In a previous posting here, we wrote about a quote from Prime Minister Dato Najib's speech at last month's Invest Malaysia conference. The quote below:
"In the medium term, we must make our affirmative action programmes more market-friendly and meritocratic."We are reminded of this quote and posting because it is conflicting. Affirmative action can never be market-friendly and meritocratic because in the context of Malaysia, it has a certain nation-building objective to do social engineering to narrow some ethnic-based gaps.
Affirmative action (or known as positive discrimination in the United Kingdom) refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an under-represented group "in areas of employment, education, and business".
We know in our days back in the US, blacks from the hood were given many form of assistance to get them college degrees. It is not just financial but goes to the point of creating courses to enable them to catch-up with the rest. Some courses meant for them seemed like Form 4 or 5 materials to us.
So there is nothing sinful about affirmative actions. But it made us ponder what does market friendly and meritocratic affirmative action means.
Perhaps, affirmative action should not be ethnic based but since it is about some social transformation, it has to be based on some form of social entity or groupings. In one conversation we had in a chance encounter last year with Prof Tan Sri Kamal Salih, he said we could also look at income structure.
Last night, we met a friend, a Phd holder and practitioner in human resource and he told us of a foundation established meant to giveaway scholarship for Bumiputera paid the CEO a salary of RM25,000 a month. Since we are not so sure, we will withheld the full story until we get more information.
He was sharing with us that piece of sensational information in response to our information about a so-called Council for Bumiputera economic action. We were curious of this group that had a long list of affiliate NGOs. These NGOs are the sort that have lots of demand on government to safeguard their economic interest.
We found the group was headed by a suspicious looking mamak character. Despite the nature of it's associates, they were strangely spewing the PEMANDU mantras on their website. Then we saw lots of posting and call on Petronas. It reminded us of a character that was highly critical of Petronas but was talking more of self-interest.
It begs the question: Could such large salary by an organisation meant for affirmative action be what is meant as market friendly and meritocratic affirmative action?
By the way, the Council we talked about was something that came out from EPU sometime back. With the change of guard at EPU from Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop to Dato Abdul Wahid Omar, something interesting happened few days back.
Wahid was answering the first few questions at Parliament. Interestingly, he did it without having to refer to any text. It was off-the-cuff and no "soalan bocor" as done by Tan Sri Amir Sham Aziz, the predecessor to Wahid at Maybank and EPU, on his first attempt to answer question in Parliament.
No bad for our fellow MRSMer over our former boss. But, we will have to limit that accolade there.
Since taking over Nor Yakcop's position, Wahid have been going around to hear the various taklimat from and giving his directions to the organsations and agencies under EPU.
In his meetings at TERAJU and Equinas, former Nor Yakcop-picked GLC CEO Wahid brought along his Special Officer and it became a discomforting experience for those that attended. He could be a Kadazan or other Chinese looking ethnics from East Malaysia but our friend swear that he was Chinese.
Not trying to be racial or racist, because NEP and MRSM had the support, input and effort of Chinese civil servants when it was formulated and implemented. Why was Wahid so insensitive to not allow the Malay officials and members of the Directors/Trustee of TERAJU and Equinas the space to express themselves?
He could have asked the chap to stay outside or bring other Bumiputera instead. Then he can hear more frank discussion and himself be more frank on information and data. Lately, there are too many alarming data besieging the Bumiputeras. If Malay is in trouble, what more the marginalised other ethnics in East Malaysia.
It seems Wahid had been saying the same thing he said in his briefing of EPU bosses. Policies must be need-based. It could mean the end of any form of affirmative action. It could also be the start of a new concept of need-based affirmative action.
Hope his training at BTN's boot camp had not thinned his empathy for all the orang asal of Malaysia. It is because things have really changed in that department in Maybank since we left decades ago.
Since policies are no more affirmative based, even analysis of politics is no more looking at the Malay and Bumiputera side of the story.
Two weeks ago, there was a Cabinet Workshop conducted PEMANDU. For Day 1, 26 Ministers and Chief Secretary attended. While, Day 2 was for the 21 Deputy Ministers, Auditor General, the Attorney General, KPPA, KSP, KP ICU, KP MAMPU, 21 KSUs and more abbreviations than PEMANDU can create policy acronyms.
Surprise surprise ... the man, who always goes around saying he is non-partisan and apolitical, was giving an analysis of the 13th General Election. Yes ... it was Chief Powerpoint Officer of PEMANDU, Dato Idris Jala. No more Butcher from Shell but we know he has lots of butchering to do.
He presented comparative analysis of GE 13 vis-a-vis GE12, issues and concern of the "rakyat" prior to GE13, and came down to a hypothesis by testing voting trend of urban, new and Chinese voters. There was also presented possible GE14 scenarios.
It seems War Room member, Omar Ong had PEMANDU called in external panelists to give their views. Names were:
- Tan Sri Datuk Rafiah Salim, former Dean of UM's Law faculty, former Maybank Human Resource Head, a do with United Nations and now with a women NGO.
- Tan Sri Ambrin bin Buang,
- Tan Sri Tony Fernandes,
- Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, Selangor Pewter taukeh
- Dr Chandra Muzaffar,
- En Afzal Abdul Rahim, CEO of Timedotcom and reformasi supporter
- En Wan Saiful Wan Jan, AMANAH, IDEAS and PAS member
- Mr Stephen Hagger, British and KL-based foreign stockbroker
Were they really expressing the views of the public or the agenda of themselves or their race or organisation? If it is the public's view, good for BN. Otherwise, disaster to come.
It does not feel like the views of the majority but that of minority, non voting monority. Their attributed factor to BN's dismal performance seemed consistent with their agenda and concern on:
- Polarisation of the nation
- Education system that differs from the rakyat’s expectations
- Rising incidences of crime and corruption
- Distrust with key institutions
- Inconsistent communication from the government
Interestingly, the takeaway for cabinet members to take home to digest were:
- Government must embark on more effective communication and avoid inconsistencies in messaging
- Government must strengthen its fiscal position and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) must be implemented
- Government must do more to meet the expectation of the rakyat in terms of education, crime and corruption
- Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) need to continue
- Embark on Public Service Delivery Transformation
Perhaps, there is always BR1M to shut their mouth. That is their only additional income while CEOs or GLCs and EPU-linked agencies and organisation are earning millions if not in the tens of thousands in the new economic model of high income GLC CEOs.
According to Idris and Omar Ong in a meeting as told by our sources, PM was apparently happy with the cabinet workshop and there was a note for cabinet. Hope PM is only bullshiting.
PEMANDU will not only control the economy via the ETP, EPP, GTP, NKEA, and all other acronyms, they will be tasked with Social Transformation, Political Tansformation, Public Service Delivery Transformation and many other projects.
PEMANDU to do social transformation? Hopefully, their's is more effective than NEP's attempt to do social transformation. Currently, the grassroot supporters of BN do not know that we are regressing from the achievement of NEP.
Looks like PEMANDU will basically control Government and civil service from top to bottom. The best part is there will be hundreds of millions to be spent for their friendly consultants. Thanks to the takeaway, the job for the Public Service Delivery Transformation is their's.
Idris Jala was so excited that he told his management team at PEMANDU that he intend to privatise PEMANDU and provide services to Government within the next 5 years. That is better than being owned currently by Government.
The argument is it is politically neutral and he is worried in the event of a change of Government. That must be the analysis he gave Cabinet then.
Looks like it is no more about Malays. It is also about themselves at PEMANDU.
If there is nothing about Malays, there is nothing too for the still marginalised Pribumis of Sabah and Sarawak. With more budget for vote deposit Sabah and Sarawak, they may have a better chance.
But, let's not just blame the Government.
The Malays blew it when they got the chance to better themselves. Now that the Semenanjung Malays are split and lost their political dominance, do not hope for the return of NEP or affirmative action.
Furthermore, the latter generation Bumiputeras in Semenanjung thinks they can do it on their own without any assistance, so they are comfortable to do away with UMNO and BN and "try" the more liberal PKR, the Chinese interest DAP and Islamist PAS.
Hopefully they could achieve where recipients of NEP failed to do.Can the three come up with something better to entice the Malays?