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Sakmongkol ak 47

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Some Thoughts on Article 153

Has article 153 and other provisions of such nature, solved many of the problems facing the Malays?

  1. Economics- share in country’s wealth
  2. Increase productivity of Malays upon which wealth must be predicated?
  3. Education- produced the numbers required

If the overall answer is an overwhelming NO, then it is reasonable to state, that article 153 is not the BIG issue. You have article 153, yet the Malays have not achieved what the article is meant to do. You have article 153, yet it has not stopped the non Malays from getting what they want. In business. Who has enjoyed more benefits? By and large, non Malays in particular, the Chinese have dominated business as a result of industriousness and abilities. Hello people! The LOATHING on people who get ahead by capitalising on some legislative factors, is NOT the monopoly of non Malays. The majority of Malays are also angry at these parasitic elite.

Article 153 stopped the Chinese from doing businesses? Housing? In spite of the discount giveable, in private housings, are the Malays within the legal quota? In many cases, the requirement for a certain quota is made valid for a certain finite period, say 12 months. After the period is breached, the available unsellable houses are sold to non Malays. Despite the quota on housing, non Malays still get to buy houses. Meaning article 153 has not stopped them from owing houses. The Malays because of financial limitation, in spite of the enabling article 153, have not been able to enjoy better housing facilities. No money no talk- nor article 153.

It would be a mistake to assume that only Chinese and other non Malays are the only ones opposed to Article 153. In so far, as the article has made it possible for the well connected elite to skim of the fat in the name of the Malays which the article was originally meant to assist, the majority of Malays have found it to be objectionable. It is also looked on as unconscionable that only a privileged few, benefiting from the status of Bumiputera, despite having a derisive attitude on the majority of Malays appear to have benefited more.

So you have struck a common ground. There are those non Malays who find article 153 repulsive and a majority of Malays who also find article 153 objectionable. Only the reasons differ. Lets see.

What’s the bone of contention as regards article 153? Sad but true, because its seen primarily from the angle of race. It’s the Malay article. Its objected because its Malay. Then non Malays’ objection is premised on their deep-seated contempt on Malays. As a result, a more objective rejection on article 153 BECAUSE in reality, it’s an exploitative legal device when put into PRACTICE that has injured ALL, fails to be fully appreciated.

So ask ourselves, the renewed vigour which has induced recent MCA leaders to become more vociferous and loud, was it prompted by this second reasoning? Or simply because its perceived to a Malay article? The MCA has suddenly found a embolden voice and has begun to question article 153. Of course, the DAP has made it a lifelong vocation and habit to call for the dismantling of article 153.

The MCA seem to think its one-upmanship and grandstanding by using article 153 will win it brownie points to fortify its own political fortunes. It must champion an issue to stay relevant.

Sakmongkol suggests that a better way to stay relevant is t offer a blueprint to help the Malays progress.

That was the principal reason for creating this article. To provide a living reminder that a large section of the people, must never be left behind in terms of progress. What is the use of say, having an article 152 ( Malaysia has 153) in our constitution recognising the special position of Malays but no policies to put that into effect? Yet we decry when such a position is duly recognised and we HAVE designed policies to put that position into effect. No Article without practice is better that an Article with practice? Yet in everyday life, we accept as a guiding principle that to make a decision which turns our faulty is better than making NO decision at all. How can a situation with an article WITH policies be worse off than a situation with an Article but WITHOUT the policies to put them into effect?

It’s the implementation folks, not the Article.


Anonymous,  1 November 2008 at 09:39  

agree with you sakmongkol. without good governance there can be no development. development can only be achieved if all parties respect to each other. what makes NEP under much intense pressure is none other than the implementation aspect of it. the government machinery for one must awake to the realisation of the fact that the success of NEP lies very much on their shoulders. this is because no matter whatever articles or so to assist or protect the bumis, without good implementation and quality government employees, all efforts made to develop and increase bumis participation in economy amount to nothing but trying to fill a basket of water.


