Richest Country in The World

Puat, the QA/QC director who came 1-2 months ago told me that Malaysia is the richest country per capital in reserves in the world. His reward was a dirty look from me and I challenged him to prove it.

Puat then proceeded to explain. He said it was important to clarify his definition of 'reserves' in his statement.  I found out that his idea of reserves wasn't what was commonly understood in Singapore. In Singapore, our reserves are the chips of a housewife on her casino table. Mysterious chips that nobody knows their value or existence. Chips that belong to every citizen of Singapore, not any particular man and definitely not his gambler housewife and yet we are not allowed to know anything about it. No - according to Puat, that wasn't the kind of reserves he was talking about.

He was referring to the riches of the beautiful land he and millions of Malaysian live upon. Without a doubt, Malaysia's land is vast and fertile. On top of that, they have fresh water, bountiful enough to sell to their southern neighbours on the cheap. Puat described how vegetables grew effortlessly without care when villagers chuck the roots of vegetable they eat out in the open. Generally, the climate in most parts of Malaysia is favourable for cultivating many types of crops. While many would not equate these blessings of the heaven as wealth, I did not hesitate to agree with Puat.

Plentiful sources of good water meant that native could fish on a leisure scale but  enjoy a decent yield on the dining table. Fruits and vegetable could be obtained 'for free' at unused pockets of lands, according to Puat. With medical healthcare heavily subsidised, Puat said the poorer segment of Malaysians have an 'easier life'. I bet many Malaysians would have something to say to that. You could hardly fault Puat's statement though. At least you have a choice being poor in Malaysia and stay relatively happy. Try being poor in Singapore and see how it measure up. There is a reason why members of the Singapore government declared in the national newspaper that there is no poor people in Singapore - because the poor either dead or waiting, not regarded as human beings and therefore not included in the census.

With fertile land, water and beautiful climate, the land is able to produce fantastic crops from vegetable and tropical fruits to resources such as oil palm and rubber. On top of that, Malaysia has rich sources of timber. If these riches from the ground is not enough, Malaysia has oil and natural gas within its boundaries, mines providing metals, gems and stones such as marble and quartz.

Not impressed enough with what's under the land? Look at what's on it then. Malaysia has its fair share of high hills - very beautiful ones in fact. Many of these are kept natural with minimal human interference and turned into world class tourist attractions without a deal of money invested into it. Again, look south to see what kind of money their neighbour has been pouring into to create tourist spots such as 'highest man-made waterfall', 'biggest man-made fountain' and 'air-conditioned big garden' and 'Tang Dynasty', stuff like that. We tried creating Redang with a 14km stretch of beach along East Coast Park in the earlier days, only to find the beach completely eroded past its breakwaters 3 decades later. Some things are simply not meant to be. These days, we visit East Coast Park for anything else other than the beach. There are more tourists visiting Ubin Island for its mangroove than East Coast Park for its beach today. No one remembers the amount of money spent on the artificial beach, wash away with the tide. 

With beautiful natural landscape at close proximity compared to expansive places like Australia, Malaysia would have been a great place to build a caravan culture. So what went wrong? I've never heard of a different answer from any Malaysian I've met. The place has been badly governed, not doubt about it. With proper governance, significant changes in the level of corruption and safety in the right directions, Malaysia could have been near paradise for its people, not that it isn't already for some. That's another story on another day. Back to Puat's view on which is the richest country per capita in the world, with 329,847 square kilometres of riches to share among 28 million people, Malaysia may not be top of the chart (arguable) but it is definitely one of as the most self-sustainable country in the world.


  1. /// Back to Puat's view on which is the richest country per capita in the world, with 329,847 square kilometres of riches to share among 28 million people ///

    In that case, Australia will be way way ahead of Malaysia with 7,741,220 sq km of riches to share among 22 million people. And Australia has plenty of coal, iron ore, alumina, gold, meat, wheat, wool, etc. etc.

    What about New Zealand with similar land area, but one-seventh the population of Malaysia?

    1. Australia is facing a shortage for water for a long time now

  2. I agree with Puat. Canada and New Zealand is up there on my list too. Yes, I dropped Australia because of the water issue -- either too much (storm/floods) or too little (drought).

  3. I as a malaysian strongly disagree with this malay friend puat who pass the comment that malaysia is supposedly the richest country in malaysia. A lot of malaysians think that they are living in one of the best on earth they think our country is free from natural disasters unlike other countries. For your information our capital city and other major cities in the nation get flooded in just 1 hour from heavy rain. Call that man made disaster cause our quality of town planning and management systems. Here in malaysia everything can be settled via back door you know what that means. Try that in oz? That is why if you are rich and powerful things get done easily. If malaysia is so good why the rich are sending their kids to overseas to study even from primary level? Cause education our system is in shit hands. Yes we have a lot of resources but is clearly managed by the wrong hands , our resources is being plundered everyday. Probably this puat guy shoudl look at both sides of the coins, like they say here it is who you know and not what you know. It is still a great country virtually you can live comfortably if you are can afford maids, drivers , workers , no need to cook yourself , no need to clean the house yourself, your kids are taken care fulltime by maids.

    1. Brother,

      Flood is an infrastructure problem. In Singapore, we call it ponding and our ex Minister Mentor said that no amount of engineering could have prevented that. This doesn't take away the fact that Malaysia is getting good amount of clean, portable water and has enough hills and land to retain it. That was the blessing that Puat was referring to.

      Though corruption has nothing to do with this topic, I would like to share as a citizen of your southern neighbour, that my country has its fair share of 'backdoor activities' but again we package it in a different way so that the world, including most Malaysians, think that we are governed by a clean and pure government.

      Unfortunately these little backdoor secrets are making their way to public's sight. I guess no door is strong enough to hold a closet brimming with skeletons.

  4. Malaysia back in the 80s are far better off than most coutries like south korea , taiwan , hong kong and singapore. Today it has fallen way behind all these countries and in the next 10 years it is predicted it will fall further behind indonesia , philipines , vietnam and even laos. So what do you call that sort of management or privatepocket management.

  5. Kalimantan(Borneo) got to be the best
    Almost virgin and hardly suffers natural
    Maybe one of the least inhabited huge
    landmass on Earth.

    Saw a documentary about Pontianak, a
    city near the coast, people there are just
    simple and easy going. Must be one of the
    most unspoilt place in the World.


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