Thursday, 16 November 2006

Defusing Racial and Religious Concerns

Being a multi-racial nation, Malaysia has been prone to incredible amounts of manipulation and power-play by politicians, not to mention the attention deficient clowns who go through various lengths to provoke a riot of some sort.

Only a few days ago, there was a protest against a supposed mass conversion of Muslims into Christianity. It turns out it was a communion service for 98 Indian children. The woman behind these shenanigans has been given 48 hours to report to the police.

This political mess is not limited to religion but to the economy as well, where the Malays (Bumiputras) are given special rights over other races.

Taking a look Down Under, The Age has its opinions of Malaysian policies and attitudes, rightfully asserting that there can be little sympathy for a country that prefers to argue about how to divide wealth rather than get on with the job of creating it.

The long-held aim is for 30 per cent of corporate equity to be in Malay hands, but the figure that the Government uses to justify handing over huge swathes of public companies to Malays but not to other races is absurd. It bases its figure on equity valued, not at market value, but at par value.

Many shares have a par value of say $1 but a market value of $12. And so the Government figure (18.9 per cent is the most recent figure) is a gross underestimate. Last month a paper by a researcher at a local think-tank came up with a figure of 45 per cent based on actual stock prices. All hell broke loose. The paper was withdrawn and the researcher resigned in protest. Part of the problem is that he is Chinese.

We've had this silent war for so long. The Malays versus non-Malays (Chinese and Indians).

I'm personally tired of it.

The PM, Abdullah Badawi claims that he abhors the name calling, statements that hurt sensitivities, the corruption and abuse of power and the nit-picking that hindered the country's progress.

So far, I have NOT seen much action to back that claim.

For politics are politics after all.

No comments: