Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad speaks his mind on bumi equity

Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad is the director of PAS Research Centre.   A week has passed and the whole world is still waiting for BN Government to come clean on the statistics and methodology applied in arriving at the highly questionable and disputable bumiputera equity at 18.9%.  Both the prime minister and his deputy have promised to do so after numerous calls were made by DAP, prominent economists and scholars and also a Cabinet minister, Datuk Seri Lim Keng Yaik. 

I may sound sarcastic and cynical but I dare to say that Malaysians will not be able to get anything out of the UMNO-led BN Government simply because they were UNLIKELY to come clean on the disclosure. At best, they would produce some half-baked statistics and outdated methodology and then expect Malaysians not to query any further in the name of racial harmony and what – not.

Anyone out there really expect these top UMNO leaders to tell us the truth and stop resorting to secrecy and threats to rule this country? 

I find some of the points raised by Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad in his article entitled “30% Corporate Equity: Umnoputra Versus Bumiputera?” pertinent and spot-on. He argued that Umno leaders should not be so vehemently opposed to and enraged by the findings. “On the contrary, Umno should rejoice and be jubilant of their success, after 2 decades of NEP (1970-1990) followed by 10 years of the New Vision Policy (1991-2000)”, he said.He agreed with an economist who has said it vigorously that relying on ownership of wealth based on par value is absolutely meaningless, because it doesn’t reflect the current status of the company. “I thought that was saying the obvious. A start-up company with a paid-up capital of RM1.0 million may now be worth RM100 million” he added.

“Since Umno is shrewdly adamant on her failures, the logical question is to ask the Umno leaders why they failed. Do they understand why? If they are still oblivious or unrepentant or cunningly in denial, what makes them think that given another 30 years, they will succeed?”

He challenged that Umno leaders must now openly admit that their failures are due to their own misdoings – ‘sins of omission and commission’ i.e. in the corrupt practices of crony capitalism or rent-seeking activities.

He pointed out that under the rubric of 30% equity target, the political elites working with their business cohorts have had a field day in the boom time. With little thought for welfare implications for the people, literally everything profitable was privatized.

“Not only was it not done through the open-tender system, on numerous occasion concessionaires hardly had track records to entitle them to such huge handouts of the government. “

“Having reaped of the early juice of privatization and later failed, they were benevolently bailed out. The story is dismal to say of the least, scandalous at worst. The list is a very long one.”

PM Abdullah will certainly find Dr Dzul sarcastic. Let’s hear him out…

“Let us cite a few. I’ll go for the big one; notwithstanding others the like of handing out millions of preference shares for bumiputera (reads Umnoputera). Remember the Minister and her son-in-law.”“What was TRI when given the privatisation of MAS? A Telco with hardly any experience managing the airline industry. Under Tajudin’s leadership MAS had an accumulated debt of RM9.4 billion. The government bailed out Tajudin, paying RM 1.79 billion for a 29% stake, at a share price of RM8 per share, almost 50% above market price.”

“Has Halim Saad’s UEM ever built roads before to be awarded the generous terms in the North South Highway concession? When Halim’s Renong Group collapsed, a massive bailout was necessary because the Renong group owed around RM 20-28 billion i.e. accounting for more than 5% of the loans by the Malaysian banking system.”

“This brings us to the crux of the issue. Which Malays are they helping? Politically-well connected Umnoputera or the general Malay-Bumiputera?”

“While all Umnoputera are Malay-Bumiputera (not sure though), not all Malay-Bumiputera are Umnoputera right? Right again. So you have indeed a Positive Discrimination within an Affirmative Action.”

“Thanks to the leaders of Umno! For how much longer could they hoodwink the Malay-Bumiputera? Or Should I say for how much longer would the Malays remain gullible? So in the final analysis, it’s a Positive Discrimination for Umnoputera!”

“Malay-Bumiputera faces a very ’tilted playing field’ within the ethnic Malay/Bumiputera, hence the logical observation that Malays suffer the greatest intra-ethnic disparity.”

“So much for Umno’s championing of Malay rights and supremacy. It is this unwritten policy that is the greatest stumbling block in the creation of genuine enterprising, competitive and ‘towering’ Malays.”

