Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, at the address below.

Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 24 August 2010

When is a right, a right?

The two principles of the NEP were:-

  1. The eradication of poverty irrespective of race

  2. The restructuring of society by readjusting the wealth distribution machinery.
The overriding objective of the whole NEP was national unity.
I remember reading circa 1974, Time or Newsweek quoted Tun Razak as saying the special purpose of the NEP was to provide Malays the fishing rod so that they can fish every day. It was supposed to replace the customary practice of giving fish directly to the recipient.
That means, right from the very beginning, the essence of the NEP was to eschew the notion that the Malay man is a passive, mechanical recipient of life's bounty. He acquires a tool to be productive and master his environment and in so doing, redeems himself. Its never the intention of the NEP when it started in 1970, to countenance the idea of an absolute right over material comforts and so forth. It has always been a qualified right in the sense of that right having to be earned and fought for by exerting efforts, using the material in between the ears and action or working.
You acquire a right by qualifying for it- fighting for it, earning for it through conscious efforts. You don't acquire a right because its guaranteed in the form of writing on some parchment somewhere.
These principles were forgotten and instead there was tremendous obsession of securing and achieving the so called 30% target. This became the sole criteria by which to judge the success of the NEP. It also became the only measure by which the extent and effectiveness of the NEP is to be judged. If we don't get 30% in every economic endeavor, we haven't succeeded in establishing our Malayness. It was also a self imposed limitation that could suggest that Malay ownership is to be limited to 30%. What if one day, the Malay population is 70%. Would a 30% ownership by 70% of the population be a tenable proposition? What if Malay resourcefulness far exceed this limitation- are we then to impose a limit on Malay calls?
30% target becomes the be all and end all of the NEP. Its success is to be measured only on this qualification. That, says many proponents is guaranteed by the constitution and the reasoning is, that which is guaranteed is a right.
Here is the basic flaw. We have thus acquired a right by virtue of something written on a piece of paper. It acts in rem or against the whole world. But in reality, such a right acquires a quasi permanent status; it remains in force as long as the constitution is enforced. The constitution can, in theory be changed as when the required number of voting rights are secured by the party wanting changes on the constitution succeeds in doing so. Since these rights remain potentially changeable, the rights are not ever permanent.
Hence, that which we know and call rights, because they are protected by provisions in a parchment, are not eternal in the sense that in theory they can be changed.
How do we get a right then? When we have absolute ownership is the answer. We have title over a piece of land because our ownership is enforceable against the whole world. We have absolute right. How did we get the title over the land in the first place? We acquire a right to do whatever we pleased over the physical land. We may have bought it or was given by the government. Even if we are given, we gave consideration in the form something in return to acquire ownership. We paid the premium, we may have paid the survey fees, processing etc. we complete the acquisition of the land, when we apply it productively.
This is the basic quality of owning a right- we gave something to acquire absolute ownership.
Which brings us to something very vexing- the subject of Malay rights. In particular, in my area of specialization, the Malay economic right.
What are the Malay economic rights then? We have certain things guaranteed by the constitution. Conferment of priorities over others in getting employment for example, of being appointed to certain offices, of being given licenses, or permission to do certain economic activities.
Can these be termed as rights? In the preceding paragraphs, the centerpiece of our argument is that a right acquires a quality of permanence if its fought for and earned. That you have absolute ownership over that which you have fought and earned.
What many of us have been taught to believe to a large extent, is that a right is something we are naturally entitled to, without us making exertions-mental and physical to acquire it. This has been taught to us for generations which is simply wrong when read into the original purpose of the NEP.
It was never the purpose of the NEP that we are entitled to something on the basis of who we are- such as, for example because we are Malay. We are entitled to something after having qualified for it through efforts- mental and physical exertions. Using a rod to fish as opposed to being given a fish because of who we are. In other words our entitlement is always predicated on the basis of what we contribute to get it.
In my opinion, this should be the mindset of a self respecting Malay- i.e. moving away from our fixation of an idea that we acquire a right as a matter of natural consequence to a belief that a right is acquired if its earned and fought for.


hishamh 24 August 2010 at 08:30  

Dato' Sak,

Right to the heart of the matter, as always! I absolutely agree with this post - the culture of entitlement has become a millstone around our necks. What's worse, so very few realise its there.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 09:42  

Basically, the country MUST define what is "special position" as mentioned in the constition.