Omong 1 November 2008 at 11:19  

so if the implementaion is flawed do you totally remove the policy?

some sectors of society are skillful in getting around any policy

if we believe that article 153 is necessary for peace and stability by all means uphold it

the implementation is always where the problem lies

the first thing to do is to STATE that the policy stays, no argument

then monitoring has to be intensified and rules and regulations be effected

of course it is easier said than done

but the intention of some to abolish it totally is of grave and urgent concern

these noises will not go away if counter argument is not forthcoming

mekyam,  1 November 2008 at 11:40  


agree with you about implementation being the undoing of article 153.

but more than that, i think it has also caused the malays to suffer from "training wheel syndrome".

even vicariously among those who never themselves benefitted from said article, which makes it twice as sad.

de minimis 1 November 2008 at 12:23  

Bro Sak

Prof Jomo called the scenario you painted above, where UMNO-BN elites grab projects and then farm it out to third parties (usually non-Malays) as "rent-seeking behaviour".

In answer to omong's comment, mechanical engineers have a saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". But if it is broke badly, then it may may need a serious overhaul and, maybe, even replacing.

I am terribly annoyed that the BN components, UMNO, MCA and Gerakan in particular, have treated this issue as a game. Everyone is polemicising the issue and uttering rhetorical rubbish.

The real issue is the fact that UMNO, MCA and MIC (the original Alliance components) have become "sesat" from its original idealistic mooring since the first decade of Merdeka.

Instead of really championing egalitarian development, what we have is regular "sandiwara" where UMNO is Melayu, MCA is Cina and MIC is India. It's a scripted show to distract Malaysians from the reality that there exists, as Gordon P. Means, Mavus Putucheary, KS Jomo and so many renowned analysts have decried, a BN ELITE that hogs most of the wealth.

Wind the clock back. Recall Tun Razak walking along dirt roads to open up areas for smallholding oil palm estates in a scheme called FELDA. This scheme was meaningful and direct. It benefited the ordinary Malays directly. That is the spirit of NEP.

Wind the clock to the 80s and 90s. Privatisation projects are awarded to Malay-controlled corporates. Only a select few Malays get the benefit. And, much of the privatisation work is farmed out to non-Malay elites. That is NOT the spirit of NEP.

But, sak is right. While what I've written may lead some to suggest that the problem is with IMPLEMENTATION, I fear that the rot is too deep. That is why sak's suggestion has real merit.

Questioning Article 153, which is the legal foundation of NEP and, questioning the basis for the NEP itself, is a necessary audit to determine beyond doubt how far the policy has deviated.

Leaving aside population growth, we need to start asking why so many young Malaysians are into DVD peddling, internet cafes, despatch clerk-turn-Mat Rempit, bag-snatching and so on. This is a sciological phenonmenon called "alienation" and "marginalisation". It is likely UMNO-BN's policies may have failed. Failed because there is a bias towards elites in UMNO, MCA and MIC.

So, the system is broken and, it needs fixing and, possibly, replacing.

Has anyone in UMNO-BN really begun to sit down and analyse why Anwar Ibrahim's so-called rhetoric was so resonant to the urban Malays? No need to ask about the non-Malays who found Anwar's words highly poignant and resonant.

So, what is UMNO-BN going to respond? Trust me, to-date, there has been no real response. Arresting RPK under ISA does NOT count as a legitimate response. Charging Anwar with sexual crimes does NOT count as a response.

I apologise if this commentary comes across as hard. I hope this comment will be taken in good faith even if it comes from a non-UMNO, non-Malay. But, like everyone else, I want to see Malaysia develop.

A discourse of the ORIGINAL INTENT of Article 153 and the NEP will engender genuine progress. But such a discourse must be REAL, not NOTIONAL. It cannot be a gathering of elites who will only focus on spin control to justify past excesses. Genuine stakeholders from within the Malay community must have a seat at the table. Non-Malays should be part of the process too.

Anonymous,  1 November 2008 at 12:45  


Congrats on you being confirm the datoship.

Like an eminent one time PM said, advisers must not have vested interest, nor should those in power of implementation.

Much has to do with our dominant party, until they decide and realize they "actually" represent the people and should do right by it, until then the instrument of NEP will be miss used and the quota never met.

Malays hold 18%, is anybody bold enough to access what percentages is held by the dominant party bigwigs.

Thus I agree, implementation is the problem.

aMir kat bukit

walla 1 November 2008 at 16:07  

Columbo's no chedet who writes in point form. And he has one bad eye so that means if he writes in chedet's way of point form, he may not be able to see his own dots well enough to connect them. Help needed here then:

- when temperatures are high because of financial pressures, even a molehill can become a mountain.

