Remember him? An Ipoh born, Cambridge educated, Malaysia’s loss & Singapore’s gain

In 2010, another Ipoh born caused a sensation in the newspapers.

He did his parents proud, his teachers were equally elated, his birthplace was euphoric to claim he was one of them, and his country would have been ecstatic.His name is Tan Zhongshan and he was born in Ipoh. He chose to read law at university because he said, “Being in the legal line gives you a chance to make changes that have a far-reaching effect.”

Won the “Slaughter and May” prize

In June 2010, Tan received a first–class honours in Bachelor of Arts (Law) at Queen’s College, Cambridge, one of the world’s topmost universities. Cambridge, England’s second oldest university, usually contends with Oxford for first place in the UK university league tables.

Tan excelled as the top student in his final-year law examinations, but he also won the “Slaughter and May” prize, awarded by the Law Faculty for the student with the best overall performance.

In addition, he managed to bag the Norton Rose Prize for Commercial Law, the Clifford Chance Prize for European Union Law and the Herbert Smith Prize for Conflict of Laws.

Tan distinguished himself and was a source of help to his fellow students, according to his tutor and the dean of Queen’s college, Dr. Martin Dixon.

Dr. Dixon said, ““He is probably the best Malaysian student I have seen in the last 10 years. He is the most able, dedicated and one of the most likeable students I have taught in more than 20 years at Cambridge. He works really hard, has great insight and intuition. He is a problem-solver, listens well and learns.”

However, the 23-year-old Tan shrugged off his accomplishments which he said was due to “consistent work and a detailed understanding of the subjects.”

Tan, who plays classical guitar, was modest about his success, “It was a pleasant surprise as it is hard to predict the end results.”

Sadly, this brilliant, young Malaysian will not be working in Malaysia.

Tan, who went to Singapore in August 2010, completed his Bar examinations at the end of 2011 and then joined the Singapore Legal Service.

Malaysia’s loss is Singapore’s gain

After completing his A-levels at the Temasek Junior College, the Singapore Ministry of Education awarded Tan an Asean scholarship.

Tan will not be the first nor last Malaysian who we let slip through our fingers.

It makes many ordinary Malaysians quietly fill with rage that the policies of our government reward the mediocre or the ‘can-do’ types and ignore the best and the brightest. When will this madness end?

Our judiciary was one of the best in the region, but today…

Sadly, we have clowns and fools to dictate how our courts are run. The best comedy act was played out in the Teoh Beng Hock trial when Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand was cross-examined by presumably the best of the attorney general’s bunch of merry-men.

If that is how Malaysian lawmakers prefer to project their image to the world, then they really need their heads examined.

We are haemorrhaging our best talent to countries that receive them with open arms. Record numbers of Malaysians are leaving – doctors, surgeons, nurses, lawyers, accountants, lecturers, engineers, quantity surveyors. We are experiencing the biggest exodus in our 59-year history.

It is estimated that there are over 1 million Malaysians living and working abroad, many of whom are highly qualified personnel.

If the government thinks that it is only the non-Malays who are leaving then they are wrong. Malays are also leaving in large numbers. 

Feeling appreciated

What other countries do is to offer Malaysians opportunities – something which is not available, to the majority of Malaysians, of whichever racial origin. Our government fails to realise that people need to feel appreciated and thrive in conditions which stimulate personal development.

Government interference in the things that affect the personal lives of its citizens is what has kept many overseas Malaysians away. At the end of the day, most people value the things that have to do with their quality of life (not just for themselves but especially for their families), the laws, bureaucracy and tax.

Malaysia will soon pay the price for its crippling policies which our government feels unable, incapable or fearful of changing.


Rebuilding Malaysia


  • Ng jimson says:

    “ As long as Malaysia dwell in racial and religious politics , it will never prosper , the insecurity of these lot will drag the country into the sewage water of ASEAN . Hope tbe New Young Liberal Malays will rise , together with true Malaysian spirit eill there be light at tve end of the tunnel . Yes Kita Boleh 🙏

  • LR Nadarajah says:

    Malaysia’s UMNO Ketuanan policy is a ‘Comedy of Errors’ and a dis-service to its own race. It propagates and stereotypes the Malay psyche as an incestuous race by in-breeding and producing morons – who in turn run the country. What a comedy!

  • Ernie says:

    Don’t forget some actually returned only to be condemned to the gutter of maligned marginalised almost criminalised opposition MPs by the Government and mainstream media. I can think of Tony Pua and Yeo Bee Yin both of whom have sacrificed successful careers to be be noble champions of the oppressed cheated rakyat of Malaysia. Can you envisage 20 years down the road where Tan will be in the Singapore legal service? In Malaysia he will remain just one of many down trodden legal practioners shunned by the judiciary and Ag chambers, and forced to be beholden to some bank or developer in order to survive

  • Steven says:

    Idiots are easy to control. Bright students are a threat to these insecure morons. IMHO denying bright students of opportunities is treason.

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