My take is that it has been especially misused/ misinterpreted to mean "everything" or practically "everything"

No one is opposed to Malays getting that extra, but not to the extend of telling others they have no rights , just because you have "special" rights.

Ibrahim Alis would love to mean Malaysia is his alone. Well according to him, he is a Malay and he has special rights.

This wrong interpretation has been going on for years until these guys misinterpreted the constition until the stage no one can even vocally discuss it ... what does it mean?

By now, Malaysia must be known as a country with nothing better to do everyday than lodging police reports.

This is the way , they run the country, then "tentu sudah habis lah and bankrupt - biasa sahaja"

msleepyhead,  24 August 2010 at 09:44  


For your reference.

Daya Saing Pelajar Melayu/Bumiputera: Beberapa Perspektif Holistik

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 10:28  

The point is EXACTLY - the goal of the NEP is not the AMOUNT of wealth the Malays have i.e. the 30% equity but rather the means to the wealth. From the start it was recognized that the qoutas and numbers are ARBITRARILY and may NOT mean what its suppose to mean.

If you talk about achieving the real goal of NEP, it failed long time ago and WILL NEVER WORK.

The problem is after wasting so much, any other means to achieve the goals is so much harder. BUT WORST, if the means is not changed NOW, it will NEVER HAPPEN, NOT EVEN COME CLOSE. At least if changed is done now, there is a good chance it can come close even if it never succeed fully ultimately.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 10:53  

that's your opinion.....what about - this land was ours and is not to be shared.....others were allowed to come in not by us but the brits....we must take back what the brits gave away....


Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 11:07  

Don't be naive. The 30% or any target will not be achieved as long as UMNO rule. How else to get freebies and kickbacks to fatten their pocket?
Why is it then when there is talk of wealth redistribution it always end up in their pockets?
Ananda K and Vince Tan is also their creation so that the indians and chineses can be blamed and deflect questioning of their palaces and oversea properties.

Ariff Sabri 24 August 2010 at 11:20  

anon 11:07

yours is typically one that does not expand the debate. i would like to open this up for discussion and you come by offering this smart-alec non involvement kind of remarks. i am sure you entered others blogs with similar comments. you are free to go elsewhere where your vindictiveness is more at home. thank you kindly

tupingera 24 August 2010 at 12:59  

The intentions of NEP are noble but the implementation is suspect. The NEP has been hijacked by the low-culture Malays for their selfish interests.

Initially, it synergized with the politics of patronage prevailing then and later morphed into money politics which is the bane of UMNO. Mahathir exploited the NEP as a means for him to hold on to power i.e. to pay-off the low-culture Malays to support him.

A classic example of the abuse of the NEP is the correct, correct, correct case. An Indian lawyer working for a Chinese tycoon,who is a crony of Mahathir, determined which low-culture Malays would get the top judicial posts. The rakyat only knew that Malays are appointed to the posts, unaware of the machination of the appointments. These appointed low-culture Malays are, of course, beholden to Mahathir and indirectly to the Chinese tycoon.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 13:03  


Fully agreed on how you define a right in the context of Malay rights.

In fact, Article 153 of the Federal Constitution only guarantee the 'special position' of the Malays and the bumiputras of Sabah and Sawarak in civil service, license and scholarships.

Does the above translate into Malays rights that is untouchable ?

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 13:18  

My friend,a big tycoon once said>>"If all thing being equal,I will favor a friend."I told him thats not much help.Instead the benchmark should be on "tangible" hurdles eg> If your price is within budget,you will have the preference.

