Pakatan Harapan must not rest on its laurels

Pakatan Harapan’s Mahathir Mohamad (R) addresses a press conference after the general election, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on May 9, 2018.

Pakatan Harapan’s Mahathir Mohamad (R) addresses a press conference after the general election, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, on May 9, 2018. Photo: Reuters

In May 2018, the ASEAN region was riveted by the election results in Malaysia, where the Barisan Nasional coalition which had ruled Malaysia for over six decades was toppled in a stunning upset by Pakatan Harapan. If you are a Singaporean student, you should clue yourself in to the politics of our nearest neighbour. Besides the fact that their politics affects us, there is also always a fascinating comparison between Singapore and Malaysia: socially, politically, economically, food, there are so many parallels between the two countries. Same same, but different as they say. I think of Singapore and Malaysia as distorted mirror images of each other.

Even if you are not Singaporean, the politics of Malaysia holds some interesting and important lessons for you.

Below is a commentary written by my friend Maa Zhi Hong. He is a remarkable young Singaporean. At the age of only 21, and never having attended junior college or taken the subject of General Paper (he is a polytechnic grad), his knowledge and understanding of world affairs equals or surpasses even the best of the GP students I taught over 14 years.  He needed no one to tell him to read newspapers, websites or books. He devours them with an appetite that I think I myself was able to match only as a 10 year old bookworm.

I can say without hesitation that his grasp of world affairs and ability to tie together disparate elements of society, economics, politics, history and more into a coherent analysis exceeds 90 percent or more of the university graduates I know. And he has not stepped into either junior college or university. Nor does he intend to. His plan is to invest his time and money into learning from what he calls the University of Life (“you never graduate from that,” he says), chalking up real world experience and accomplishments in areas such as writing, speaking and business. At the tender age of 21, he has already been engaged by the prestigious Asia Times as a contributor and had seven articles published in less than a month.

Knowing him has been a humbling experience for me, and I trust reading his work and knowing about him will be for many of you JC students and uni grads out there as well. Much to ponder and reflect on, and we can only grow stronger and more vibrant if we set aside our ego to learn from anyone regardless of their background.

Zhi Hong and myself at a farm in the Philippines

Zhi Hong and myself at a farm in the Philippines


By Maa Zhi Hong, Asia Times
May 6, 2019

On the night of May 9, 2018, Malaysians of all political affiliations could not believe their eyes as they processed the election results coming in after polling had ended. After all, Prime Minister Najib Razak had done his best to stack the deck in his favor; he gerrymandered the electoral system to give heavier weight to rural Malaysia, which had backed his coalition in the 2013 general election.

In the end, all of this came to naught.

One by one, many senior Barisan Nasional (BN) ministers lost their seats to the opposition.

Read the full article at Asia Times.
For more articles by Maa Zhi Hong.
Maa Zhi Hong’s official Instagram account is @maazhihongofficial


Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as a GP and English tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.


About gptuitionsg

A dedicated English and GP tutor with First Class Honours from the National University of Singapore, Steven Ooi retired from the profession after a 14-year career during which he was one of the most sought-after private tutors in Singapore. He is the recipient of the Minerva Prize from NUS, which is awarded to the top English Language honours student of each cohort. This website, which has consistently ranked among the top 10 on Google and has received over 530,000 hits, has now been converted into a GP resource site cum listing of recommended tutors. If you are a GP or English tutor who wishes to be listed here, please email Steven Ooi at stevenooi18 @ (remove the spaces). Interested parties will be assessed and interviewed by him, and qualifications will be checked. These procedures are necessary to uphold quality standards. DISCLAIMER: While every reasonable effort has been made to assess the competence and verify the qualifications of recommended tutors here, no guarantees are made and you engage them at your own risk. By using this website, you agree that you will not hold the webmaster Steven Ooi responsible for any consequences — direct or otherwise — that occur in relation with your use of this website.
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