Do the Malays realise that Bumiputeraism is bad for them?

Despite the failure of the New Economic Policy (NEP) from achieving its objectives, none of the political elite, including some opposition Malay politicians, have sought to abolish it.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob says the Bumiputera agenda will be continued under the 12th Malaysia Plan, so that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the special position of the Bumiputeras, will be upheld.

If political leaders and the Malay community need to know why Bumiputeraism is bad for them, here are 10 reasons:

1. The simple fact of being Bumiputera has robbed many Malays of the privilege of working hard.

All of us would like an easy life, but avoiding many of life’s challenges has given rise to Malays who revel in a culture of entitlement and who fail to see the joy of giving. All facets of their lives are affected, from easy access to schools, hospitals and universities, to jobs and business opportunities.

2. Being Bumiputera means some are not ashamed to bully others, treating others as inferior; taking what is not theirs, banning others from certain areas, and depriving some well-deserved and hard-working citizens of places in educational institutions. Such actions are a setback to inter-racial harmony.

3. Some Bumiputeras want things immediately, they demand instant gratification because they are used to having their own way, all the time. This culture has been fostered because politicians use it, like an opiate for the Malay masses.

4. The Orang Asli, despite being the original people of the land, do not seem to have the term ‘Bumiputera’ equally applied to them, or to the people of Sarawak and Sabah. Some Orang Asli are mistreated and left without basic amenities like running water and electricity. Their lands are trespassed upon and their sources of income and livelihood destroyed. Many are forced to endure a lack of opportunities.

5. By virtue of being Bumiputeras, many Malays grow up with an inferiority complex. They receive the most funding for their businesses and the most housing allocations. A non-Malay, who reaps the benefits of his business or educational attainments, will naturally feel proud. Not so for some Bumiputeras. They receive snide looks because others believe their academic success was due to a lowering of the pass mark, and their success in business was because of their political connections.

6. Being a Bumiputera means one does not have to clean up his own mess. The allegations of corruption among ministers, their aides, the civil servants and cronies are easily covered up. We have endured several financial scandals, but few have been satisfactorily resolved as the guilty still roam free. As a result, the nation suffers.

7. Bumiputera cronies feel they do not need to work for what they want. They skim off the money from over-inflated purchases of goods or contracts. The politicians enact policies which enable them to grab and spend the taxpayer’s money. What happened to Bumiputera accountability?

8. Wealthy Bumiputeras are the envy of others with their big homes, luxurious lifestyle and a host of companions. They have been spoiled by the culture of entitlement, and the only way they can get their hands on these ostentatious things is by force or by government policy. They fail to realise that they are not entitled to things that they have not earned.

9. The term ‘Bumiputera’ has robbed some Malays of their self-respect. They have low self-esteem and reduced levels of confidence. They crave respect but do not know how to earn it. Any Bumiputera who lives overseas, and is given the right instruction and tools to survive, will most probably thrive, his self-confidence restored and his reputation intact.

10. There are many types of Bumiputeras. Some Umno Bumiputeras are above the law. Pseudo Bumiputeras are more Malay than Malay, and some are treated even better. Women Bumiputeras are always bullied. Orang Asli Bumiputeras are largely ignored with few of them enjoying the Bumiputera benefits. All of these breed ill will, resentment and contempt.

Bumiputeraism is like a poisoned chalice. The only way to cure its damaging effects is to admit that there is a problem and to do something about it.