The concept is not was practised for ages n ages & now relabelled by Mgmt Gurus as maxing out supply chain integrated relationships (MOSCIR).Its about growing the tree by nurturing the roots & limbs rather then letting it be left to environmental complexities.

Thats what NEP is supposed to be.But the canopy got in the way of the roots & starved it out of life.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 13:24  

Why are we too obsessed with "racial" issues nowadays?Is it a 1Msia induced effect?

Every1 seems to be overly sensitive and a remark/action by one solitary "nutcase" is taken as a global slur;setting the stage for demands for PM to take action.

PM is not the racial police and one swallow does not make it an autumn.

Every1 is playing a very2 dangeous game.Please note that our children & grand children have access to the news (mainstream & online)..and this culture will affect their thinking.

Lets be less sensitive and analyse before going on a rampage.We have lived together for many years..lets not use 1Msia to disrupt the symbiosis.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 14:02  

I will attempt to comment with my untrained words..and straight to the point w/o the laments.
"Using a rod to fish as opposed to being given a fish because of who we are. In other words our entitlement is always predicated on the basis of what we contribute to get it."
Agreed. To simplify my agreement further..rights to opportunity as deemed reasonable by the Agong...and to the right candidates to each own ability
I dont buy the understanding...provide everyone the rod, train him to fish, failing which...give him the fish.
The undeserved fish is akin to equities or ikan dalam sangkar. If one is not trained (thus underserving..not matched to ability), ikan dalam sangkar akan lenyap juga.
One is about the opportunity and the other the results of the succeessful realisation of the given opportunity.

"since these rights remain potentially changeable, the rights are not ever permanent."
My believe it's time bound..for the underprivileged folks then..not now and forever.
Does not believing otherwise goes against the Consitution in it's entirety in both letters and spirit?

In my simple mind...(and as a parent...I do not wish to menyusu my children and their children their whole lives.)
Each eligible documented now is given a one time pass to a Federal 'opportunities' as mentioned in Article 153 of the Constitution.
Once used for an opportunity of their choice (and matched to skill), it expires and the country has discharged it's responsibility to the person in accordance to Article 153 of the Consitution.

After which it should be on a need basis for ALL.

Richard Cranium 24 August 2010 at 14:09  

jay @ 10:53

You should read your history again. This time not just to pass the exams.

The Brits didn't give anything away. If you must, it was Umno who gave it away for the purpose of getting independence.

Quid Pro Quo The Malays needed the others as much as the other races needed to Malays to get independence.

Unless you now offer to "buy out" the others for their rights enshrined in the agreement. How much would you pay for its rights to citizenship, mother tongue education, etc?

If you want to take it all back, yes, I suppose that's doable through violent means. That means that Malaysia ceases to exist as a nation as the constitution no longer holds the country together.

Everybody loses. Faham?

Quiet Despair,  24 August 2010 at 16:53  

Hi Richard Cranium

Please watch History Channel on the Emergency in Malaya and also the Al-Maunah story.
You can gain the right perspective on the Chinese role in the emergency and also on Chin Peng.
The al-Maunah story is one which made you feel for the police and army who did selfless service to the nation.
See how well they tackle the terror group.
Compare it to the bus hijack in Manila yesterday which left 8 Hong-Kong tourists dead.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 17:06  

The NEP has made the Malays a shameless people!!

They dare demand for privileges and rights without having to shed a sweat.
They dare demand a discount for a RM 2 million house.
They want to be rich without having to slog for it.

NEP is a gime, gime, gime policy.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 17:53  


I concur with your points. But how do you get your points across to people like Ibrahim Ali (Perkasa) and the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) who till today do not want to learn how to fish and demand the fishes be brought to their doorsteps?

