Khamis, 31 Oktober 2013

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Malaysia’s bumiputera debate asks the wrong questions

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 09:01 PM PDT 

Hwok-Aun Lee, East Asia Forum

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak rolled out his Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Programme (BEEP) on 14 September 2013.

The agenda's blatant political motives, ethnically exclusive giveaways and the absence of any acknowledgment of past shortcomings or lessons learned delighted his UMNO faithful and Malay nationalist audience.

He made it easy — perhaps too easy — to condemn the BEEP.

The most voluble criticism is that the policy does not benefit the vast majority of thebumiputera or the poor in general, and that the money should be allocated to broader social spending instead. This contention is understandable, but detracts attention from a more important question.

The time is ripe to ask whether Malaysia should in the first place promote bumiputeraindustry. In particular, should Malaysia endeavour to raise bumiputera participation in the ownership and management of dynamic enterprises, especially in industrial sectors, and should the country implement effective programs that directly try to achieve that national objective?

These questions are better tackled head-on because, for the most part, reactions to the BEEP have split into opposing flanks, neither of which offers constructive and feasible prospects for reform. There is the Perkasa–UMNO–Barisan Nasional stance of explicitly supporting the agenda and perpetuating corrupt policies. In contrast, there is a popular counterpoint of implicitly supporting bumiputera industrial development (opposition to the objective is very rare) but advocating needs-based, pro-poor policies as solutions. This argument is usually paired with the claim that race should not be a factor in qualifying for empowerment opportunities, especially government contracting and licensing.

Rhetoric and popular momentum behind needs-based policies and meritocracy are high, and much negative reaction to the BEEP springs from these principles. However, the discourse is disconnected and muddled.

This bumiputera agenda does follow a long line of failure, shortfalls and mishits. Nonetheless, these past experiences do not in any way make social spending a viable alternative for the purpose of bumiputera industrial development. Such needs-based policies are pursuing distinct objectives. They will help level the field in basic needs and attainments, but can scarcely be depended on to produce dynamic bumiputeraenterprises.

Practically, as well, programs and allocations cannot be lightly switched from one set of recipients to another. Many have focused on the approximately RM30 billion worth of spending that can be tallied from Najib's BEEP launch speech, especially RM20 billion per year of Petronas contracts for upstream and downstream projects. This forthcoming largesse clearly placates Malay contractors who have complained of being neglected. However, it does not immediately follow that this comes at a cost to society at large.

The Malaysian government cannot carve up a Petronas contract to one firm and offer it instead to masses of people. Likewise, these funds are tied up in particular projects and cannot simply be appropriated for other purposes. Inflated prices and substandard quality do incur a social cost, but this raises questions about the amounts being spent and the selection process, not the entire procurement policy.

Again, the pertinent question is: should Malaysia intervene in bumiputera industrial development? It's plainly untenable to answer 'yes' and then leave it to social spending to deliver the results. On the interrelated matter of meritocracy, undoubtedly there is a case to be made for abolishing racial representation in selection criteria for contracts and licences, and making the process transparent, stringent and competitive. Still, such policies have no direct role in facilitatingbumiputera participation in industry.

So, those opposing bumiputera industrial development policies must acknowledge the consequences: purposefully omitting bumiputera enterprise development as an objective and bumiputera representation as a target, and leaving these outcomes open-ended. Such a reform would hold out the possibility that bumiputeraparticipation might not increase or be sustained — and may well decline. The risk of the latter seems to have been ignored.

Interestingly, there is frequent talk of resetting politics and resetting policies, never of resetting expectations. Yet can Malaysia implement meaningful and difficult reforms, and continue to target ambitious growth and improvement? Odds are stacked against having it all. The current situation arguably calls for more restrained and effective bumiputera industrial development — and suitably modest expectations and targets. Select policies are needed to cultivate long-term bumiputera industrial development and avert major declines in participation in the short term. 



Sacrificial ritual begs respect

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 01:57 PM PDT 

Does a dominant race have the exclusivity to do as they please, wherever and whenever, even if there is no authorisation to do so?

Jeswan Kaur, FMT

The issue is not that the non-Muslims are against the practice of Hari Raya Korban; the problem is when discretion is thrown out of the window in the excitement over the korban.

