SURELY THE MALAYS CAN TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROBERT KUOK & JHO LOW: ONE IS A TYCOON WHO REFUSED TO ACCEPT AN UNEVEN PLAYING FIELD, THE OTHER IS A THIEF WHO HELPED NAJIB STEAL BILLIONS FROM MALAYSIA

‘Has MTEM chief executive Ahmad Yazid any opinion on Jho Low?’

MTEM takes swipe at Robert Kuok, says tycoons got rich from cronyism

David Dass: Of course, Robert Kuok was an extraordinary businessman. He was extraordinary by any standard. He was better at what he did than most men, whatever their race.

And yes, there was the enabling and supportive government. He had a virtual monopoly of sugar, rice and flour. And yes, few Malays would have had the experience, skill and perhaps the interest at that point in time to undertake such business activity. There is no shame in it. That is history.

And yes, the whole country would have been better off if the government had adopted a more inclusive approach to development and harnessed the talent and skills of all Malaysians, whatever their race, to develop the country.

Unfortunately, after May 1969, the situation was ugly. The Malay leaders saw everything through the prism of race. They saw every position occupied by a non-Malay as a position that should be occupied by a Malay.

And that led to the sidelining of many non-Malays. The doors to the civil service and government agencies were closed to the non-Malays. They were compelled to move to the private sector. Many moved out of the country.

The other minorities like the Indians, Eurasians and Orang Asli were sidelined, too. Even the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak were neglected.

The Malaysian Indian Blueprint developed by the EPU (Economic Planning Unit) captures the Indian situation. It is dire. And disgraceful. It is the direct result of the government not bothering about them for more than 50 years.

Hopefully, things will change now. Hopefully, the government will adopt a more inclusive approach. And reject the rubbish that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang spews and spouts about Muslims not accepting non-Muslim leaders. And reject what the extremists say about making us an Islamic state.

And recognise all Malaysians as equal citizens, which they are, under our Constitution. And let us all together make Malaysia a great nation.

Vijay47: It cannot be denied that some Malaysians achieved great wealth partly through knowing the right people. Despite having doors opened to them, they nevertheless had to put shoulder to wheel and sweat, blood and tears.

But some cronies had silver blessings given to them on golden platters – get the approval, farm it out, sit pretty and harvest the abundant ‘musang kings’. For business successes like the Lim Goh Tongs, the Robert Kuoks, and the Tony Fernandeses, open doors still meant tough roads.

Kuok was, and would have been, a giant even without any boost from the government. Can the same be said about Malay businessmen in general?

Tajuddin Ramli readily comes to mind and especially the infamous buy-back of the MAS shares. If Malays want to touch the skies, which they of course are fully capable of like anyone else can, they should rely more on sheer hard work and sacrifice, and less, much less, on envy and making excuses for failure.

Existential Turd: Sure, Kuok probably had some connections in the government. The government probably accounted for maybe 10% of his success.

Can Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) CEO Ahmad Yazid Othman in good conscience claim any Malay-controlled GLC (government-linked company) has as good an ROI (return on investment)?

Take MAS, Proton, Mara, Felda, Tabung Haji, Low Yat 2, the education system or the recently disgraced Imams; the government probably accounts for more than 100% of their “success”, i.e. input greater than output.

Or take the government itself, branded as the greatest kleptocracy in the world. If Yazid is representative of the calibre of CEO of Malay think-tanks, spreading visibly transparent half-truths, one has little hope for the Malay intelligentsia.

But then again, considering the lies, slander and insults dished out by Malay politicians from both the government and opposition, Yazid is probably the cream of the crop.

Kubang: To be fair, there’re many Malay businessmen and professionals in Malaysia and abroad who have succeeded on their own steam.

The smart ones know better and keep a low profile lest other Malays, imbued with ‘perasaan hasad dengki’ (envy and jealousy), sabotage their efforts and hard work.

Abasir: Has MTEM chief executive Yazid any opinion on Jho Low – the favourite and diligently protected crony of PM Najib Razak?

Will he also say that “good ties with the government is the main factor” why (he) is still not on the ‘Most Wanted List’ of Umno and the MTEM?

Is MTEM even slightly embarrassed by the US attorney-general declaring 1MDB as “kleptocracy at its worst“?

Anonymous #07988903: There are “businessmen” like Jho Low and there are businessmen like Robert Kuok. They are not the same. Prudent and smart businessman build their businesses through hard work, sacrifice and determination.

Some may fail many times before they become successful. It is unavoidable that they also need to build their contacts with government officials and those in the seats of power.

And the difference is that some work with those in power to negotiate for terms and conditions favourable to execute their business plans, but have to take risks with investments of their personal fortunes like Tony Fernandes and Kuok.

Some work without capital investments but procure licences and bloated contracts with politicians to allegedly steal money from the government coffers, like Jho Low and his gang.

Clearwater: Many tycoons in Malaysia got rich by cosying up to the government; it is just good business practice. Nothing wrong in doing what is best for yourself in a crony-friendly environment.

But then, having made some serious money, how many went out of little Malaysia and competed successfully for decades in other countries?

Vgeorgemy: We glad to see the admission of MTEM that only cronies will able to become rich in Malaysia. That was the point Kuok was making.

– M’kini

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