Malay Backwardness goes beyond Public Administration


August 7, 2017

Malay Backwardness goes beyond Public Administration

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

Image result for Terence Gomez on GLCs

 

If Malay immaturity and underdevelopment (backwardness) are so blatant in areas where we dominate (politics and public administration), imagine the situation elsewhere. Again, we do not need expensive consultants’ reports or the academics’ graph-laden presentations to expose that sorry reality.

Consider our marginal role in the economy. Stroll down any street in any town, and that fact would be jarring and obvious. Even if we were to mandate that those business signs be “Malaynized” or in Malay, that would not alter the sorry reality. It would only make the situation worse by camouflaging the problem, as is happening in Thailand and Indonesia. Guess who owns Malaysia’s most successful conglomerate Berjaya (Malay word meaning success)?

If those Malay leaders and civil servants were to have a leak in their home faucets or their cars break down, the plumber or auto mechanic who respond would more likely be a non-Malay, or even non-Malaysian, just as it was half a century ago. At another level, every year thousands of houses expropriated from non-Malay developers and then offered to Malays at substantial discounts remain unsold.

Then consider our young. The overwhelming majority of unemployed graduates are Malays. They are not so much unemployed as unemployable, reflecting the quality of local public institutions, again under Malay leadership, by statutes. We Malays are also overrepresented in the dysfunctional categories, from drug abuse and HIV infections to abandoned babies and broken families.

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The Malay Financial Genius

Those glaring and embarrassing realities would preclude any self-respecting Malay leader from jetting around in luxurious private jets at public expense, or have their children own plush penthouse suites in London and palatial mansions in Beverly Hills. These Malay leaders should be embarrassed. Instead they, from Najib on down, flaunt their flamboyant lifestyles. They lack maruah; they know no shame.

Malays are proud of such “glorious” government-linked companies (GLCs) as Khazanah (a holding company), Petronas (the giant oil company), and Sime Darby (a conglomerate). Those companies are Malays only in terms of their senior leadership and employees, not ownership. Being GLCs, they could easily change their character with a change in the government, as with the state GLCs in Penang. This Malay pride is misplaced for another reason. These GLCs have failed in their mission to spearhead Malay entry into the business world, its reason for being. Instead these GLCs have been debased into a cesspool of continuing corruption. 1MDB is only the latest, as well as most expensive and egregious.

These GLCs suck up scarce public funds. Few are profitable. Again, like the money pocketed by corrupt officials, the lost opportunity for those precious funds is enormous. Think of the good had those billions diverted to UMNO kleptocrats were instead used to better libraries and laboratories in rural schools!

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The picture is equally ugly with education. Again, we do not need highfalutin reports to tell us that we are far behind. When Ungku Aziz led the University of Malaya many decades ago, it would consistently rank high; today, well, it is still ahead of the University of Timbuktu, but only slightly.

The sorry decline of our universities is but one example. Another is more simple and direct. In the 1980s I could still find some Malay students at Stanford and other elite American campuses. Today there are as rare as dew in a mid-Malaysian morning. Further back, when I was at Malay College in the early 1960s, it was still preparing students for entry into universities. Today those students have to go elsewhere for their matriculation.

Malay College started its first IB matriculating class in 2011, a full decade in the planning and nearly three decades after the college discontinued its Sixth Form. The college has an impressive governing board, with Raja Nazrin as its chairman. Despite having such luminaries, the pace of change was glacial. Imagine at lesser institutions! While IB everywhere is the top choice for students, not so at Malay College. Its students prefer going elsewhere.

Yet when we peruse the statistics in such publications as the Malaysian Quality of Life 2004 Report, we are assured that we have made great progress. Worse, we believe such reports! Consider the one sector where Malays pride ourselves in having a heavy presence–public transportation. During my youth, nearly all public bus companies were controlled by non-Malays, except for the occasional ones like the one plying in the northeastern states and the old Sri Jaya Company (now defunct) in Kuala Lumpur.

Then there was the Malay Transport Company serving my village at Sri Menanti, Negri Sembilan. Granted, its service was erratic but at least there was a service. Today that company is long gone and the village is now without any bus service, erratic or otherwise.

In the 1980s matters seemingly improved, with many more “Malay” bus companies. That however, was achieved not through the initiatives of Malay entrepreneurs but through fiat. The government forced existing non-Malay companies to “re-structure” and include Malay partners.

The few savvy Chinese businessmen who saw that as an opportunity to cash out their investments by jacking up the values of their companies came out like bandits, quite apart from earning the enduring gratitude of Malay elite. That in turn smoothed the way for these Chinese businessmen to do even more lucrative businesses with their new masters.

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End of a Legacy–A Victim of Bumiputrarisation

 

The few arrogant holdouts came to regret their decisions. The owners of the Foh Hup Bus Company that plied the busy and highly lucrative Seremban-Kuala Lumpur route did not wish to share their pot of honey. They also smugly believed that Malays were not suitable business partners. With the completion of the new highway between the two cities and the license for that route awarded to a Malay enterprise (by then Prime Minister Dr.Mahathir Mohamad), Foh Hup’s market collapsed. The company got to keep its jar of honey alright, but the bees were taken away.

Despite that jump start, today Malays are back to square one. Bus companies throughout the peninsula may be in Malay hands, but the system is broken down, mechanically and financially.

A Malay Bullshit Artiste–Mirroring the Malay Mindset

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Malay underdevelopment is not just relative (as compared to other groups and nations) but also absolute. Meaning, as compared to a generation ago, we are today making even slower progress if not actually regressing. The examples cited here may not mean much in the greater scheme of things but they are emblematic of our overall inadequacies and underdevelopment. Our backwardness is worse when compared to the First World, and widening. That is hidden as our leaders continually compare us to the likes of Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea. It is also hidden because of the vibrant contributions from non-Malays. Malays are deluded into thinking that those achievements were ours too.

I am not revealing anything new much less profound here. The only difference is that I offer a different approach in analyzing and solving these problems.

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Our leaders are heavy into sloganeering, with such strident calls as revolusi mental, glokal Melayu, and Ketuanan Melayu, that is, when they are not busy blaming our culture and our innate nature, as well as our lack of unity and our ‘straying” from our faith. My approach would first require us to have an open mind so we could view our problems from different perspectives and not be trapped by our current preconceptions. The solutions would then be much easier to find.

A Malay is an UMNO Construct


August 3, 2017

A Malay is an UMNO Construct .Go figure

by S. Thayaparan

http://www.malaysiakini.com

 

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Zahid Hamidi is a Melayu SeJati defined by UMNO.

Image result for Najib the Bugis Warrior Even  a Bugis is a True Malay  since he is UMNO President

 

“I want to be a normal member. Because I cannot do anything (for the Malays).”

– former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad

COMMENT | Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has chosen to insult the Indian community with his “attack” on Pakatan Harapan chairperson and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Indian pedigree and subsequent actions as not being a Malay “trait”.

To be honest, I had been expecting something like this for a couple of months now – “The only thing that is different this time is because the Malay community is fractured, and UMNO has had to play the race and religion card against its own. Playing the race and religion card against your own community is a recipe for disaster, especially when the country does not have an alternative to the Islam proscribed by UMNO.”

Since the struggle for the Malay soul – read: vote – is now between UMNO and Bersatu, this whole idea of demonstrating “Malay-ness” becomes the battleground, instead of real policies which would take the Malay community in a new direction.

I never understood what a “Malay” sejati was anyway. As far as I can tell, to UMNO, any Malay who is not in the UMNO fold in not a true Malay.

I remember when then Prime Minister Mahathir chided his Malay/UMNO base (during numerous annual general meetings) on their “mudah lupa”-ness , their laziness , their ineptitude, their incompetence and their general “tidak apa” attitude , in other words, “traits” which he found detestable, the sycophants that surrounded him went to the press and claimed that the good doctor was giving them strong medicine because he really loved UMNO and wanted the best for UMNO and its members.

Once out of UMNO, he becomes an Indian

Do you think I am seditious when I talk about these Malay traits? Mahathir has more or less said the same. The former premier said Malays had failed because they were lazy and sought the easy way out by reselling their shares, licences and contracts to non-Malays.

“They cannot be patient, cannot wait a little, they want to be rich this very moment… no work is done other than to be close to people with influence and authority in order to get something,” he said. “After selling and getting the cash, they come back to ask for more.”

Perhaps Zahid should take the former Prime Minister’s advice and learn from the Chinese: “If we take out the Chinese and all that they have built and own, there will be no small or big towns in Malaysia, there will be no business and industry, there will be no funds for the subsidies, support and facilities for the Malays. Learn from the Chinese.”

Again, if you think I am racist or seditious for defining the narrative in such a way, please keep in mind that the reason why we have buffoons like these UMNO ministers blathering on about authentic Malays is because the current opposition de facto leader, Mahathir Mohamad admitted that he “failed” to change the “Malay” mindset:

“What else (can I do) … 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.”

Now, of course, the UMNO narrative is that because he was not an authentic Malay, what he really did was use UMNO for his personal interests. This is kind of a joke because UMNO has always had special privileges for its members, all the rest are discounted citizens.

Mind you these are the same traits that some folks believe would seep into their respective cultures, so Zahid is not the only person who is worried about the authenticity of his race and religion. Go figure.

However since this is the Deputy Prime Minister we are talking about here, he never stops to consider that maybe just maybe, there is a Malay proverb that addresses this specific trait because such traits exist in the Malay community as they do in all communities.

As this kind of basic logic is way over the head of a political operative like Zahid, what we are left with is the kind of Malay (ketuanan) trait that makes some Muslims worry for the mental health of their community.

This is the same kind of Malay “trait” that makes a group like Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) lodge a report against Marian Mahathir for “liking” a twitter post support of the LGBT community. Of course if some prominent person liked a Twitter post in support of some banned Islamic extremist group, these same people would have no trouble supporting a “like” and demonizing detractors as Islamophobic.

While some folks may argue that these are the “traits” of the Malay community and they would also argue that we should be mindful lest the other – pendatang – communities are tainted by such traits, ultimately what we are dealing with is the racist nature of mainstream politics here in Malaysia.

I am kind of fuzzy on the logic behind this attack. Is Mahathir not an authentic Malay because of his Indian heritage, or because he left UMNO and is now working with the opposition?

If not leaving UMNO is a Malay trait, then what does it say about all those other Malays who have left UMNO? What does it say about those Malay who are not “tainted” by pendatang ancestry but who no longer are part of the UMNO establishment or who have been in UMNO?

And if working with the opposition is not a Malay trait then what does it say about the numerous UMNO /Malay political operatives who are working with PAS, a supposedly opposition party and at one time the arch-enemy of UMNO?

“This is our culture. We do not know what is hardship, we only want things to be easy,” is how Mahathir defined Malay culture. Is he wrong? Of course Zahid will say that all these utterances of Mahathir just prove that he is not an authentic Malay ignoring the fact when he was saying them in the various UMNO general assemblies, the sycophants were prostrating themselves before him and acknowledging their sins.

Ibrahim Yahya, the Deputy Prime Minister’s aide, claimed that the politics of hate that is sowed by the opposition is destroying the country, but the reality is that that the politics of hate defines this country. This is just another example of what I have always said.

Indian Muslims: Think before like MIC you leap into the heap of empty promises


July 19, 2017

Indian Muslims: Think before like MIC you leap into the heap of empty promises

by Rais Hussin@www.malaysiakini.com

Islam is an emancipating religion. It seeks to liberate minds and bodies from the shackles of the old order. Blessed are those who use Islam to free themselves from the chains of slavery.

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It is not the place here to speak about the various versions of servitude in India. It is more appropriate to talk about how Indians born and bred in Malaysia, through time, have found their liberation here.

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The Emancipated Mamak

If Dr Mahathir Mohamad is held up as a model of emancipation, with his father being a stern headmaster in Kedah, he has shown the extent to which a hardworking and diligent man can reach the pinnacles of power: the premiership.

When power slipped from his hands between 2003 and 2016, Mahathir did not give in or up. He returned to his core principles, forming strategic and horizontal alliances with Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, even the Democratic Action Party, and Amanah, all of whom had been his nemesis before, to create a common front to save Malaysia.

He proposed, they agreed. And as he said to Nurul Izzah Anwar in London, “The past is the past. Let’s look to the future.” Coming from a 92-year-old man, the word “future” could mean a small window of opportunity to change Malaysia.

But it could also mean, once Malaysia is positively transformed from a kleptocracy back into a democracy, the world is ours for the taking. Why?

Look around. The Muslim world is in a dejected state. Turkey and Indonesia may have their own strengths, but they don’t have the unique resources of combining Islam side-by-side with the Anglo-Saxon institutions in the country, with ardent agreement to work closely with Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia does.

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The Mysterious Mamak

And, if Malaysia is not the laughing stock of the world, then it stands the chance to be a top Muslim power. One where Malay, and Indian Muslim leaders, work side-by-side with our non-Malay and non-Indian brothers.

A fake olive branch

This is why Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s overture towards Indians and Indian Muslims should be rejected wholesale.

In areas where the rights of Indians have never been truly respected, such as Cameron Highlands, where the waters from the dams can actually flood the areas twice, with nary a solution from MIC’s former President G Palanivel, the key is to bid him and others of his ilk a permanent goodbye.

Thanks for your service, but no thanks. Indian Muslims do not need to rise up like Hindraf. The Indian Muslims’ power rests with their ability to hold various levers of power in the government.

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The Mamaks have thrived in Malaysia for Generations without Najib Razak

Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa is an Indian Muslim too. The Indian Muslims should encourage him to use all the powers within him to encourage Indian Muslims to work in the government. But if he cannot make a pip or a squeak, then the olive branch extended by Najib to Indian Muslims is not real.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is an Indian Muslim. If he has his conscience, he should explain why there is alleged evidence of him receiving RM9.5 million to be the special prosecutor of the government on the second trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

The same goes for Treasury Secretary-General Mohd Irwan Serigar. Why did he cancel the planned sale of a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings and China Railway Engineering Conglomerate?

If he truly believes Islam is a religion that seeks to liberate and improve the welfare of all, this is the place to start. If he doesn’t  pander to more Indian Muslim NGOs to support the Najib government, he is proverbially signing his death warrant.

The waves from the people are unstoppable. Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim have reconciled their differences. The ground has shifted back to 1981 when both of them teamed up to turn back the tide of PAS.

Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng have also seen the writing on the wall, and done likewise. They know DAP cannot ignore the experience of Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir. Together, all three carry powerful human networks that can help all Malaysians including Indian Muslims.

‘Yenge poh renge?’

Cozying up to Najib now, especially when he is weak, and will get weaker, is an exercise in futility. Even the head of MIC Dr S Subramaniam merely averred recently that Najib had done more than Mahathir for the Indians – but he couldn’t explain why, how, when, or, how much. Because nothing was really done! Election trinkets are not serious developments to help Indians or Indian Muslims.

Under Mahathir, capable Indian Muslims were promoted. One must surely know Nor Mohamed Yakcop who is the current Deputy Chairman of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. As recorded in a book by former editor of The Star Wong Sulong, Nor Mohamed was one of the pivotal figures who kept the financial speculators at bay during the Asian Financial Crisis.

Indeed, look at what Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, himself a Muslim, was able to achieve together with Professor Chandra Muzaffar of JUST World Trust. Both were the intellectual lights of the Malaysian academic scene, and still are.

Forget not the many Indian Muslim businesses that have prospered and mushroomed over the years throughout Malaysia. Indian Muslims as a collective community has indeed contributed much to Malaysia and its growth.

Indian Muslims in Malaysia can rise, and have risen. But reaching out to Najib, a politically beleaguered Prime Minister, is not the way forward.

In fact, we should ask the Prime Minister: “Yenge poh renge?” That’s Tamil for “where are you going with this?”. And, clearly, he is going nowhere.

Indian Muslims must be smart enough to know: God helps those who help themselves. The Malaysian people are rejecting Najib to help improve their own lot. Indians and Indian Muslims must not lose this God-sent opportunity.