We are a nation divided, mostly owing to the unscrupulous politicians and bigots who never tire of instigating Malaysians of different faiths.

With the country now split between 'what's right' and 'what's wrong', harmony and unity between the people have become endangered, making it impossible to bridge the racial gap that threatens to drown Malaysia's cherished asset – her diversity.

While the nation suffers an 'identity crisis' due to the never-ending racial slurs and 'misrepresentation', chaos over respect for the respective faiths continues to reverberate.

Barely two weeks after the Court of Appeal dismissed the Catholic Church's fight over the use of the word 'Allah' in its weekly publication, a new racial row has erupted.

This time, the issue revolves around the Hari Raya Korban/Hari Raya Aidiladha/ Hari Raya Haji slaughtering of cows, a practice which in this country is done in full view of the public, in any space available.

To say that the 'open air' ritual leaves many people aghast is an understatement. The situation is made worse when the television stations showcase the slaughtering process time and again.

This year's Hari Raya Korban turned controversial when several non-Muslim parents took umbrage over the slaughtering of cows in schools in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

The parents complained that sacrificing cattle in schools was an insensitive move and inappropriate to schoolchildren.

This well-meaning concern however did not sit well with the Malay zealots of this country, who then raised the issue of the Hindus's carrying the kavadi openly during the Thaipusam festival.

Unlike the killing of cows, the kavadis or decorated carriers are not brandished just about any place the devotee pleases. Still, attacking one another's faiths and demeaning cultures simply to prove a point leaves the country in a very vulnerable position.

Scary revelations

When Deputy Education Minister (II) P Kamalanathan said the Education Ministry has never allowed the slaughter of cows in schools, why did the truth upset Malay supremacist group Perkasa?

Perkasa Youth chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris via his blog unleashed his anger and launched a personal attack on Kamalanathan.

"The parliamentarian P Kamalanathan's statement that the korban ceremony cannot be carried out in schools is an act that insults the Malays and all Muslims," Irwan wrote.

It is worrying to note the myopic approach groups like Perkasa continue to use in defending Islam and Malays.

How is stating a fact downgrading the country's official religion or hurting the sensitivities of Muslims?

Going by the conundrum that as erupted as a result of the cow-slaughtering in school, it brings to light some very frightening revelations:

Does a dominant race have the exclusivity to do as they please, wherever and whenever, even if there is no authorisation to do so?

Why was the deputy education minister's statement viewed as a threat by defenders of the Islam like Perkasa, to the point that it threatened to turn the tables against Kamalanathan in the 14th general election?

Was butchering cows in places of learning a 'wholesome' affair?

Did Perkasa forget about the sentiments of the young non-Malay pupils who would have been terrified watching the butchering of these animals?

Read more at: 


A vague but useful term

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 01:35 PM PDT

But it is too easy to get carried away with this idea of national security and use it to the extent that it becomes a tool not only for the suppression of legitimate rights, but worse still the legitimising of truly unlawful behaviour which should be deemed the true threat to national security.

Azmi Sharom, The Star 

National security can be invoked for any number of reasons because it can mean many things to different people.

AH, national security. It is such a wonderful phrase; two words that has such deep implications and evokes such powerful feelings.

For example, feelings of fear, paranoia and of being under siege. Mention it to me and I envision manly men, biceps bulging as they heft mighty machine guns ready to do battle to defend us from evil invading armies.

But that is just me. Obviously it means other things to other people. It is after all a vague concept.

It is precisely that vagueness which makes it such a useful term. It can be invoked for any number of reasons.

If some people demand the protection of human rights, you can always say "Hey, we would love to do it, but we can't because, you know… national security".

It sounds so noble doesn't it? Sacrificing one's rights for the greater good. But is that the way it should be? Perhaps in some situations, the answer should be a resounding yes.

In the United Kingdom for example there is a system called the D Notice. This is where in extremely rare cases the government would request the newspapers not to publish certain information which could result in danger whether to the nation or to individuals.

Normally such information would be regarding military matters or regarding highly sensitive installations like nuclear reactors.