“Little wonder again, why the insistence of the astute economist, Prof Ungku Aziz to side-step the polemic of 30% equity and wanting us to focus on poverty eradication and restructuring society, the last time this polemic raised its ugly head.”

“If examples cited above were in the Tun Mahathir’s reign, are we any better during the current premier’s 3 years in office? Hardly. The controversial merger of the ECM-Libra and Avenue Capital left a lot to be desired by way of transparency and accountability.”

“The AP issue is another. AP when first incepted, was intended to be a mechanism to redistribute wealth amongst the Malays-Bumiputera. But who are greatest beneficiaries? The AP Kingpins.”

“Imagine how the Malay-Bumiputera, nay the entire nation and every deserving citizen would have benefited from the RM 380 billion lost in ‘corruption and crony practices’ as estimated by the Morgan Stanley’s economist for the last 2 decades? A lot!”

“So we have indeed gone one complete cycle, a very vicious one indeed.”

Dr Dzul also warned that “ judging by the spate of events of late, we are heading headlong into the dark alley of racial hatred and antagonism.”

“The greatest benefactors are the racial-based political parties in the Barisan Nasional, viz Umno et al. The greatest losers are the citizenry, the rakyat. To finger-point anyone or insinuating that it is the game-plan of some spin-doctors may be both unnecessary and presuming.”

“However, if this continues unabated especially under a very weak leadership, we are in for a rude awakening, perhaps a national disaster.”

I could not agree more with those criticisms and observations coming from the open-minded and straight-forward research director. How about you, my fellow Malaysians? 


15 Responses to “Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad speaks his mind on bumi equity”

  1. sampalee Says:

    Write and speak what is in your heart.God have bestowed to you, the gift of articulation to assist fellow malaysians in waking up.Inshaallah.

  2. ronnieliutiankhiew Says:

    I was requested to post this article written by Dr Syed Alwi of Singapore as a comment…
    THE MALAYSIAN MALAY by Dr Syed Alwi of Singapore.

    Dear Editor,

    As you know, I am an avid watcher of Malaysian affairs. I must confess
    that lately, Malaysia appears to be failing. Not a day passes by without
    more events that clearly highlight Malaysia’s race-religion fault-line.
    If things keep going this way, I fear for Malaysia’s future.

    Today, schools in Singapore celebrate Racial Harmony Day. I can visibly
    see the joy in the children’s faces as they wear their ethnic costumes
    and have fun together at school. But in Malaysia – even the right to
    choose a religion has become a sensitive, national issue. No doubt,
    there are many in Malaysia who hate my liberal views on Islam, family
    included. But I will say what I must say openly. I have come to the
    conclusion that Malaysia cannot progress any further without first
    addressing fundamental questions regarding its identity and soul.

    I remember the days when we can laugh at Lat’s cartoons on everyday
    Malaysian life. But sadly, the Islamic tide has polarised Malaysians.
    Some people ask why I should bother about Malaysian affairs since I am a
    Singaporean. May I remind Malaysians that it was Tan Siew Sin who once
    said that Singapore and Malaysia are Siamese Twins. Should Malaysia go
    down – it would hurt the region tremendously. Especially Singapore.

    Where do you think Malay apostates would head for if Lina Joy loses her
    case? Singapore of course! I find the Malaysian Malay to be very
    under-exposed. For them, it’s all Islam and the NEP and everything under
    the sun would sort itself out. I am sorry to say this – but Islam and
    the NEP may be the cause of the undoing of the Malaysian Malay.

    There is nothing wrong with religion or affirmative action. But, like
    everything else in life, they must be taken in moderation and with a
    pinch of salt. A little doubt is good. Unfortunately in Malaysia,
    emotions over Islam have overcome reason. What we see today is the
    result of the NEP and Islamisation policies of the past thirty years or

    No one owes Malaysian Malays a living. Let me assure you that should
    Malaysia fail – the Malaysian Malay will suffer enormously. And rightly
    so. After all – they have been pampered with all sorts of goodies over
    the years. They cannot now expect more goodies. Perhaps the day of
    reckoning for them, is near. Whatever it is, Malaysia had better wake up
    to the realities around her. The globalised world of the 21st century
    has no NEP to offer the Malaysian Malay. And humans cannot live by
    religion alone.

    Dr Syed Alwi

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