Malaysia’s persistent drive to develop and upgrade its infrastructure has resulted in one of the well-developed infrastructure among the newly industrializing countries of Asia. Today, Malaysia can boast of having world class facilities in terms of roads, airports, ports and even the Multimedia Super Corridor. For example, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Malaysia’s biggest port and network of well-maintained highways and a rail transport network, that is the Express Rail Link.
Although Malaysia has been striving hard to improve our infrastructure to first class facilities, third class mentality still prevails among Malaysians. One of the main reasons for third class mentality to exist is the lack of education among us. Having this simply means there is a failure in our education system. Education system in Malaysia is more towards the learning and mastering of skills and knowledge rather than the development of mental attitude. The young ones were being exposed to under qualified teachers, affected and do not have the ability to differentiate right from wrong.
In 2006, our former prime minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi has expressed his view in the Ninth Malaysia Plan that our country is in fact has the first class facilities but third class mentality. KLIA is the best example of the lack of world class management and working practices or as our former prime minister put it as from poor execution and inept management to shoddy maintenance and appalling customer service, Malaysia is in danger of possessing hardware but little software. Next reason will be the lack of appreciation among fellow Malaysians.
Although Malaysia Government has provided our country with various types of world class infrastructure, some of the Malaysians just do not seem to acknowledge and value these public properties. Malaysians seems to feel that the the grass is always greener on the other side. Some will only realise that Malaysia government has provided us with various world class infrastructure after they travelled overseas or to neighbouring countries. Lack of self control will also cause this mentality to exist. Vandalism occurs when some of the Malaysian wants to get attention from others and to give vent of their anger.
For example, the public amenities such as public phones and toilets were destroyed and vandalized. Cleanliness of public facilities was also neglected. Furthermore, lack of patriotism will also contribute to the development of third class mentality. Some Malaysians will try to express their anger by doing things that will affect the country’s image. Some of them go against the rules. For examples, driving vehicles but doing indecent acts on the road like smoking in the car and throwing the cigarette stub out of the window. On the other hand, some of them will try to offend law and commit crime.
Besides, lackadaisical attitude towards safety such as riding motorcycle without wearing helmets or travelling in cars without wearing seat belts front and back is the proof of third class mentality. This shows that some Malaysians have lack of road courtesy. It is quite useless to have beautiful physical infrastructure and the latest information technology systems but with rude and irresponsible person managing it. Hence, we should instill the spirit of patriotism rather than upholding the tradition from older generation.
For the past few years, Malaysians leaders have always lamented we have first class facilities but third class mentality. Therefore, we should eliminate the bad habits and embracing positive attitudes and new ways of thinking. First class mentality means that knowledge and skill are not everything whereas mental attitude that accept nothing less than that class performance in all thing is of the utmost important. In conclusion, we are not automatically born with first class mentality but we will be if there is a will to improve ourselves, just as how it was stated in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.