If You're 25 - This Is Malaysia Back When You Were Born | The Full Frontal

If You’re 25 – This Is Malaysia Back When You Were Born

Are you turning 25 this year?

They say you’re most attractive at age 23 but strongest at 25. Coupled with popular beliefs that 25 is the right age to start a career, one might wonder the kind of achievement one makes reaching quarter-life.

But all throughout your life, how has the country progressed so far, from the moment you were born to where it is today?

We take a moment to look over our shoulders and see Malaysia’s rise and fall in the year 1994 – approximately 25 years ago.

Enter The Dusun

The Parliament gave the go-ahead for the Ministry of Education to roll out a special syllabus for public schools in Sabah – The introduction of Kadazandusun language as a formal subject originally proposed by Datuk Bernard Dompok at the Parliament . Nationwide, the ministry also implemented the Bahasa Malaysia in all SRJK(C) and SRJK(T) while introducing English and Co-Curriculum for all primary school.

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The 90s was a tumultuous period between Borneo and the federal government. Photo by smkpekantelipok.my
Sekolah Linden – One of the oldest SRJK(T) in the country. Photo by SJKT Tun Aminah at sites.google.com

Mimaland – The Fallen Kingdom

You’re probably too young to remember but we used to have Mimaland, the country’s first ever theme park. Though much less canggih from the ones we have today (Legoland for example), a fatal accident became the nail in the coffin for the dying theme park, famous for its dinosaur replicas and rainforest setting. Today, the eerie remains of the has-been go-to spot stay hidden from plain view yet visible to thrill-seekers and urban ghostbusters.

The Lost (Gombak) Kingdom. Photo by ohmedia.my
A nationwide fiesta back in the 90s. Photo by facebook.com/Mimaland.Gombak

Sensational Soccer Scandal

What a year it was for sports fans when Malaysia made headlines for the wrong reasons. That fateful year saw 216 national and league football players banned from the game with 21 players (and coaches) sacked, 58 suspended and 126 brought for questioning. The reason – Probably the biggest match-fixing scandal in history. Coined, the most famous corruption case we have ever had (aside from that certain case this decade), that scandal brought us out of the qualifying for the 1994 USA World Cup. No amount of mercy can change the dark history dubbed – Year Zero.

We were giants once. Photo by utusan.com.my
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With Matlan Marjan, James Wong & Peter Rajah, Sabah FA used to be a force to be reckoned with. Photo by obsesbola.blogspot.com

Supermokh Stadium

When’s the last time you’ve been to a stadium for a sporting event or more specifically, the Shah Alam Stadium?

Home to Selangor FA (look up Mokhtar Dahari, the inspiration behind OLABOLA), the stadium has the capacity of over 80,000 people and took four years before it was officially opened in 1994. The multi-purpose, FIFA-standard stadium hosted numerous sporting and entertainment events, international and local. Most recently, the FIFA-standard stadium was also featured in Yuna’s Forevermore music video. Too bad the mighty Supermokh never got the chance to play ball here.

Once the mighty stadium. Photo by StadiumDB.com
Yuna in her Forevermore music video. Photo by singersroom.com

Mugging Mamak

Just a year after the Royal Malaysian Police caught up with the notorious Bentong Kali in 1993, another type of supervillain emerged, this time with the skills and savvy you only see in the movies. Nicknamed – The Mamak Gang, the band of bandit brothers (they’re biological brothers, by the way) first took centre stage (successfully) pulling off a heist on National Day while everyone (including the boys in blue) was busy marching down Dataran Merdeka. That’s when the gang took close to RM13 million of gold bars from the cargo bay in Subang Airport. Much to the dismay of the public, this first line-up of lawbreakers soon became the pioneer for what soon will be, one of the most elusive organised crime syndicates, surviving generations until today.

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The police was on high alert when the gang made their debut in 1994. Photo by flickr.com/amiruddinarif_
Still a nuisance until today. Photo by utusan.com.my

Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

Riding on the success of the first Visit Malaysia campaign in 1990, the second campaign took off on a higher note in 1994 with the theme – Fascinating Malaysia, Naturally More. It was a nationwide affair especially with the annual GDP growth nearing 10%, a mirage of national cars and the Petronas Twin Towers soon to be erected in just a few years time.

Visit Malaysia 1990 paved way for decades of tourism success. Photo by yelorosses.blogspot.com
The late 90s anticipation. Photo by expatgo.com

Bakun Begins

Initiated decades earlier in the 60s, Malaysia’s famous Bakun Dam finally begins construction in 1994 amidst a terribly long line of issues and scandals. The dam, an enormous 700 km2 reservoir of water (equivalent to the size of Singapore) took another two decades to finally commence operation, still with a long list of controversies and fall-outs. On a different perspective, the dam was believed to cause massive environmental, social and ecological damages with the construction alone forcing 9,000 natives (Kayan & Kenyah) to lose their homes.

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Progress comes not without predicament. Photo byinternationalrivers.org
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The Bakun on Sungai Balui, Sarawak. Photo by libur.com.my

Angkasa Adventure

Yes, we do have our own space centre and it’s called Planetarium Negara. Officially opened by then Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad in 1994, the centre exhibits the latest space tech and science, including the Arianne IV (one of the engines used to launch our first satellite, MEASAT 1), somewhat our answer to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA.

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Unique in every way, this is the closest we could get to space technology and education. Photo by wikipedia.org
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This Stone Henge replica is another educational attraction outside the compound. Photo by Krishnan Shah @ flickr.com

The Smart Kancil

The abundance of compact, practical city-cruising cars of today has much to owe to this particular automobile who made a revolution when it first came out in 1994 – the Perodua Kancil. Despite its name, the lovable K-car has been making enormous waves since day one, paving way for greater automotive advancement decades down the road thus the tagline – Kancil, Sebijak Anda was pretty apt. On another note, Proton also came out with another legacy with the debut of Satria, the grand daddy to the rally beast, Neo S2000.

Perodua ended its Kancil production in 2009. Photo by kereta.info
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A dirt beast in a class of its own. Photo by allracingcars.com

You Are Now Connected

Some might not remember this but if you’re 25, the internet (in Malaysia) is as old as you!

Launched nationwide in 1994 (though not in all states), Malaysia’s internet became a reality thanks to JARING (Joint Advanced Integrated Networking), an effort by MIMOS (Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic System) to develop, run and consolidate the country’s new-age communication network. These are basically the people who gave us access to the internet and although 1.5Mbps speed is peanuts compared to what we have now, the technology back then became the backbone to what internet is today.

Dr. Mohamed Awang Lah, the person who brought internet to Malaysia. Photo by majalahsains.com
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A dial-up connection means you either can use the internet or the phone, not both. Photo by adventuresofagoodman.com

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