Like people in most developing countries, Malaysians suffer automobiles not only as a necessary tool for modern living, but as a purported key driver of the economy.
Having a car-making industry supposedly generates an army of suppliers of parts from simple nuts and bolts to sophisticated electronics. The consumption Ringgit needed to keep a car running also fuels the capitalist economy, and in the process creates status symbols for the wealthy, the newly rich and the faux affluent.
Thinking this way, however, left us with epidemic urban sprawl and a sorry lack of good public transport. This is a trap that will take us a long time to get out of, if at all.
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