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Study Shows Bumiputeras Lack Competitive Edge Due to Bumi-centric Policies



Study Shows Bumiputera-centric Policies Haven't Developed Competitiveness & Other Abilities - WORLD OF BUZZ 2
Source: New Straits Times
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In a recently published study that analysed the impacts of wide-scale Bumiputera preferential programmes, it was found that they have had little effect on this group’s capability, competitiveness, and confidence.

The study, which was carried out by Lee Hwok-Aun from the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, found that despite having need and merit-based factors incorporated into these policies, many gaps still remained. According to the Malay Mail Online, an excerpt from the report reads,

“Various lessons can be derived from the ongoing initiatives, particularly the GLC (government-linked corporation) Transformation Programme and new ventures under the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap (BETR), but whether these are analysed and replicated remains to be seen, and it is unclear whether the disparate operations of government agencies, with vested interests and uncoordinated operations, can be overcome.”

In the report, Lee proposed to either prioritise disadvantaged groups or limit benefits for those who are already empowered (need-based selection) and to grow more capable and competitive beneficiaries (merit-based selection).

The report pointed out possible unfair benefits privileged individuals from this particular group may be receiving, which is one of the issues that should be addressed instead of focusing on ethnic quotas in every sphere.

However, the report also states,

“…profession of need-based, merit-based and market-friendly affirmative action do not constitute systematic and coherent alternatives. Credible reform initiatives must recognize the existence of Bumiputera preferential treatment and specify how these selection mechanisms will be amended or removed.”

Study Shows Bumiputera-centric Policies Haven't Developed Competitiveness & Other Abilities - WORLD OF BUZZ 1

Source: FMT

In reference to ethnic quotas, the report also mentioned that there are Malay quotas between 75 and 80 per cent for specific ranks of officials in industries like the Administrative and Diplomatic Service, police, judicial and legal services and customs services. Meanwhile, although there are no specific quotas in professional and technical services, the report states that non-codified ethnic preference is definitely being practised.

On top of that, the report also pointed out that these reforms also have to be programme-specific and systematically integrated, citing the New Economic Policy (NEP)’s 20-year window (1971-1990) as inadequate.

“Policy spheres must be analysed separately, with robust attention to how need-based and merit-based selection can enhance Bumiputera empowerment and make broader reforms palatable and possible.”

Overall, the study concluded that Bumiputera preferential programmes have not been effectively cultivating capability, competitiveness, and confidence.

Study Shows Bumiputera-centric Policies Haven't Developed Competitiveness & Other Abilities - WORLD OF BUZZ

Source: MMO

“Formulating transitions away from the current Bumiputera preferential regime will require a systematic approach, integrated with programme-specific analysis.”

“The country might gain from a paradigmatic shift to a multi-pronged pursuit of equality and fairness, balanced with equitable representation and diversity.”

“Graduating from preferential treatment is imperative, and Bumiputeras who are sufficiently empowered and eminently positioned must lead by example.”

Well, this study raised a number of important issues that affect many Malaysians today. It would be interesting to see what policymakers and other relevant bodies do with these findings. Hopefully, this study leads to more in-depth discourse and better reforms in these policies!

If you’d like to read the entire report, check it out here!


Also read: Perkasa Says 95% Poverty Cases in Malaysia Involve Bumiputeras

Perkasa Says 95% Poverty Cases in Malaysia Involves Bumiputeras - WORLD OF BUZZ 3

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