Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MIC-A for Malaysia

I received an email chain-letter the other day. The writer fumed about the various pro-bumiputera policies in place and the ever-shrinking share of non-bumis in Malaysia.

Titled “WAKE UP!!!” the email contained 55 assertions along the lines of “12% is what ASB/ASN (Malays Own banks) got per annum while banks fixed deposit is only about 3.5% per annum”, "99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by Malays”, “0 Chinese or Indians were sent to Japan and Korea under 'Look East Policy'” (assertions reproduced here verbatim for context and to give an indication of the tone of the email. I have not confirmed the assertions)

The writer concluded with “FIGHT FOR YOUR OWN RACE”. I understand the angst, but believe we should step up from this “Us” against “Them” attitude. All Malaysians should work together to grow the economy for all, and a helping hand should be extended to those most in need.

It is an unfortunate fact that after 38 years of the NEP and its successor policies, bumiputeras are still, on average, the poorer section of society. The average bumi household earns RM2,711/month, Chinese RM4,437, Indians RM3,456 and Others RM2,312 (Source: 9th Malaysia Plan, data for 2004). If we believe in social justice and measures to help the poorest, then by design the policies will benefit bumiputeras and others more than Chinese or Indians, because they are the ones in greater need.

The pertinent issue is, who benefited from all the pro-bumiputera policies if the average bumiputera did not? The wealth transfers over the last 30 years were immense. Consider one example – all companies going for listing on Bursa Malaysia have to allocate 30% of their shares to bumiputeras. And another example – APs to import cars, given primarily to bumiputeras, were reportedly worth tens of thousands of ringgit EACH. Why then is the average bumiputera income still lagging so far behind after all these efforts?

The answer is the increasing gap between the richest and the poorest. Malaysia's gini coefficient (a measure of income disparity between the richest and the poorest) has been rising. The higher the number, the greater the disparity. And for bumiputeras, the Gini coefficient rose from 0.433 in 1999 to 0.452 in 2004 (Source: 9th Malaysia Plan). These pro-bumiputra policies, which were intended to help poor bumiputras, were and are still being reaped mainly by an elite few instead. And I am sure you will agree, most of this elite few are UMNO-related.

Malaysia economic policy should not be about Malays, Chinese, Indians dan lain lain fighting for a share of the pie. It should not be each community hunkered into our own silos and scheming to deprive the other of their assets. The issue should be all of us working to grow the pie, and giving a share to those most in need. It should be all of us standing up against UMNO corruption and arrogance. Hmmm ... how about a Malaysian political party ... MIC-A – Malays, Indians, Chinese ... ALL for Malaysia.


Jason Wong said...

It is time to look for an alternative solution. The government has helped the Malays to certain extend, this helps created the rich class, the middle class and some still the poor class. There is only so much NEP can do for the Malays. For the sake of further develop Malaysia, it is necessary to help the Malays to improve further. But, this task should be shoulder by the Chinese. It is time the Chinese has forward thinking mind set. The Chinese can be the richest in financial area, can be the brightest in academy, but they cannot reach the top in politics. They are not able to break through in politics and be the Prime Minister. But, why should the Malays support a Chinese to be Prime Minister if they do not receive any good thing from the Chinese. The Chinese needs to come forward to help the Malays where NEP, UMNO and the goverment fail to do.

Anonymous said...

Get the judicial system, anti-corruption team and proper town planning system back on track.

Anonymous said...

May I know how would you help Penanites and other resident around the region to ride out of the global recession?

turtle said...

i would like to congratulate you on your your new role

fred said...

I strongly believe that your analysis is right. It is not about who vs who. This is not football. To me, the keyword is COEXISTENCE. No one can do better without the others. Prosperity is not possible without peace. Harmony is not possible without justice.

Anonymous said...

Quote: The average bumi household earns RM2,711/month, Chinese RM4,437, Indians RM3,456 and Others RM2,312 (Source: 9th Malaysia Plan, data for 2004). Unquote.

You use the data as a foundation for your argument. Now, Malaysian five-year plans, as with other policies, do the same, they being fond of using household incomes as a measure of relative wealth. Perennially, the MSM, as incompetent as they are mentally stunted, swallow the data whole and you seemed a sensible fellow, yet you buy into it.

That kind of data distorts and undermines reality into which a fictitious world and fallacious policies are built. What's wrong with that kind of data, the categories adopted, and their use? Hint1: If the Indian household on average is better off than the "bumi" household, there won't be a Hindraf. Hint2: More Indians, in absolute and relative numbers, sit in jail than other group categories and unless you can prove they're simply more evil, then the conditions in which they live must be a factor. Hint3: Mahathir Mohamad told everybody (or you weren't around then?) to breed like flies, but we knew who he had intended for that message.

Chi-Chang said...

To Anonymous (13 Mar),

Flawed as they are (or not), these are the statistics we have to live with until the rakyat elects us into federal government and we can revamp the system :-)

But in the meantime, don't assume the average numbers are wrong just because they don't jive with what we observe. The average could be right, and the dispersion wide that is a few ultra rich like Samy and Anandakrishnan take the average income for Indians up, but the vast majority still live in poverty.