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CONCLUSION SOME thirty years have elapsed since the surrender in Sin­ gapore. Remarkably eventful, hectic years. The Malayan penin­ sula was ravaged by world war, menaced by domestic insur­ gency, and throughout was buffeted by fundamental shifts in global power relations. Undeterred, political leaders proceeded to develop a democratic system suitable to their conditions. By 1971 they felt that they had succeeded. There would be no further experimentation, declared Tun Razak. Much remained to be done, of course, but the direction was definitely set and the momentum or reconstruction would carry the system along —at least for a while. The National Education Policy is now being implemented at an accelerated rate. Rahman Ya'kub left the Ministry to take charge of Sarawak state affairs. He was succeeded by the son of the founder of UMNO, a contemporary of Tun Razak in the study of law and a man with personal ties to Johore royalty. Captain Hussein Onn preferred a low profile; his skills were administrative, not political. In the depth of his convic­ tions, however, he was second to none. He assumed his office quietly, then set out methodically and firmly to follow through on the initiatives of his colorful predecessor. Malay is rapidly becoming the language of instruction throughout the school system and at the University of Malaya as well. Whether in the process academic standards are declining, and if so whether this is only a temporary, transitional phenomenon, of course, remains to be seen. The New Economic Policy is being pushed without hesita­ tion. Maximizing growth remains a primary objective. Mas­ sive efforts to foster private investment continue unabated; public development projects are being designed and imple­ mented with renewed vigor; indices of production and income advance steadily. The most unyielding determination, how­ ever, is reserved for the goal of "balancing." In order to reduce disparities between the economic categories of the "haves" and 424 CONCLUSION the "have nots," cabinet members, federal administrators, and state officials—all devote an inordinate amount of time and effort to persuade any likely investor that the prospects of labor-intensive projects are just about ideal in Malaysia. A whole range of incentives has been offered including tax relief based on the number of workers employed rather than on the amount of capital invested. Even so, dramatic progress toward a more egalitarian income distribution or even the reduction of unemployment remains elusive. Meanwhile in order to re­ duce disparities between the communal groups, administrative procedures have been tilted in favor of Malay-oriented ven­ tures, and vast public funds have been channeled in their di­ rection. In the countryside, credit facilities have been improved, new land has been reclaimed, transportation and communica­ tion facilities have been extended, and further amenities have been provided. In the towns and cities, PERNAS is busy orga­ nizing new corporations, while MARA helps finance "indigenous entrepreneurs." In consequence, a new group of Malay business­ men is rapidly emerging, and the standard of living of Malay schoolteachers, religious functionaries, public officials, and a few others is visibly rising. Whether in the face of deteriorating world market conditions the momentum will continue, and per­ haps more important, whether the masses of rural and urban Malays are also significantly benefiting is not quite so apparent. All along the new constitutional provisions are being en­ forced with meticulous impartiality. First, the Editor-in-Chief of Utusan Melayu, Melan Abdullah, was charged with publish­ ing a seditious item, more specifically, a headline: Hapuskan sekolah-sekolah beraliran Tamil atau China di-negeri ini ("Abol­ ish Tamil and Chinese schools in this country"). Then the head­ master of a Chinese school, Sim Mow Yu, and a hotelier, Koo Eng Huang, were charged with seditious speech. So was the Vice-Chairman of the DAP Penang branch. Fan Yew Teng, Deputy Secretary-General of the DAP and two Petaling Jaya printers, in turn, were accused of publishing prohibited mate­ rial. Convictions brought fines; in the case of Fan Yew Teng it also cost him his parliamentary seat. The message apparently did get through. From time to time the government deemed it necessary to issue warnings and even to make an occasional arrest, but such occurrences have become rare and have not involved major political personalities. While public policy moved along tracks established during CONCLUSION 425 reconstruction, the reorientation of political processes which had begun during the uncertain and contentious days of May, 1969, was running its course. The Directorate approach to managing government and inter-communal conflict...


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