Race-based policies will raise tension among Bumiputeras, warns academic


(TMI) – The NEP was created to address inequality between ethnic groups, mainly the Malays and the Chinese, rather than within the Bumiputera community. 

Continuing Malaysia’s race-based policies will lead to increased tension among Bumiputeras as the affirmative action policies in the past 40 years have largely benefited only the Malays and widened the socio-economic gap between them and other Bumiputeras, an academic has warned.

Associate Professor Dr Madeline Berma of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) said while the development policies benefited the Malays, the Bumiputera minorities of Sabah and Sarawak and the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia, whom she dubbed “ethnic minorities”, lagged far behind in terms of poverty rate, employment, education and healthcare, breeding discontent among them.

“Continued use of ethnicity as the foundation of economic policy is no longer coherent, and hence could only be undertaken with the risk of greater discontent, paradoxically amongst the Bumiputera community.

“Continuing the pro-Malay oriented policy would apparently lead to internal contradictions and tension within the Bumiputera community and sowing the seeds of future problems for it,” Berma wrote in her essay titled “Ethnic Minorities and Development Process in Malaysia”.

“Although the ethnic minorities are Bumiputera, the policies tend to ‘benefit’ the Bumiputera Malays, particularly by those in Peninsular Malaysia,” she wrote in her paper, which was published in the book “Malaysia Human Development Report 2013: Collection of Background Essays from UKM”.

Berma, who is from UKM’s Faculty of Economics and Management and also heads the university’s Rural Transformation Research Niche, said that many ethnic minorities were frustrated and resentful as they felt they had not benefited from the policies they felt they deserved and were designed to uplift them.

Many perceived big differences in access to education, economic opportunities, government jobs, asset ownership, business contracts and government procurement, she said.

“Close examinations of government programmes in education, employment, subsidies, during the NEP (New Economic Policy) and NDP (National Development Policy) periods, hardly reflect any ‘special attention’ given to the ethnic minority.

“The Bumiputera-Malays, as opposed to the Bumiputera-minority, appear to receive ‘special attention’ although their socio-economic positions have improved since the implementation of the NEP.”

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/race-based-policies-will-raise-tension-among-bumiputeras-warns-academic