The most recent contribution by FN to malaysiakini's healthy forum for discussion has, yet again, prompted me to respond. He claims that without the New Economic Policy, a lot of the Malays will still be living in the 'kampung' and there will be no Malay businessmen.
I think that generalisation is unfair and takes away a lot of the credit due to the hardworking Malays who have (despite not given the 'fair' chance to compete) succeeded on their own steam. I have many Malay friends who did not need the NEP but are successful in their own right.
FN continues to argue that the NEP has resulted in many world-leading Malaysian companies. But is this really the case? If this was so, then how come there is only one Malaysian company, Petronas, in Fortune magazine's ranking of the World's 500 largest companies (no sign of Proton here)?
And to paint a more precise picture of reality that is perhaps symptomatic of Malaysian (and not just 'Malay-led') companies, Petronas was recently ranked at the bottom of the world's 15 major oil companies in terms of corporate governance, social responsibility, compliance with established standards for sustainability, ethics and transparency. This is one 'achievement' that no Malaysian should be proud of.
Please don't get me wrong, I feel proud whenever I see Proton cars on the street in Britain, or know how popular Jimmy Choo shoes are (although he doesn't own it anymore). But are we doing enough? The list, simplistic as it may seem, points to a more serious underlying problem that we need to tackle before it is too late, before our oil runs dry. Is the NEP to blame for the lack of competitiveness of our companies such as Proton? I don't think anyone can draw a superficial conclusion such as that, but the protective environment for sure did not help.
It may be true that to succeed internationally, one has to succeed at home, but not so if it is based on 'false' premises such as lack of meritocracy, a protected domestic market, or just merely pumping oil from the ground. Why work harder than you absolutely must?
I would advise FN to be more open-minded and not restrict his views from purely the Malay perspective. Where is it written that the NEP is solely there to help the Malays? How about the other 'bumiputeras' who may be Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, etc. by descent? And I find his statement that '... I am not afraid to say that some of the Malays are outperforming the Chinese' utterly racist and small-minded.
It seems that me that he is really pleased to say that, despite the apparent cost to another section of the community, and is this really good for racial harmony? Don't be jealous of the Chinese; learn from their best traits. I don't give two hoots if the Malays outperform the Chinese. I just want all Malaysians to do well in their own endeavours, period.
We don't need racist remarks like FN's in our society today. Grey Yeoh is right, the country can do well to survive and flourish without the likes of FN. As you may or may not know, you are an immigrant too, based on the same rule you applied when you called some Malaysians immigrants. But then again, since we are a democracy, you're entitled to your opinions no matter how skewed they are. Just utter more of them, and we can judge how low you can actually get.