Malaysia has been blind to the adaptability of its sidelined federal heritage, and to how federalism can turbo-charge the country’s development.
Malaysians tend to have a very rigid notion of nationhood. Many of us like to think that there was, there is and there shall always be only one country called Malaysia, structured the way it was from the beginning. Many of us fear changes to the structure of government and the country itself, seeing changes as failures in some deep sense, and even as disloyalty to our ancestors.
In contrast, many other countries have in the course of their history taken a more nuanced understanding of themselves, and have been much the better for it.
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