While debate rages on whether bumiputera equity is 18% or 45%, the majority of Malaysian are actually not affected by the outcome. Making distribution of wealth a racial matter is missing the mark by a long shot. I am a bumiputera. Please explain what relevance is it to me since I do not even own one share certificate?
Using equity as a barometer is ineffective and unbalanced. What it does do is compare the richness of the rich. Using this logic, someone who is less rich deserves more so that he can be richer although he is already rich but just not rich enough. Meanwhile poverty in put on the back burner. After all, the poor don't have any shares so they are not part of the census. This is a competition of the rich which neglects the poor.
Statistics are a valid determinator of policy only when it is relevant. Taking the upper crust of society and evaluating its racial composition then formulating policy based on it is misleading. How can we just analyse the crust but ignore the pie? Is that what Malaysia is - a pie crust without any filling?
While I support the NEP, its implementation deserves improvement. Bumiputeras should not get assistance just for being bumiputeras. They must be poor and needy too. Loans must be small and regulated. The winner of this year's Nobel Peace Price, Mohammed Yunus, is an economics professor from Bangladesh.
He is the founder of the Grameen Bank and pioneer of 'microcredit' loan facilities to the poor. The NEP should emulate Yunus's idea if we want to eradicate poverty. Even our prime minister has chastised many bumiputeras for taking big loans then using them to buy luxury cars and to practise polygamy and marry young wives.
Theoretically, government assistance is designed to help poor bumiputeras who live in 'kampungs' and who have 10 children including some who are handicapped. These kampung folk can barely afford to buy school uniforms let alone send their children for higher education at the universities. These are the Malays the NEP was formulated for.
Not the Malays living in Damansara Heights, Bangsar, Tropicana and Section 7 Shah Alam and other rich enclaves in the country whose outstretched hands are on the top of the pile seeking government help.
The use of share equity or income per capita as a means of measuring the distribution of wealth is biased and flawed. After all, the wealth of the super rich is so overpowering that it renders any statistical study meaningless. For example, one billionaire can have as much wealth as 100,000 people.
And if we are talking about the super poor, one billionaire can be richer than nearly a million poor people put together. Surely then we must discard the super rich so that our statistical results can have a semblance of accuracy. How about comparing poverty between the ethnic races. Now that would be a better indicator.