Fundamental changes to the system vs A change to the system

I was reading Malaysiakini article Cracks show up in opposition ranks, and I would like to highlight one point made in that article.

The point is the statement by Ramon Navaratnam, president of the Berlin-based Transparency International’s Malaysia chapter:

“Malaysia needs fundamental changes to the system not a change of systems,” said Ramon Navaratnam, president of the Berlin-based Transparency International’s Malaysia chapter.

“Reforms are badly needed and Abdullah is giving it priority but the pace is agonisingly slow,” he said.

“He must speed up the pace, set deadlines to achieve reforms and put credible individuals in charge of the reformed institutions like the police and the judiciary.”

Source: Cracks show up in opposition ranks @ Malaysiakini (

What I want to highlight is this: What is the difference between “fundamental changes” and “a change“?

Aren’t these two terms closely similar? In other words there is only a fine line separating these two terms. Now, I can think of one way to illustrate the close but yet different meanings of these two terms.

Imagine this: you are driving a car and you feel that the car you are driving is having problems, so what do you do? So you go to a mechanic and unfortunately the mechanic says that your car is a gone case as the engines are so badly damaged to wear and tear. So what do you do?

Yes, you can perform a fundamental change by changing the engines. You buy a new engine and have someone replace the old engine with he new one. That is a fundamental change.

Or you can buy a new car. In other words you perform a total change….

Now there are implications as to what is suggested by Ramon Navaratnam. I actually have something more to write about this issue, but at this juncture I would not do that…

Anyway, I sincerely hope that Malaysiakini will do a follow up such as by interviewing Ramon Navaratnam on the issue of “fundamental changes” versus “a change” of system. I think Ramon Navaratnam might have some interesting things to say… and these things are highly related to the current political drama in Malaysia today.

I have read this post several times, and I notice something odd with the title. I think I might need to change the title to Fundamental changes to the system vs A change of the system. Now the word “of” is used rather than to.

The first term denotes that some action that is made to the existing system. The word fundamental is used to describe that such changes are major and significant. The second term denotes the replacement of the sytem. Basically you throw out the existing system and put in a new one. Perhaps to say “put a new one” may not be appropriate when we are talking about institutions; so perhaps build a new one might better be used.

Well this situation (and error) really reflects the fine line between the term “fundamental changes” versus “a change” of system. It seems that when there is a fine line between similar concepts, one has to be very careful with the language used.. In this regard I made a slight error in the wording of the title. However, for posterity, I suppose there is no harm in maintaining the original title. I suppose for me, an anonymous blogger, it is ok to make such mistakes… nobody is going to hound me….. I am after all not a famous personality even in the blogosphere.


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