaysia which are still struggling for national recognition. It goes without saying that such global acclaim is only characteristic of developed economies.
Further, on matters of governance, it is laudable that Singapore stands tall among the region’s peers. The efforts attributed to the low corruption index is the fact that county remunerates its public officers well as compared to Malaysia. This is hinged on the supposition that public servants can only engage in pilferage of public funds when they are poorly paid. Poor pay is the recipe for heightened and covert efforts to seek funds to fund the expected lifestyles of public officers. Further, the country has reputable legal systems for handling cases of corruption and those found guilty often bear severe retribution.
Malaysia, on the other hand, has been riddled with cases of corruption in government. This comes in the wake of government efforts to build better systems and institutions to contain the corruption vice. But the unfortunate occurrence is the perpetual inefficiencies and bureaucracies in government functions. In seeking to halt the trend of corruption, more corruption is committed through endless propositions and debates without implementing anything. On the foregoing front, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy has ranked Malaysia as the most efficient and reliable bureaucracy in Asia. The indomitability of Singapore’s efficient system and structures of governance places it above Malaysia. It is an indicator of low corruption, if any.
In addition, a look at the institutions of higher learning in both countries offers an impressive indicator on the education sectors of both countries. For a number of decades now, Singapore’s National University of Singapore has consistently fared well in regional as well as world wide rankings of universities. This is in stark contrast to the falling rankings of, for example, the University of Malaya in Malaysia. Faced with numerous economic challenges, the very quality of education at the latter is called into question. The successes of the Singaporean education have triggered an interesting phenomenon. Singapore now offers scholarships and other educational favors to nationals of neighboring countries. This is something that results in the country obtaining the brightest minds which end up being domiciled in Singapore. To further buttress this superiority of the educational sector of Singapore, Malaysia is poised to slide further because of its system and method of admissions into universities. The ethnic and regional admission quotas injurious to the industry and will result in further educational slump.
Conversely, though, Malaysia scores high on the integration front. IT is likely that a Malaysian will relate to other people from other ethnic backgrounds and nationalities than would an average Singaporean. The first-world status hasn’t cured any pre-conceived Singaporean inhibitions to cross-cultural interactions. This is exacerbated by the fact that it is relatively easier for a foreigner to get hired for a job in Malaysia than in Singapore. Ostensibly, Malaysians have a leaning to be more hospital than Singaporeans. Even if one gets hired in Singapore, it is unlikely that that person would progressively build a career as would be the case in Malaysia. For instance, 1958, Malaysia granted citizenship to hundreds of thousands of non- Malays in line wit the principle of Jus soli.
The idea that Singapore’s citizenry is less inclined to integrate with foreigners appears to be distasteful to the country. Naturally, a first world nation would favour the inculcation of foreign ideals and values. Such phenomena occurs exclusively when the nation integrates and when its citizenry does not necessarily abhor the idea of, for example, hiring foreigners. Hiring foreigners, it should be observed, is as a consequence of needing specialized skills and expertise. This, however, is considered inapplicable to the fact that Singapore’s human is diversely and efficiently equipped.
In addition, Malaysia is expansive and sits on diverse kinds of minerals such as oil. This, naturally, boosts the economic wherewithal of the country and as a result earns Malaysia an extra stride when placed side by side with Singapore. Should the Malaysian government and people realize this enormous potential, many opportunities will be swung open for the country to catch up with Singapore both economically and in terms of improving standards of living. In addition, it has been said that Malaysia’s palm oil farms and other crops grown in the country make the country to have a rich history of natural foods. When compared with Singapore, the rich variety of naturally home grown foods places Malaysia ahead of Singapore in terms of having a well developed legacy of local yet internationally acclaimed cuisines.
In conclusion, whereas the two countries share an inextricably interwoven history of cultures, languages and people, the recent decades have witnessed a widening gap between them. Once peers, the modern day Malaysia trails Singapore on several fronts including, but not limited to matters of corruption, lean and efficient governance as well as education. However, Malaysia’s legacy of natural foods and its ability to absorb foreign employees works to the advantage of the Country.