Sunday, November 02, 2008

Using Concepts, Policy and Race/Religion to distract questioning of the inequity an injustices in Malaysia.

Back to the question as to why use the term 'Bumiputra' or 'Bumiputra' - rather than the phrase used in the Federal Constitution.., i.e. 'the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak'.

Well, there can be many possible reasons (and you, the reader, will have to consider whether it is plausible or not)

ONE - because the UMNO or the UMNO-led BN or maybe just some of those who have the political/economic power wants to possibly 'insert' additional persons, whom they wrongly want to get them special priviledges and rights...

TWO - because it makes it easier for just certain persons (or certain persons of certain ethnic groups) to enjoy most of the benefits that have been accorded to 'the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak'.

Example of how this can be done:-

Say we have Malays,Ibans, Bidayuh, Kadazan, Murut - and if the equity share is to reach the 'the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' (now taken collectively as the 'Bumiputera') - it allows 99% of all the equity share to land with the Muruts, for example, and some of the groups not even getting anything - BUT the final conclusion will give the impression that all have benefited.

The same will also happen when things/wealth/benefits are just given to a collective like "natives of Sarawak' - for the more powerful (not necessary the ethnic group with the biggest number) may end up getting most of the benefits. In Sarawak, they say Taib and the ethnic group he belongs to reaps the lion share of the benefits/priviledges supposed to reach all the natives of Sarawak.

The government loves to talk about Bumiputera share of the equity, non-Bumiputra share, foreigners share.... but this will never tell us whether just 1 or a small group is benefiting OR whether all the different persons/households are benefiting.

Erradication of Poverty ...and homogenising Malaysians - so that there will be no more identification of race with economic functions...were important objectives of the NEP - but alas, the way things have been done allegedly in the name of NEP has resulted today in Malaysia having one of the biggest gap between the rich and the poor in Asia/the world. Certain few have become richer and richer...whilst many others including the majority of 'the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' have remained poor.

With regard to the state of the nation, our PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said:-

On the government's effort in eradicating poverty, Abdullah said the poverty rate had fallen from 5.7 per cent in 2004 to 3.6 per cent last year while hardcore poverty had eased from 1.2 per cent to 0.7 per cent over the same period.

The average household income of Malaysians, Abdullah added, had increased from RM3,249 in 2004 to RM3,686 last year. - New Straits Times, 2008/6/8 - PM: Understand fuel price hike, play your role (Also see earlier post)
But alas, in an article 'Has Malaysia Really Erradicated Poverty' - by Jeyakumar Devaraj (the man who defeated Samy Velu) in ALIRAN in 2004, it is stated that about 57% of Malaysian households earn RM2,000 or less. Note we are not talking about individual income but household income.

Another article 'Debating an equitable Malaysia - Towards an alternative New National Agenda' by G. Lim also deserves serious reading.

But when we look at Malaysia’s international position in terms of individual inequality, the position is quite different. According to the latest internationally comparable data from the World Bank, individual inequality in Malaysia (as measured by the common Gini coefficient) is the second worst in all of the Asian countries for which data is available. Only Papua New Guinea ranks worse. In fact, out of 127 countries for the World Bank provides data, Malaysia ranks 101 in terms of the Gini coefficient – the commonest measure of inequality. Aside from Papua New Guinea, the only countries in the world with worse individual inequality than Malaysia are in Central and South America – a region of notoriously high inequality – and some areas of sub-Saharan Africa such as South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Generally speaking, countries with higher levels of human development have lower levels of inequality; Malaysia thus stands out as an exception as a country with relatively high human development but also with relatively high inequality.
This is evidence how the UMNO led-BN government has, despite the provision of Article 153, miserably failed the ''the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' (or even the Bumiputra or 'Bumiputera') as individual persons, individual families and households. Their policies and practices have sadly just made a few rich..a few ''Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' (or Bumiputra or 'Bumiputera')" rich...

On the question of whether we have yet achieved the target of 30% - the present Prime Minister says 'No' - but we all know that other sources of information says "yes' and, in fact more than 30%.

But, we all can say with certainty that there has been a failure in terms of an equitable distribution of wealth amongst the 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' (or the 'Bumiputra')

In fact, there has also been a failure in terms of an equitable distribution of wealth amongst Malaysians generally - even amongst the various States and regions in

It is so bad that Malaysia has the distinction of being the country with the worst income disparity in Southeast Asia.

According to United Nations Human Development Report 2004, the richest 10 percent in Malaysia earn 22 times more than the poorest 10 percent, resulting in the country having one of the worst income disparity in Asia.

The 9th Malaysia Plan report released today said that the country’s Gini coefficient - a measurement for income disparity - has worsened from 0.452 in 1999 to 0.462 in 2004.

“The income share of the bottom 40 percent of households decreased from 14 percent in 1999 to 13.5 percent in 2004 while the top 20 percent of households increased from 50.5 percent to 51.2 percent.” - Malaysiakini, 31/3/2006 - ‘Worrisome’ gap between rich and poor

Malaysia’s top 10 percent of the population is 22.1 times richer than the poorest 10 percent. The country’s income gap is higher than Singapore (17.7 times), the Philippines (16.5), Thailand (13.4), Vietnam (8.4) and Indonesia (7.8). - Malaysiakini, 2/2/2005, M’sia has worst income disparity in SEA, gov’t flayed

What is important for me is that there be equitable distribution of wealth (and benefits) between all human persons in Malaysia..We cannot continue to accept this inequality brought about by the UMNO led-BN government over the last 50 years plus.

To hide the poor in Philipines, President Marcos constructed nicely painted fences that hid the poor from users of the main roads...Likewise, in Malaysia, it seems...

To prevent Malaysians from knowing the truth - certain matters were made sensitive --- and most times such matters were raised - it was turned into 'racial issues' - challenging the special privileges of the Bumiputra...forgetting the 'social contract'...etc. Let us go beyond such 'distractions' - and look critically at the policy and practice itself - all with the intention to ensure greater equity, human rights and justice in Malaysia....for the GOOD of all human persons...all creations of God.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's really spinning in Malaysia, the so called religion experts (doubts?)in Malaysia are banning yoga due to its Hinduism link. Why dont these doubtful religion experts also ban bumiputra which is also linked to Hindusim. Without this bumiputa burden, may we hope for a fair and just Malaysia? Children of God (Never son of soil)