Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Are M’sians, not just Malays, ready to take on the world?

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | Like many of his double entendres, Mahathir is saying two things.

Can bumis compete with Chinese nationals?

David Dass: Perhaps the question that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was actually posing was whether the Malays could compete with the Chinese (instead of Chinese nationals).

Like many of his double entendres, Mahathir is saying two things. In the first, he is being critical of the previous government's policy of bringing in Chinese workers and tying up sales in Forest City with stay-in visas. And the second, posing the question whether Malays could be competitive among Malaysians?

The Malays were essentially rural dwellers going to Malay schools. The Chinese were urban dwellers going to English schools. The government's approach was to make English schools Malay schools. A move that was understandable from a nationalistic perspective.

But the fact that the majority of teachers were English-language proficient and not in the least bit Malay-language proficient and that textbooks and libraries were all in English were not considerations.

The result was that government schools are now perceived as bad schools with low standards. The wealthy go to private schools. The Chinese go to Chinese vernacular schools in the first six years. After graduation from school and college, more Malays are absorbed in the public sector and most Chinese work in the private sector or abroad.

It is accepted that the pace and pressure of work are more intense in the private sector. Many Chinese also go into business. Whether it is stalls in the markets or coffee shops or motor workshops or grocer shops, the Chinese dominate the retail and service sector. The Malays are not very visible there.

Why is this so? And what needs to be done to get more Malays to go into the retail trade?

It is not as if the Malays are not in business at all. The Kelantanese are quite business-minded. Malays are in food and fruit stalls, wet markets, service stations and in big shopping chains. They are in banks, transport companies, insurance companies, advertising companies, newspapers, service organisations, etc.

The key appears to be education. Upgrade our schools and universities, make vocational schools better. Work out joint arrangements with European and Japanese vocational and engineering colleges so that we benefit from their resources and their experience.

We must leapfrog other nations, like the Chinese from China have done. And not slow the pace of things so that Malays can catch up.

Our people - all Malaysians - must be made more competitive. The truth is that even non-Malays cannot compete with the Chinese from China.

Anonymous 350791436750385: There are really many reasons why Chinese nationals are more competitive than Malaysians on the whole. But is that really the case?

There are thousands of Malaysians now doing successful businesses in China. The non-bumiputeras in Malaysia have survived and even done reasonably well despite being virtual second or third-class citizens in their own country.

Despite all the discrimination and in the most trying of circumstances, they still prevail. I find it difficult to believe that they are no match against the Chinese nationals.

Yes, it is just the bumiputeras - the likes of Lokman Noor Adam and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman - with their rent-seeking and entitlement mentality who cannot compete effectively when the playing field is even.

The problem is they think the world owes them a living and therefore entitled to be protected against any form of competition, rendering themselves completely impotent with time.

Ex-Wfw: Though Malaysiakini columnist Phar Kim Beng has decided to get the truth from another angle, the fact remains that one simply cannot force a result through sloganeering.

Unless and until we accept the truth, we will be banging our heads against the wall. Though Proton was launched about the same time as the Korean car industry, we lost out because we thought our persistence would pay off.

When one admits some society is hungrier than we are, it simply means they will plough harder, work longer hours and seldom give up.

We may argue that all the top universities have their graduates which made them proud but also crooks that made them infamous, but on the balance, I am sure the better universities produce more contributors than crooks.

And better universities must have more competition within their campuses. There is nothing to justify current practice unless we intend to remain where we are today.

Can bumis compete with new wave of China nationals, asks PM

Puzzling: Indeed, Mahathir is over-exaggerating. If you are referring to Forest City, there is only a remote possibility that many can become permanent residents (PR), much less becoming citizens. 

Many are just investors, while some may apply for visas under the Malaysia My Second Home (MMSH) programme which have stringent conditions prohibiting them to seek employment.

As for becoming PR, it will next to impossible for almost all of them; and becoming citizen, this is almost zero possibility unless those with exceptional talent.

In any case, the government has full control over immigration matters. Mahathir is just creating an invisible enemy to support his own agenda.

How disappointing coming from someone whom we have placed so much trust in.

Sulaiman Che Long: The majority view here says Mahathir is the source of the problem. His actions and policies were based on flawed philosophies.

If we start afresh, do we have a vision? Yes, we do. But Mahathir has not. He is very confused. Juxtapose his two statements and we see why. He said we want fair trade and level-playing field. Fair enough. Next, he said we can’t compete, we need handicap. How are these two be compatible?

To most people, he is basically saying I want free lunch. You got to make up your mind. Now at 93, the mind feeble, what can he do? Continue to delude everybody that he has magic? That there is a fairy godmother who with a wave of a magic wand will turn Malays into towering giants, economic booms and the creation of jobs?

Lastly, the shameless audacity to show the world that bumiputera excludes Orang Asal and East Malaysians. It is up to them to say what they wish. So they say, oh, there are Malay bumiputera and non-Malay bumiputera.

So, we know the outcome. The Malays don’t play chess and are happy-go-lucky lot. They don’t think too much. If the community decentralises, it may find its own salvation. If a grouping harms you, leave and seek your own destiny with a thinking mind, astute observation, humbleness, and hard work.

Mahathirism is so yesterday. His harm this second time around is limited by days. Okay, months. I wager that in a few years he will be forgotten, much less missed. As a person, I wish him well. He is the one that has to live with his own past.

The only question left is how this all will end. Will he bring his second chance to an ignoble end by his coming foreign policy speech in the United Nations and beyond, and by setting Malaysians up for an even more disastrous and perilous course?

Or he has largely been discounted as a lame duck and everyone is tiptoeing gingerly around him?

Hope: The question should be, can Malaysians, not only bumis, compete with the Chinese in China? The answer is no.

Honestly, our education system has not trained us to be confident enough to compete on the world stage. Couple with our "tidak apa" attitude, we will be lucky if we are still competitive even within the Asean region in near future.

Remember, not long ago everyone was complaining about products from China being inferior compared to those from say, Japan or Taiwan. (Funny, before this, we said the same thing about Japanese and Taiwanese products, too).

See how they have caught up? It is their relentless will in wanting to compete in the world stage that drove them to such heights. They just felt the need to keep on improving when there were complaints about their product.

What about us? Haven't we complained forever about our products like Proton, WiFi service, airline service, etc? The typical Malaysian reply will be: if you don't like it, buy from other people. On top of that, we never strive for excellence.

Can anyone name five products from Malaysia that is world famous? I can't. Lacking confidence also sees us trying to hide behind government protection instead of seeking fair competition to push us forward.

Until the day we start to work hard to improve our products and services, throw away our "tidak apa" attitude, forget about protection and help from government, stand up and face the competition, we will forever not able to compete on the world stage.

Are we ready to do that?

Yoursay: The truth is, even non-Malays can’t compete with PRC Chinese


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