04 March 2015

Part 2: The Question about Malaysia Under the Rule of the Malays




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Cohesion, if it is to happen, is a multi-faceted process: It can be broken down into four main components: social relations, task relations, perceived unity and emotions. We (Malaysians) scored low on all accounts given the disparity in the composition of ethnic group contribution from the perspectives of economy, administration, education and politics.

  
Y MALAYSIAN Chinese and Indian colleagues continue to have debates with me on the Question about Malaysia under the rule of the Malays. This debate is never meant to accuse each other of any wrong doings but rather, to uncover the rationale of this complex society that we are living in, and to explore possibilities of alternative solutions to the underlying critical ethnic based disparity or non-cohesiveness. A state of cohesion can only happen when its members possess bonds linking them to one another and to the group as a whole. Obviously, the bond between ethnic groups (in Malaysia) is far from happening given the continuing turmoil of ethnic relations. This is a result of political warfare that uses ethnic (and religion) sentiments as their propaganda.

Cohesion, if it is to happen, is a multi-faceted process: It can be broken down into four main components: social relations, task relations, perceived unity and emotions. We (Malaysians) scored low on all accounts given the disparity in the composition of ethnic group contribution from the perspectives of economy, administration, education and politics. Members of strongly cohesive groups are more inclined to participate readily and to stay with the group. For a start, a healthy discussion and debate can be a catalyst for change, which is what transpired between me and my mates (non-Malays). I should share some of our conversations (as below):


EMAIL FROM A FRIEND
On Bumi policies, here is my thought:  In order for a 1 year old boy to walk, the mother needs to let go.  Malaysia is a mother that since 1963 has allowed one child to walk without help, while holding another child close to its bosom. The reason was that one child started out with seemingly greater advantages. After nearly 60 years of this, the child held close to the bottom has atrophied legs and has never learned how to fend for itself, and it cannot compete with the other kid, let alone the other kids in the village.  The kid held by the mother keeps saying that this is its right, because it was the first to be born, and that may be true, but an attitude like this will never change its position among the other children.
Meanwhile the child left to fend for itself has to compete among the other children in the village and by learning to fall, and learning to walk by itself, it has grown independent. Other families would happily accept this child as its own. And the child wonders if it is better off living in another home, with another family, where it is treated just like the other kids. But this child is always looking into the window of the home where it was born and the sees the mother holding the first born, and wonders why it is not loved. Meanwhile the child held by the mother keeps saying - next year I will learn to walk by myself. But not now. Now it is still too hard. Next year. Let's see. I bet in 2020, nothing will have changed.

MY EMAIL REPLY
You want change? What I am saying is that you won't be able to get that change (at least in our life time) if Political Will and Economic Disparity are not addressed. The former is about the majority rules national policy. You cannot not respect the position that the majority has. Therefore you cannot say that policies are not suitable when the majority believes otherwise. If you want the majority to follow you, you must first convince the majority that what had caused them to device the policy in the first place can be addressed by alternative means. Which brings me to the latter point, Economic Disparity. What makes it more difficult is that the ratio of Malays to non-Malays is rising favouring the Malays. Malays have more children than non-Malays. And the impact of non-Malays leaving the country compounds it. My prediction is that no change will happen favouring the non-Malays in the near future.

I do want to strongly highlight that Government had abolished the 30% Bumi equity quota back in 2011, which you (and many other non-Malays) have conveniently forgot to give credit - is that not a big sacrifice worthy of being called a change? Nobody, I really mean it, nobody, praised the Government on this change. Not the non-Malays and certainly not the Malays. In fact the Government lost Malay votes but neither did they gain non-Malay votes as evident in the Chinese Tsunami in the 2013 General Electrions. However, that change was done anyway - forget about the votes because that shouldn't matter if you are talking about equality or equitability. You bark on things that are lacking but you silent when things that are given? Take that frustration and amplify by the population of non-Malays. If I was the Prime Minister, I would surely be mega frustrated and it demotivates me to help non-Malays. Even with that (frustration), millions of Ringgit had been allocated for Chinese and Indian schools. I am not trying to tell you the frustration. I am trying to tell you how the dynamics of things aren't going to be conducive for any change to happen in the near future.

What are Malay benefits? Let's analyse as follows: 
1. Policy on equity - This has been abolished.

2. Scholarship - The Government has started giving to non-Malays long time ago. I have personally signed professional membership forms for many Chinese that worked for me that were Petronas scholars.

3. Malay reserve land - This was the sole biggest condition after acknowledgement of the monarchy existence for the Sultans to allow their states to join Malaysia. If not, they would not have joined. To dishonor this means they can leave the country because it is in the constitution. Tunku asked the Malay monarchy states to join Malaysia. If suddenly now we want to take that condition away, surely the Sultans will take their states to be independent of Malaysia because that is like forcing republican onto monarchy.

4. Work in the civil service - You can see many non-Malays in the Government service as well as Government-linked Companies (GLCs). The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Finance are Indians. The head of Securities Commission is a Punjabi. The Chief Executive Officer of the 1MDB is an Indian. The Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian entrepreneur centre, MaGIC, is a Chinese. Many of the senior posts in the Ministry of Finance are occupied by Chinese. The second in command in the Economic Planning Unit is a Punjabi. The Chief Operating Officer of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) is a Chinese. I rest my case.

5. Procurement of Government projects - Many are given to GLCs but many GLCs have non-Malays in their high ranks. Private companies that get Government projects have both Malays and non-Malays like IJM, YTL, and many more. Not to mention that the entire ecosystem of every industry is controlled by Chinese from A to Z since time in memorial.

6. Grants and Subsidies - True that many grants are given to the Bumi. Perhaps because many farmers are Bumi? But if it is not agriculture base, you can see many non-Malaysa get the benefit of grants. I cannot comment on other industries that I have not worked in but I can say my observations on creative industry. MyCreative give loans to both Malays and no-Malays. Filem Nasional (Finas), MDeC and Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) give grants to almost 50:50 split between Malays and non-Malays. They even have Chinese and Indians on their deciding Committees. Cradle gives out grants to entrepreneurs and the last I checked, huge portion went to Chinese.

7. Parliamentary seats - Well, naturally that will follow the population composition? Cannot be any fairer than that.

If you are to do a statistical research, I will not be surprised if non-Malay's opportunities can reach or surpass the % of their contribution to the population, say 30%. So as you can see, with the above, the Malays are already realising that their benefits have been diluted over the years. No wonder they (Malays) get jittery when they are being attacked on both racial and religious fronts. All I am asking you to understand is the psychology of things. Change can happen but not now, or else, it will be instant recipe for disaster for both sides.
  
Malays are already realising that their benefits have been diluted over the years. No wonder they (Malays) get jittery when they are being attacked on both racial and religious fronts. All I am asking you to understand is the psychology of things. Change can happen but not now, or else, it will be instant recipe for disaster for both sides



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