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 20:45  

Its an excellant article.The next step would be how to put into practice the the rod and reel anology and changing mindsets and mentality alike..
The chinese start em young at home and at school.Thats why the young chinese know how to lead a independent lifestyle.They know what they want in life.
Can we do likewise? Can we use the rod and reel analogy and teach our young ones the right way foward?
After all as human everything has to be learnt.So why not learning how to fish and to be independent?
Only then it would be fair to those who have been pointed out only waiting for the fish to served on a platter.
I think most are willing to learn and progress.Maybe the education wing of UMNO and the ministry of education can come up with a sustainable plan for our young ones.
Selamat berpuasa.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 22:03  

Tuan Pemblog,

Sejak pra merdeka, prasarana fizikal antara bandar dan desa adalah sudah tersedia tidak sama. Maka apabila kampung-kampung menikmati kemerdekaan, ketika itu, ia terlalu mundur kalau dibandingkan dengan bandar-bandar.

Ini bermakna, untuk memajukan diri dalam aspek kehidupan (pendidikan, sosial, kerjaya dan ekonomi), warga bandar adalah dengan itu memiliki kemudahan yang jauh lebih baik berbanding warga di kampung-kampung.

Dalam kata lain, dari segi persaingan antara bandar dan kampung, kalau diperhati menerusi kaca mata metafor, padang permainan di bandar adalah jauh lebih rata berbanding padang yang ada di kampung-kampung. Ini bermakna peluang untuk seseorang itu akan berjaya adalah lebih besar kalau dia menetap di bandar.

Justeru, dalam tempoh yang singkat (kurang lebih 50 tahun selepas merdeka), tidak mungkin warga kampung yang bermain atas padang yang berlekuk-lekuk, berlumpur dan becak dapat menyaingi tahap permainan anak bandar yang mempunyai padang permainan yang jauh lebih lebat rumputnya, lebih kering dan amat rata.


Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 22:16  

If only there were more people(malays) like you, sir, with your mindset. Yet I believe there are, in our young educated youth. If only they were to rise up, to speak their mind. But they are trapped in the daily grind of finding 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads. Malaysia where are you going?

Warga Malaysia 24 August 2010 at 23:04  

"The constitution can, in theory be changed as when the required number of voting rights are secured by the party wanting changes on the constitution succeeds in doing so. Since these RIGHTS remain potentially changeable, the RIGHTS are not ever permanent."

The above implies that rights have been conferred in the Constitution. You should have mentioned PRIVILAGE not RIGHTS.

Constitution only mention PRIVILAGE not RIGHT so well the gist of it can fully be accepted, this difference should have been made clear otherwise we will keep getting demands for Malays RIGHTS.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 23:41  

Richrad cranium says,

"How much would you pay for its rights to citizenship, mother tongue education, etc?"

My comments:

If there is any countries willing to offer citizenship free of charge and at the same time provide mother tongue education, for sure many of us would have left this country for good.

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 23:47  

Anon 9:42 says,

"My take is that it has been especially misused/ misinterpreted to mean "everything" or practically "everything"

My comments:

Is it true? If it is so, can you show us some examples, will you?

Anonymous,  24 August 2010 at 23:49  

I agree with what you said but there is nothing new with your view points. PR people have been saying that all along. The question is: as an UMNO person, how are you going to relay these messages in UMNO? If you can't, then maybe we should move on to the discussion on how do we stop UMNO from hurting the country and its people more, outside of UMNO.

Chinaman,  24 August 2010 at 23:59  

Dear Dato,

All this argument is moot la, you analyse left and right what's the point. Its human nature to judge and therefore discriminate. You go to US they discriminate against blacks, go to UK against Pakis, go to Singapore against Malays go to China, they discriminate against everyone.

Only people who see themselves as less equal seeks equality. I was born in 1970, like most Malaysians I know of nothing but NEP. Like the good headmaster said if you don't like it just ship out lor. The realists amongst us accepts the circumstances of our birth and station in life and find a way to survive and if god willing thrive. To expect anything else will be wishful thinking.

