Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ethnic Issues, Nazir Razak, Amy Chua

Found a great blog in Eddy Daud's Just My Thoughts. His posting captured below encapsulates the various angles on ethnic issues, economic and political elite issues and how that mirror things in our country very well.


Free speech is a wonderful thing isn't it;

Multimillionaire and CIMB head honcho Nazir Razak has this to say..excerpt from MI

NEP punishes talented Malays too, says Nazir Razak
June 20, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — CIMB chief Datuk Seri Nazir Razak today repeated his call for a review of the New Economic Policy (NEP), adding that the policy has been unfair to the majority of Malays.

Nazir, who is also a younger brother to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said the time has come for the government to protect the interest of the majority of the Malays and not just selected few.

“I have met a Malay professional overseas who refused to return to Malaysia because he is of the view that successful Malays are not welcomed in the country. This is because the Malays’ success is always linked to NEP,” said Nazir in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia published today.

“In fact some of them refused to return thinking that the NEP is not for them but only to selected Malay groups, so they are better off working overseas,” he said when asked if the new generation of Malays are more open to reviewing the policy.

read the rest

This is what Ibrahim Ali MP and Perkasa Chief have to say..excerpt from MI:

Nazir is NEP product too, says Ibrahim Ali
By Adib Zalkapli June 21, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali rebuffed today Datuk Seri Nazir Razak’s criticisms of the New Economic Policy (NEP) by pointing out that the CIMB chief was also a product of affirmative action policies.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insider, the de facto leader of right-wing Malay groups fighting to maintain affirmative action policies as Bumiputera rights urged the prime minister’s brother to be fair in assessing pro-Bumiputera policies in Malaysia.

Yesterday, Nazir repeated his call for a review of the NEP, saying that the policy has been unfair to the majority of Malays.

Nazir, a younger brother to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said the time had come for the government to protect the interest of the majority of the Malays and not just a selected few.

But the controversial Ibrahim said today that the CIMB chief too had benefited from the NEP.
“That was his personal opinion and I believe he is a product of the New Economic Policy,” said Ibrahim. “Bank Bumiputra, now known as CIMB, was a product of affirmative action policy,” he added.

“Everyone should look at what they have received so that they can be fair to others,” said Ibrahim.

read the rest

Ibrahim Ali also mentioned about a book written by Amy Chua - World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, so I decided to google a bit and came up with these review by the Guardian's Martin Jacques .

Excerpts of the said book review:

There is a plethora of books about globalisation, many saying roughly the same thing. This one is different. It is rare, indeed, to read a book about globalisation where ethnicity is at the core of the argument. That must have something to do with the fact that the great majority of authors of such books are white and from the west. The author of this book is a Chinese-Filipina. That is also surprising because, alas, there is little Chinese writing on ethnicity either. But this book is a gem. It is not that everything Amy Chua argues is correct - it is not - but her theme is different, rich and compelling.

Her starting point is that in many developing countries a small - often very small - ethnic minority enjoys hugely disproportionate economic power. As she points out, this is not true in the west: on the contrary, we are accustomed to small ethnic minorities occupying exactly the opposite situation, a very disadvantaged economic position. The classic case is southeast Asia, where the Chinese, usually a tiny proportion of the population, enjoy an overwhelmingly dominant economic position. In the Philippines, the Chinese account for 1% of the population and well over half the wealth. The same is true in varying degrees in Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.

As Chua argues, rich and powerful minorities attract resentment everywhere: but when those minorities are ethnically different - and highly visible - then that resentment can carry a dangerous charge. "In the Philippines, millions of Filipinos work for Chinese: almost no Chinese work for Filipinos. The Chinese dominate industry and commerce at every level ... all of the Philippines' billionaires are of Chinese descent. By contrast, all menial jobs ... are filled by Filipinos." There is very little social intermixing and virtually no intermarriage. And the disparities, Chua argues, have grown more acute with globalisation and western-inspired market reforms.

