Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Metamorphosis in Malaysia

Bernama via Malaysia-Today - HRH Sultan Nazrin says NEP A MAGICAL TOUCH FOR MALAYS (extracts):

Most Malaysian 'nons' including moi would agree with HRH but with some qualifications which I will come to shortly.

Whether May 13 was the tragic catalyst prompting the late Tun Razak to embark on a considerably brilliant scheme called the New Economic Policy (NEP) to engineer the socio-economic framework of Malaysian society into a more equitable community, ...

... or whether May 13 was engineered to justify Tun Razak's intent to achieve what he had wanted to do for Malay society, but who at an early point in time perhaps felt constrained to do so by the leadership and presence of multiracial Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman, we would never know save through allegations, suspicions, conjectures, prejudiced perceptions and subjective assessments.

But nonetheless, the NEP was a brilliant scheme to elevate Malay from poverty through a public (governmental) affirmative social-economic-financial program.

The NEP had/has two goals, namely, (1) to eradicate poverty and (2) to restructure society through eliminating the identification of race with economic function by rapid expansion of the economy over time (so there's a piece of the cake for everyone).

Thus HRH Sultan Nazrin has been right in describing NEP as the program with a 'magical' touch for Malays.

HRH commented that the NEP program "... injected a new confidence and pride into the Malays" on which note I now bring in 'some of my qualifications' about the program (NEP).

I've no doubt the NEP brought about a 'new confidence' among the Malay community, indeed as the program was expected to do and should endow.

But alas, IMHO, the 'pride' the NEP was supposed to inject into Malays somehow metamorphoses gradually, and then with Mahathir's replacement of the last of the old UMNO guard of Tun Hussein Onn, abruptly into perceived 'privileges' which was not what Tun Razak had envisaged but which during the Mahathir regime, UMNO people believed (still do) to be Malay 'rights'.

'Twas a 'right' which brought along words like 'ketuanan' and 'social contract' which now could not and won't ever be dislodged nor discarded, hence it has been cynically referred to as the 'Never Ending Policy'.

Like most things in Malaysia, what started off with noble objectives often deteriorate into tangential schemes with base motives.

Tun Razak's goals of eradication of poverty among Malays and socio-economic restructuring to remove identification of race with economic functions became, during Mahathir's regime, Malay business ownership, a goal pursued with glee, single-mindedness and, sadly for the general Malay community, growing elitism among UMNO upper echelons.

even PAS wants in 

Thus I doubt whether the NEP still retains the intention of its creator Tun Razak, as HRH mentioned, to give more opportunities for the Malays, especially its rural youth, to participate in the flow of mainstream development, in the growth of their careers especially in high positions in public sector, to enjoy influence and to undergo a cultural transformation in the general society.

But what I and many in society know is that the NEP has become in the main a gravy train for UMNO apparatchiks. The enlarged economic cake which Tun Razak wanted, so that everyone gets a piece, has been repetitively consumed 'ere it reaches down to even the general Malay community.

And ironically, Mahathir the very man responsible for transforming the intended path of the original NEP into corporate-size business ownership for Malays was wont to say (in 2014) that the Malays have become (because of the NEP?), and despite his 22-year efforts, 'lazy'.

He further lashed out by saying they 'lacked good values and ethics', trailed behind the other races economically and are 'not ashamed of failing'.

Frank B. Tipton in his book Asian Firms: History, Institutions and Management said that in 2002 Mahathir chided the Malays for leaning on the crutches of their privileges which have been accorded to them to protect them.

In that book, according to Tipton, Mahathir said of the Malays:

"Unfortunately their view is that the crutches are the symbols of their superior status in the country. The sad thing is that they are not even using the crutches properly ...".

I believe in his frustration he was too sweeping (over-generalizing) in his accusations against every Malay. He should instead accept that his strategy for Malays was far too elitist and only for the high-privileged people. 

Though HRH Nazrin has been correct about the original goals and early stages of the NEP (Tun Razak's and Tun Hussein's NEP), he should also take cognizance that much had changed as the NEP has deteriorated into an exclusive trough for elite snouts.


  1. Yes, I am a product of NEP. Dan siapalah aku ini tanpa NEP.

    Once, I did write to Maddy for a CEO post in a GLC. He wrote on my letter "Disokong", but one little Napolean didn't like me and used his network not to give me that job. In hindsight I glad.. because it wasn't the right thing for me to do.

    But life has been good to me and so far it's been a good life for my family all in all. Aamiin. All my children went to universities with two graduated with first class in VC list. Aamiin again.

    My advise on NEP is do keep it as a never ending policy because we still have a long way to go. Focus most on knowledge and training but NEVER give an inch on the technical know who-ism on influential person. Keep the doors of opportunities open  but let them climb up the ladder on their very own effort and merit. Damn those who are trying to get a fall from heaven or snouts in the trough.

  2. May 13 occurred by design. It was not a spontaneous outburst of violence, as the official version claims.
    The intention was to cripple Tunku Abdul Rahman's inclusive policies.

    In spite of his inoffensive demeanour, Tun Razak was in reality a race supremacist. The Ultra within an Ultra party.

    Like father, like son.

    Najis, with his bland exterior and fake British accent has many Non-Malays misled into very positive views of him.
    I've met many, even outside of the obvious Gelekan/MCA circles, who think Najis is a Moderate (including most likely Ktemoc).
    Of course, lucre liberally spread around helps a lot.

