LETTER | I refer to Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent statement as below, quoting the Malaysian prime minister on the Malay culture:
“This is our culture. We do not know what hardship is, we only want things to be easy. I have tried to be an example, tried to teach, scolded, cried and even prayed. But I have failed. I have failed to achieve the most important thing – how to change the Malays. The Chinese in Malaysia have no special rights, they experience discrimination. But they are more successful than us.”
My intention for writing this article is not to add salt to the bleeding wounds but to point out how the Malays can improve.
The New Economic Policy (NEP)
In 1970, the government introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP), which had three main objectives, namely: To achieve national unity, harmony and integrity. Through socio-economic restructuring of the society.
The objectives were good but the implementation was bad.
When the government introduced the new economic policy (NEP) our GDP per capita is the same as Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Today, after 48 years, the GDP per capita for Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea is four times, three times and 2.5 times Malaysia’s respectively, in spite of the fact that all these countries do not even have timber to build their houses. These countries import almost everything.
The NEP is the culprit that retarded the progress of the Malays. Under the NEP, almost all of the university places are reserved for the Malays. Almost all the government civil services, armed forces and police are for the Malays. With the exception of Public Bank, all other commercial banks are controlled by the Malays. Moreover, the Chinese have to reserve 30 percent of their company shares for the Malays and 30 percent of their employees must be Malays.
The government does not practice meritocracy.
As a result, the Malays do not need to struggle like the Chinese to gain entry to universities or find employment. They are spoonfed for too long and they become lazy. That is what Mahathir said.
Since the Chinese cannot gain university places or employment in the government so easily, most of them have to learn a trade like an electrician, carpenter, motor mechanic or some other trades. That is why you cannot see a few Malay carpenters or bricklayers.
The Chinese are operating an economic trap door
After gaining practical experience, gradually many of the Chinese become businesspeople. They gradually expand their businesses. The more successful ones become public-listed companies. That is why most of the public-listed companies are controlled by the Chinese.
Among all the businesses, the most profitable business is property development. As I said, many of the Chinese, after learning carpentry, bricklaying and building construction, became property developers. The Chinese constructed all the buildings, highways and infrastructures in the country.
As we all know, everybody will eventually want to own a house and they would give all their life savings to the Chinese. That is why I said the Chinese are operating an economic trap door in Malaysia.
Despite being the second-class citizens in Malaysia, the Chinese are the biggest taxpayers.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.