So Najib said something about the NEP. Then someone said something in a generic way to reinforce the rationale of it. Why he so gatal must be due to the heat, and typical of most politicians nowadays, the guy obviously didn't look at the thermometer. In a hot environment, someone said to have a mole on the cheek will be accurately reported to have two on the dimples, then blogged as having three in the vicinity of the nose, followed by suitable graphics to have four somewhere on the forehead, and then by the time it reaches the ears of all, the face is so freckled oxy-10 can't help.

It's like, you-know, if people are already suffering, telling them to change their lifestyles will only raise ire.

- the question is why did Najib say it? One recalls the last time it was said by the MOF and the ruling relaxed, there was an influx of FDI. Maybe that's the objective - since more FDI means more taxes collected, jobs created and suppliers, SMEs, and transport benefiting - that can't be all bad considering the shortfalls soon to be revealed.

There was this case. The investor walked in with his business plan. He wanted to put x into the industry. The application was studied studiously. Then a free thirty percent equity in the project was asked for the approval. He took the next flight out and on the way out, he got a call from his HQ. He replied yeah it was like what we feared, and the first thing they will ask if we give will be a jag.

Columbo lights his cigar and scratches his eyebrow.

- Someone said it's only 30 percent after all so why bugbear about things. But 30 percent of what? Everyone knows 30 percent of RM1 is not the same as 30 percent of RM1 billion. The people the policy was originally conceived to help were the millions who congregated in the RM1 sector, not the dozens who congregate in the RM1 Billion sector.

Yet we have the implementation of the policy in such a way that motor APs are given based on success in increasing AP sales so much so, abetted by a neo-monopolistic setting, the ex-Miti guy who had the first set of those APs just continued applying for more and more APs until he entered the RM1 Billion sector; for every one of him, there could have been a million of those in the RM1 sector who could have benefited enough to make the policy redundant faster. Not to say a more varied motor industry.

Now the guy might have even been a hardworking and capable person after all but the net result was to bypass the end-objective of the policy and to entrench a RM1 Billion sector as an oligopoly of patricians who would then be seen by the plebeians that are both the malays of the RM1-to-n sector and the nonmalays of the same sector as having all the natural reasons to make sure the policy continues ad infinitum - since it benefits them (the patricians).

Columbo asks himself: but does that mean the policy is bad? Well, he tries to answer to himself. It is good in intent but seems to have been bad in application simply because it never factored in the human factor of greed, and how do you take a human factor out of the equation of a policy? But is greed bad, someone asks, since it is greed which fuels progress in a capitalistic world? A limp voice whimpers a suggestion...maybe then one should discard capitalism and embrace such socialism as befitting the policy. Tongue rolls out (because it is a tongue-in-cheek suggestion?)Then what about Naza? a brave soul asks. What about it? You mean without the policy there can't be an even bigger and more successful Naza, someone else shot back. But it helps the group that was to be helped. You mean if the others had a big factory, the group won't be employed? came the retort. But who will be in the management? the reply to the retort adjoined. Whoever best fits the future success of the enterprise, came the answer. But what if the management are not the group intended to be helped, asked the one again. Would you risk success by poor fit of your human resource to your enterprise, came the reply again. If the fit is someone from the group, then the person is fitted in, no other criteria should be applied. If not, not then, just as one shall not put the other groups in who do not fit in whatever places they can't contribute the most to. If the factory doesn't hum, how to employ more and more, it was added even more. And without best fit, how can you create the real targets the policy-targeting group should be targeting in the first place in this porous world, it was piled in. For that matter, all groups, it was finally mused.

Columbo puzzles about it, and lights another cigar. You know Cuba has announced they have hit paydirt with one of the world's biggest continental shelf oil deposits. So maybe it's a cuban cigar. But wait a second. It's all at least 1 mile beneath sea level.

- So great minds think alike. At precisely the second it dawned on Sherlock Holmes (we know who) that even with the bumiputra incentive for homes, less than the envisaged occupancy end up with them, Columbo too thought the same thought. It's a fair observation, he said to himself with some sadness; he thought maybe they who could afford afforded using the payouts from life insurances of those before them. He heard another voice asks- so what about those big mansions (and we know at least one example) and as counter-examples aplenty, what about those in the new villages, shanty sheds in those offbeat plantations, longhouses in those places without electricity? And so on.

And what about population growth, some nutcase asked. The RM1 sector targets in quantitative terms will also be moving targets so does that mean the policy will go on forever, it was asked innocently.

Be quiet, Columbo replies as he lights a third cigar. He's smokin' three in one now.

- there's this multinational; it helps the Fortune-500s. It is so savvy it runs its own university but the courses you won't find in any ivy-league because the syllabi are really off this planet, harder than diamond, shorne of any fluff, tighter than a spider's a##.

One day there was a lecture on how to use a complicated german-software in a complex manufacturing environment with a hundred processes running at the same time and decisions to be made instantly that impact the bottomline tomorrow. The usuals turned up - senior americans, british, german, french, japanese, aussies, singaporeans. These were people with not only high IQ, they also had to have excellent EQ and PQ (that's short for practical IQ). They were kickassers with the ambition of caesars, the self-image of napoleons, the suffer-no-fools of genghiz khans.

It had been a tight schedule for him, with all that work of unraveling the problems of at least three other big companies in different places, using multi-culture teams across different borders but he had taken the plane with scant baggage and his trusty laptop wired to one of the most acutely powerful databases on this planet - a database with the implementation details of thousands of projects that had stumped even the best corporations in the world, those whose annuals are bigger than the GDPs of some countries. But his colleagues were waiting expectantly for his delivery and they would have brewed coffee and free ice-cream (better than haagen daz it was rumored) after that, so he had to oblige his own international fraternity of firsts amongst equals.

He was a Malay. Homegrown, up on his own, trained by the best in this best of the special forces of this global village.

There are many more of him around; you may need a spreadsheet just to organize their details; key attributes are attitude and altitude. Certainly, add aptitude. So aptitude, attitude and altitude. Three A's. Who says Malaysia tak bolih?

Columbo lights another cigar and quickly starts to chomp on the other three to make space for this one. He knows another question is looming up from the horizon.

- Why not refocus on the original objective of the policy and spread it out to as many Galileos as possible now?

It's not that easy, he assays. One, standards will drop immediately across board. If you have another thirty years to re-implement it, it will still not work because by then you won't have even one enterprise standing in this instant-gratification world. Two, you will take away the very motivating factor needed for progress. People want to work hard, earn more and build their futures. How the policy has been applied seems to have gone askew, astray and abseiling.

Columbo will file his report. Not that it matters. His LAPD colleagues won't be able to understand what the hell he's say. It's not worth the time reading it, probably they will conclude because no crime has been committed.

He says, no, that's not exactly true Mr President (Independence Day, directed by Wolfgang Petersen).

You see, a crime has been committed. It's the crime of dividing the peoples and destroying the foundation of future inclusiveness.

He adds a postscript. People are not interested in galileos or leuwenhoeks. They're not even interested in einstein.

Nowadays, they are only interested in his atomic bomb.

The End

Ridzzy 1 November 2008 at 17:05  

Salam Tuan,

Sorry, been blog hopping to seek inspiration and landed here.

A home run indeed with the latest posting. Hope you dont mind I put you in my blogroll.

Being in the private corporate sector, we know of the many loopholes and manouvers to overcome the laws for equity distribution. Ali baba's, RM2 subsidiaries , tangan kiri-tangan kanan, etc, you name it.

I for one think that policies should be polishes and Implementation reviewed by those with no vested interests

Anonymous,  1 November 2008 at 17:17  

Right you are Sakmongkol, it is the implementation and not the article that is at fault.

It is good if the Malays achieve the objectives.

The real problem is the ways they are implemented have been flawed to the extreme.

One of which is the recent PKNS issue. Look these guys cant even stand the notion of a non Malay holding a post TEMPORARILY as though their entire PKNS would become a Chinese dominated company. With such negatives, is it a wonder that an entire section of the community with better performance will shun such organisation and find their future elsewhere like overseas? Is it a rarity to find good and capable non Malays choose the private sector to the public sector?

Is it a wonder that the manpower shortage is so severe that this alone has major implication to the viability of making Malaysia an advanced country rather than another Philippine or Indonesia.

This is but only one of the hundreds of the shallow minded happenings we see everyday in this country.

Sorry to say, Malaysia is just not going to make it to developed stage and be forever trying to catch up with our neighbours.

Anonymous,  1 November 2008 at 17:47  

no need blueprint all..
it's called education, work....

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