In all relationships there is an inherent understand of one's value proposition. We have survived 40 years on this tacit understanding between the races. The Ibrahim Alis of this world do not understand that in the long run Malaysia loses if we persist down this route. And like chinese are always reminded 69% of the country comprises Malays, so you fella stand to lose the most.

We must stop this Malay v Chinese nonsense and move forward as a nation. We won't go wrong if we do the right thing for Malaysia.


Anonymous,  25 August 2010 at 00:11  

This country is getting more and more scary.

Everyday you notice only parties from one party are starting issues.

Even today you read about Mamak tell the Malays to unite or lose power! He thinks Malays today are Malays during his time that gave him power kah.

Doesn't he knows that if Pakatan comes into power, it is the Malays that will gain even more Parliament seats.

It is now Malays versus Malays. It is a matter which group of Malays will in power. There is and never will be about non Malays ocming to power on top of the Malays.

TDM must be senile to think that Pakatan Malays are stupid and his corrupted everywhere wasting money Malays are be best for the country.

The fall of Malays STARTED IMMEDIATELY AFTER he took over. How do we know? Just follow the fall of the ringgit after the split of Singapore from Malaysia you should know.

This guy prefer to have a country having a living standard of Indonesia.

Well I think he is going to have his wish the way things are going which I am not sure he will live long enough to see it .. pity.

Btw, Zimbabwe's president is his best friend and TDM must have gave him a tip how to drive out the whites, grab the land and pressto have rich Zimbabweans.... needing a trillion Zimbabwe dollar to buy a loaf of bread.

TDM even donated million dollar of Timber for Mugabe to build his palace while his countrymen starved.

Great advisor.

Now this guy wants to advise we Malaysian how to split up into racial groups and quarrel.

If his speech got logic is one thing, it is all rubbish fit for 3 years old.

Anonymous,  25 August 2010 at 01:20  


My view is simple. Right is always right. You don't have to fight it, because in the end, what's right is always right.

The problem arises when a right is taken as a wrong. Like the independence, it was not right to have an easy Independence,it sounds a wrong when you think it was a right. Giving away citizenship to million immigrants just for independence to sugar lip the British when they won war against PKM, was not right, but many said it was a right move.

So, let us open up our mind a little and see it in a greater perspective. Then, you may know what you say it was right may become a wrong later.

Think, and use our brain a little bro.

flyer168 25 August 2010 at 01:39  


"When is a right, a right?"

"Using a rod to fish as opposed to being given a fish because of who we are..." Unquote.

UMNO, in "Championing its Malay population should have "TAUGHT" its members & the Malay Population How to "Make their own Fishing Rod & how to Fish" so as to be "Self Reliant" and be at "Par" with the Chinese, Indians, etc within the "Given Time-Frame" as "Intended" in the Constitution.

Sadly after 53 years since Independence "UMNO & its Political Leaders have "Failed" to "Honour its Pledge" for the Malays, the other Races & the nation...

Inspite of the other Races having "Graciously conceded" to continue to extend "That so called Priviledge" well BEYOND the Time-frame!

To now use its "Provocating Tactics of "Ketuanan, Kedaulatan & its Religious" Jaguh Kampung Charades in 2010...

Is definitely "Stoking the Fire" towards "Chaos" which every citizen knows by now, just what the "Political Agenda/Trap" is...

Another Police State of Bankrupt Gutter Politics & The Law of the Jungle!

Harapkan Pagar...Pagar Makan Padi!

Pemimpin Melayu UMNO tak tau MALU ke...

Sudah "Menyamun hak Negara & Rayaat" selama 53 tahun, MASIH lagi nak "Ngendeng Hak Orang Lain"

They are an "Insult" to Islam, the other Malays, Chinese, Indians, etc & the Nation...Pariah Beggars!

When in the first place, they should have been the "Role Model" of Honour, Distinction & Integrity!

