Working in Silos Becomes the Norm When Merit Systems Are Shunned

By Ooi Kee Beng

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RECENTLY, FORMER INTERNATIONAL Trade and Industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz entertained Malaysia with her comment that the idea that Malaysians like working in silos was not really accurate since silos are places huge enough for significant things to happen. Chimneys, she thinks, is a better description of the country’s professional preference to keep things opaque and disconnected. Synergy, for all its proven efficacy, is not a virtue in this part of the world. No doubt she was being in...

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Ooi Kee Beng

is the Executive Director of Penang Institute. His recent books include The Eurasian Core and its Edges: Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (ISEAS 2016). Homepage: