An Australian newspaper The Age has a fascinating report on how Malaysian government’s strong desire to facilitate the Bumiputra is actually a counter productive strategy. The article basically says that the government is much more interested in increasing the percentage of financial equity owned by the Bumiputra and keeping up with appearance to the international audience rather than increasing the actual size of the total financial equity.
In reality, because of the government policies to favour the Bumiputra in almost every aspect (financially, educational access, socially, politically); the non-Bumiputras feel they are unfairly discriminated against and would rather take their skills and money elsewhere (Singapore, Australia, UK, USA, etc) where they are given fair access, rights and respect.
The news article concludes with the following words:
“Bank bale outs, a formula one racing track, an entire new capital city — Petronas has paid for them all. It’s been an orgy of nonsense that Malaysia can ill afford.
Why? Because Malaysia’s oil will run out in about 19 years. As it is, Malaysia will become a net oil importer in 2011 — that’s just five years away. So it’s in this context that the latest debate about race and wealth is so sad.”
Malaysian officials elegantly shrugs off these comments by challenging the author’s foregin nationality (Australian to be precise), rather than the contents of his report with a veiled warning to any Malaysian who might make similar comments.
Well, if this is our attitude towards constructive criticisms, then Malaysia Bodoh indeed.
PS: For those of you not familiar with the racial issues, please see the very well and fairly written Wikipedia entry on Bumiputra.