As you had written about the Malay Bumi Elites, the Super Bumis, etc, etc, etc...with their never ending plundering to Bankrtupt the Nation at our expense!

Just to share this...

Summary of Constitutional Rights, Powers and Duties -

"Discussions of rights are sometimes confused concerning what are and are not rights of the people or powers of government or the duties of each. This is an attempt to summarize the rights, powers, and duties recognized or established in the U.S.

Constitution, in Common Law as it existed at the time the U.S. Constitution was adopted, or as implied therein. Not included are certain "internal" rights and powers that pertain to the various elements of government within each level with respect to each other...

You be the judge.


HAKIMAN,  26 August 2010 at 01:39  

Quiet Despair said..." Hi Richard Cranium, Please watch History Channel on the Emergency in Malaya and also the Al-Maunah story. You can gain the right perspective on the Chinese role in the emergency and also on Chin Peng."

Quiet Despair,

Don't try to have a selected view of Malaysian history and the role of the NON Malays especially the Chinese and Chin Peng.

UMNO and UMNO lovers like you tried to re write history and made our children learn garbage Malaysian history that it was UMNO's sole effort to win independence of Malaya from the British, while there are Chinese and Malays like Abdullah CD and Indians in the jungle who willingly shed their blood and gave their lives for the independence of Malaya. If you don't know who they are, click here:

So, don't try to dish out UMNO's revisionist history of Malaya and the role of Malayans of all races at that time fighting with their blood for merdeka. Malaysians of today are not fools or be fooled by UMNO lovers like you.

Read below BBC's article published on 30 August 2007,

".... In the years before independence, there was a fierce debate about whether non-Malay immigrants should be give Malayan citizenship.

In the end they were, in return for constitutional guarantees to ensure the Malays were never marginalised in "their own country".

It seems that some are in danger of forgetting the whole lesson of Merdeka.

They could be forgiven for having done so, because from the way the story of Malaysia's independence is told by some within the dominant United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), you might think the Malay community secured independence on its own; driving the perfidious British into the sea.

It is NOT true.

Indeed the one surviving key player from the independence struggle is not Malay at all. He is Malaysian Chinese, and he is not welcome in the land of his birth.

Chin Peng, leader of the Communist Party of Malaya, did as much as anyone to bring about Malaya's independence.

With 5-10,000 armed guerrillas he tied down tens of thousands of Commonwealth troops in a ruinously expensive war.

"If there hadn't been a boom in rubber and tin prices in the 1950s, the British wouldn't have been able to afford to fight him," said Khoo Kay Kim, emeritus Professor of History at University Malaya.

What the communists did was to focus British minds on a political settlement.

Up stepped the leaders of the Alliance, which consisted of three parties - UMNO, the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) and the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) - between them representing the Malay peninsula's three main races.

Early on, the British saw a unifying force with which they could do business.

The Alliance's broad appeal meant it all but swept the board in pre-independence elections in 1955. The appeal of the Communists rapidly evaporated thereafter.

"One of the things that we were concerned about was to continue in the same spirit and to perpetuate this multi-communal understanding and harmony that had come out in 1955," remembered Uma Sambanthan, widow of the then MIC leader VT Sambanthan.

Professor Khoo agreed. "Before he died, Sambanthan told me that all three parties were absolutely determined to show the British that they could work together in order to ensure they granted independence."

And the Alliance in one form or another has governed Malaysia ever since.

Then, as now, the Merdeka lesson is the same.

When Malaysians come together and act as one people success is theirs for the taking. When they are divided failure beckons.

If modern Malaysia's leaders remind themselves that unity does not come through threat, discrimination and coercion but through equality and mutual respect they may yet lay the foundations for a glorious 100th birthday. ...."

Anonymous,  26 August 2010 at 01:45  

What is right for A may not be right for B and vice versa.

In that situation who got the right to decide about who is more right between A and B?

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP