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Sakmongkol ak 47

Friday 20 June 2008

malays and their economy-part 2

Setting the Malay economic mindset.

The problem with the Malays is that they lacked sturdy leaders resolute enough to speak to them bluntly and frankly. The only way economic prosperity can be achieved is first and foremost through hard work and use of the material between our two ears. But generally speaking, the average Malay is like Dato Najib, who prefers the easy life. No hassle, go to London, Singapore and Paris. Other people will slog for you. Have people carry your luggage , polish your shoes and not to be outdone, make sure people arrange for some containers for Datin Rosmah to bring back her shopping. But it is a different story for genuine hardworking Malays. They know they have to work and be smart. Even if Malays are accorded protection under special rights and privileges, they still have to sweat and grease their elbows. They still have to compete among themselves without cutting corners to get ahead. Once people see others can advance by cutting corners or by virtue of having special relationship with political leaders, they pull back their efforts. Why should they do their best if rewards are not commensurate with their efforts?

Instead we have leaders who are weak in the knees mollycoddling to the preference of an easy life without competing. Class F contractors for example literally camped outside all district offices waiting for jobs to be given to them. At the end of the day, you create not a class of competitive Malay contractors but pitiful supplicants.

First, Malays must get out of the ascriptive mentality. Sociologists have long identified the characteristics that differentiate between modern and traditional societies or progressive and backward societies.[1] In traditional societies like the Malay society, social practices are characterised by ascriptive norms, particularism and diffuseness. Thus the average Malay will look at who you are to infer potential. For example, the new AP king Shaharin Zahari( I know the late Zahari personally- ex customs officer who later did law at UITM and Australia) was given the APs to bring in 1200 cars into Malaysia based on him being an exco member of Putera UMNO( read Mat Rempit United), son of late Zahari, and close friend to Khairi Jamaludin. People at the ministry of finance and MITI would instantly infer good credibility in Shaharin because of who he is not what he can do. Has he achieved some outstanding things? Has he got good grades? Has he done some sterling work for the government?

[1] See for example, The Achieving Society- David McClelland.


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