The system however is voluntary and newspaper editors can choose to ignore it. By and large however, they do not. In such situations, I am sure that it is felt that national security trumps the newspapers right to expression and the public's right to know.

But it is too easy to get carried away with this idea of national security and use it to the extent that it becomes a tool not only for the suppression of legitimate rights, but worse still the legitimising of truly unlawful behaviour which should be deemed the true threat to national security.

Let's look at another example; the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Now, it can be safe to say that not everybody in the US during this period was in favour of equal rights for all peoples regardless of colour.

It was common during that time to have segregated public facilities. Universities in the Southern States for example were often segregated.

This was until James Meredith, a black ex Air Force serviceman enrolled in the University of Mississippi which up till that point was for whites only.

The Supreme Court had passed a judgment that no public university could practice segregation and the newly elected President Kennedy had made an inaugural speech espousing the values of freedom and equality.

Meredith was going to put the law and the President's words to the test.

The enrolment of one single student caused such uproar that there were actual riots.

In some people's views riots are surely a cause of concern and are a matter of national security. What then should be done about it?

There are two possible actions really. You can take the warped and cowardly way out and prevent Meredith from going to the college of his choice or you can stand up to the bigots and defend his right to be treated equally.

Fortunately the American government chose the latter.

(As a side note, the Kennedy administration was not always so fearless.

For example, it took significant international and domestic political pressure before they made a firm policy stand against segregation.

The activities of the Freedom Riders, activist who travelled in the segregated south to ensure that the laws on equality were enforced and who faced extremely violent reactions from racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan and even state law enforcement, were initially frowned upon by government of the time).

My point is this; there will always be extremists, those who will not hesitate to use force, or threaten to use force against those they disagree with; even when their "enemies" are merely living according to their inherent human rights.

It is ridiculous in the extreme to victimise the victims of such fanatical groups even further by restricting their rights in order to appease the extremists.

In effect what this means is that extremism is not seen as the threat to national security, which it is, but instead in some twisted way human right is seen as the threat to national security.

This is ridiculous not only in its patently absurd logic, but also because it sets precedence where those who advocate violence, the very ones who should be shunned and pushed to the fringes where they belong, can effectively hold a country to ransom. 

Should we tell our local ghosts to migrate?

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 01:16 PM PDT 

Local ghosts may interpret Halloween celebrations in Malaysia as a statement that they are not good enough, falling so short of expectations that people turn to foreign ghosts as replacements. Their egos take a hit. 

Khairie Hisyam Aliman, The Malay Mail

One of the wonders of Facebook is that we sometimes find interesting questions to ponder if we spare a few minutes to consider them. One that comes to mind this week is: If Malaysians celebrate Halloween and put on costumes as Western ghosts, would our local ghosts be offended?

To answer the question, first we should consider what would likely cause offence to our local ghosts in such a scenario — the underlying implications of rejection.

Local ghosts may interpret Halloween celebrations in Malaysia as a statement that they are not good enough, falling so short of expectations that people turn to foreign ghosts as replacements. Their egos take a hit.

Or perhaps some of the local ghosts may be outraged, feeling anger that Malaysians are championing foreign ghosts when instead they should support local brands and culture. That Malaysians are forgetting their roots, forgetting their identities.

The pontianak may feel slighted that kids seem think Dracula is better-groomed, more refined and more classy, while our hantu pocong may be upset that kids seem to prefer Casper's cuteness over its hard-sell scare-mongering.

They may say: "You are Malaysian, so you should support Malaysian ghosts or get out!"

But what many overlook is that recognition and appreciation, as well as progress, growth and support, need not be a zero-sum game. One's forward movement need not be at the expense of another.

Just because Malaysians celebrate foreign ghosts and enjoy what they represent in popular culture, it does not necessarily mean that local ghosts would be neglected or pushed out of the picture by these foreign ghosts.

Sometimes, people turn to foreign ideals, role models and examples not because they reject what is available in their own country, but because they wish for improvement, for better and higher standards. They are trying to make things better.

And the sad disconnect that likely results is that one side, trying to connect and offer solutions by way of suggestions and criticism, would be spurned by the other side, who perceive hostility and aggression as underlying the criticism, oblivious to the faults they need to rectify.

Read more at: 


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


Malaysia Today Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved