I am sure many in Malaysia are skeptical of the 18.9% equity ownership by bumiputeras as found in the government's study which is in stark contrast to Asli's. Some might argue the lower number provides for more political leverage to fight for us bumiputeras' rights. Ambitious leaders thus have something to argue about. 'We have reasons to keep the NEP'.
Until the government provides the methodology of their study, and explain why their study is more valid than Asli's, doubts will always be in Malaysians' minds. However, if the 18.9% is indeed accurate, the one vital issue that the government seems to conveniently ignore is - why this is happening?
Why, after 49 years of independence and decades of programmes designed to aid bumiputeras with the NEP, our so-called 'rights', and the scholarships, money and grants, are the bumiputeras still lagging behind? Why, after two generations, is our equity share less than a fifth, when we make up over half the nation's population?
The painful truth which we ignore is that these programmes do not work. The upper-class bumiputeras are getting richer, while the poor, poorer. These perks seem to only instill a sense of undeserved entitlement (with politicians crying foul over not getting the luxury car they want), abuse of power, corruption, intolerance of others and laziness. Our younger generation have trouble excelling academically, finding more joy in becoming Mat Rempits.
We have been spoilt. To fool ourselves, the politicians coin witty slogans and words like being 'glocal' and 'Towering Malays'. We say we're doing well, while we continue to slide further behind, and while our institutions of learning keep dropping in rank.
We do not realise that if we cannot learn to compete with others on fair ground in our own country, we will never learn to compete in the international arena.
And that is why my family sent me overseas for university studies and that is why I do not believe in raising my children to be spoon fed, to be taught that they were born with special rights and they deserve more than others regardless of effort.
And that is why, I'm proud to say, we are thriving due to our own hard work.
I urge our leaders, our prime minister, to take a step back, and hard as it may seem, to accept the truth that perhaps our system ultimately brings more harm than good to us bumiputeras. Let us learn to stand on our own two feet.