    A moderate ? Far from it.
    Watch what he does, not what he says.

    Najis is the Taiko enabler, protector and facilitator for Race extremists such as Jamal Ikan Bakar, Ali Tinju, Ismail Sabri etc.

  3. In my youth, I received a first rate education at a British university, which would have been financially impossible for me without the NEP.

    Since then the NEP has helped provide opportunity and a level playing field.

    A Fair Go, as the Australian lingo says, for Malays to participate in the Business Sector.

    In the Malaysian business environment of the 1970's and early 1980's there was no level playing field for Malays.

    Opportunities to link up with Customers and Suppliers were hard to pursue.
    It was very difficult for Malays to obtain Financing and even Credit Terms for any Foreign or Chinese company you tried to deal with.

    Providing fair opportunities objectively for Malays is still important, in 2017.

    What must not continue is political patronage, cronyism, non-optimal decision-making based on protecting or favouring specific individuals.

  4. The Prime Directive of the StarTrek, prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific, social and cultural development.

    The PD reflects both a consequentialist commitment to reducing harm and a Kantian commitment to respecting the autonomy of others. The very basic guiding principle IS the assumption that cultures are better off if left to their own devices (whether those “devices” are social practices or concrete technologies) at their own pace of evolution.

    Interference by Starfleet, even if well-intentioned, is judged likely to mess things up in unanticipated ways. This embodies a kind of anti-colonialist ethos, a commitment to respecting a civilization's own values, beliefs, and practices rather than imposing “better” ones upon them.

    There r tons of truth in this interpretation of the PD vis-à-vis the NEP implementation!

    NEP tries to frog-leaping the economic status of the Melayu using 揠苗助长 blunt force, without assessing the mental, cultural & religious readiness of the targeted group.

    The 1st generation of the NEP-ites had shown encouraging positivity in this policy. Partly contributed by the conscientious selection of the candidate. Mostly due to the near wastage amount of blunt monetary inputs in bulldozing the scheme through, allowing single success among the thousand failures.

    However, mining deeper into these ‘achievements’, from now with hindsight, it could be conclusively derived that these pioneer NEP-lites successes were an initial phrase misconstrue. It is its unabated continuation, thus, leading to the current state of the failed anticipated goal of uplifting the Melayu masses.

    During the first decades of the NEP implementation, the institutional, social, religious & intellectual changes that the establishment of the new polity entailed create the context for the emergence of a bangkit bangsa movement.

    Unfortunately, there was no sustaining synergy due to the little napoleon syndrome. Many of the later NEP-lites r not selected on merits, rather they r been chosen to scam the system based on connection. The consequence is that incompetents r been chosen to be the umbrella holders. Instead of the umbrella effect of one success inspires multiple spillovers in a level playing field, one is left with a creation of a small elite class that continue to exploit the siege mentality of the downtrodden fellow kindred to sustain their indulgences.

    A positive feedback chain reaction is been propagated as the incompetents can’t have smart subordinates & smart people won’t works for idiots. With idiots in lead, thus the fall of the noble aim of uplifting the majority poor Melayu’s deplorable standard of living.

    Those who have no connections continue to face economic hardship, despite the loud chants of bangkit bangsa. The chances for them to be bootstrapped diminishes as the selected elites fencing-in their turf – a reversed bandwagoning.

    Bandwagoning occurs when a state aligns with a stronger, adversarial power and concedes that the stronger adversary-turned-partner disproportionately gains in the spoils they conquer together.


  5. 2of2

    Such dichotomy in economic development create a futile ground for extreme religious resurgence, as the mostly poor search for spiritual comfort from their daily tolls.

    As stipulated in the PD, NEP is actually a destructive mechanism that creates an unanticipated outcome bcoz the targeted recipients have not reached the threshold of maturity where such a scheme would benefit them.

    When NEP was created & the Melayu r not ready mentally & culturally. Malaya was also not ready bcoz there wasn’t a benevolent leader like LKY. This could be the REASON why Tun Ismail insisted for a binding period of 20 years before its abolishing. Thus by force-marching the backwarded Melayu to economic up-state & claimed such proposition would create a just, & ‘more’ harmonious nation that ALL M’sians could be proud of was/is a misplaced jingoistic analysis so often done by academicians who r ignoring the PD.

    Bulldozing the NEP causes lost opportunities in the nationhood & economic foundation of Malaya/M’sia. It robs Nons to enrich the selected Melayu elites while majority of the poor Melayu r still been trapped within the chronic poverty loop.

    After closed to 40+ years of NEPmismatches, M’sia is now fast spiraling into kleptomaniac failed state.

    S Korea had a GDP very much lower than Malaya in the 70s. & yet she is many steps ahead of M’sia in the 21st centuary.

    M'sia GDP/Cap(1970) US$394.10 GDP/Cap(2005) US$5,141.60

    S Korea GDP/Cap(1970) US$278.80 GDP/Cap(2005) US$16,308.90

    What gives as shown?

    Hidden within these M'sia statistic r the opportunities in the 21st centuary that the Nons r been deprived of to contribute through education, business & intellectual as their forefather has been doing before the NEP era.

    Leadership is one thing. Policies r the other. Most important is the stage of development of the people, in term of culture, sopo & intellectual. When a strong arm policy is been carry out, if the people r ready, u have S Korea. If the people r not ready u have M’sia.