Southeast Asia is an acute but by no means isolated example. Throughout Latin America, a small white elite has traditionally enjoyed both economic and political power, as well as cultural and racial pre-eminence. However, while in east Asia anti-Chinese sentiment has long been a powerful political force, in Latin America, at least until recently, there has been little ethnic - as opposed to class - resentment against the white elite. The dominance of a small white elite has long existed in southern Africa. Although the black majority now enjoys - as do their counterparts in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia - political power in South Africa, economic power remains firmly in the hands of a tiny white elite. In east Africa, that economic elite is largely Indian; in west Africa, it is often, though in a less extreme form, the Ibos. The picture that emerges is that in much (though not all) of the developing world, economic power is largely concentrated in the hands of - to use Chua's phrase - a "market-dominant" ethnic minority.

This disparity between the economic power of a small ethnic minority and the disadvantaged position of the majority ethnic group is a source of great political instability. Ethnicity, as we know, is potentially a highly combustible issue. "That ethnicity can be at once an artifact of human imagination and rooted in the dark recesses of history - fluid and manipulable yet important enough to kill for [Chua's aunt, who came from an extremely rich Chinese family in Manila, was murdered by her Filipino chauffeur with the complicity of her Filipina maids] - is what makes ethnic conflict so terrifyingly difficult to understand and contain." As Chua rightly argues, the mass killing of Tutsis by the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 and the grievance felt by the Serbs towards the Croats in the Balkans were partly related to the economic advantage enjoyed by the Tutsis and Croats respectively, and the deep rifts that this engendered.....

Interesting how the debate on the NEP will finally end when the PM finally put his foot down and decide what is best for everybody in this country based on our ideals not based on western perception which does not recognise nor understand the complexities of Malaysia's history and the people here who will have to live through the policies set by the Government of the day.

I will try to get a copy of Amy Chua's book of course.



AhYap.com said...

You are very mysterious. Can I ask you a stupid question - are you an Indian or Chinese or Malay or "something"? lol.

Salvatore_Dali said...

ah yap,

not that mysterious if u attend my talks or read my byline closely ... very Cantonese ... very Malaysian ... ipoh mali, michaelian

Roy said...

I think Dali is very sensible, moderate and very practical. He understands how and why racial harmony is important and what it takes to keep the country at peace, so that we all can live prosperously. If I have the power to put him in power, I would do it without hesitation.

Salvatore_Dali said...

ROY ....lol...lol

well, i would like to contribute to my country ... but unlike 90% of the politicians, I would like to get rich n comfy first before I venture into politics or gov service ... as the 90% of them would be doing it vice versa ... if i do do something it would be "change", and may mean i can be pushed out anytime.. hence i need to be rich n comfy before i get in lol

Roy said...


Rich is relative...take a look at Tony Pua...money-wise, you might already have more than him. The way he is contributing to the country now is admirable. You can do the same too.

It comes down to how do you want to be remembered.

kl said...

Get rich & comfy first before venturing into politics? You're unlikely to do it at all then. No offense meant. Just that it does'nt work that way. Too much to lose then and too little to gain for oneself.

If rich & comfy, why be immersed in the filth & hypocrisy of politics and in the company of self serving politicians? Idealism is honed in the fires of deprivation. Change does not come cheap. Someone has to pay the price. So let someone pay the price, you just finance it.

Salvatore_Dali said...


much of what u said is true... there is another way of looking at it, when u r poor u r more inclined to be "swayed" , just look at the number of party hoppers ... there is no great solution, funding it is a good way... still have to wait for the right platform and opportunity

Last Polka said...

hey dali,

this is going to be strange — but we couldn't find a comment option on your previous piece on the last polka, so we just thought we'd drop you a note here. thanks for the plug! mucho appreciated.

cheers, may + ee vee (the last polka)

One Shot said...

Hi Dali,
Referring to Last Polka's comment below I also looked for the comment option. I ordered two tubs after reading your writeup last week and will pick up tomorrow (29th). Apparently they are swamped with orders. I'm sure it will be good!

I was hoping that they made coconut flavour, which is my personal favourite, but they don't. Anyone out there knows of any brand of coconut flavoured ice cream? King's used to do it but have stopped. You can only get it from the mobile guys (cone type) nowadays.