Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Dead To Me: Maybank and Assorted Bumis

Written by johnleemk on 1:12:36 pm May 16, 2007.
Categories: ,

The latest scandal to arise as far as Malaysian apartheid is concerned is Maybankgate. Apparently, Maybank has decided to do business only with law firms where the majority partner is a Bumiputra.

Now, it doesn't take a genius to realise that this is apartheid. If priority is given to the disadvantaged candidate where all other things are equal, that is affirmative action which encourages the disadvantaged.

If priority is given to the disadvantaged candidate no matter what, then that is not affirmative action. It is apartheid which discourages the disadvantaged from rising to the bar set by those who are already ahead; as Tun Dr Ismail said, it is a "slur on the Malays".

The logical conclusion, then, is that Maybank is conspiring to murder the Bumiputra entrepreneurial class by removing incentives for Bumiputra law firms to be as competent as any other law firm. Since this is blatant stupidity of the first class, Maybank is officially dead to me, just like Abdul Ghani Othman, Najib Tun Razak and Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Unlike a few people, though, I won't bother calling on the government to shut Maybank down or tell it to knock it off. Being a private firm, Maybank has the right to do as it likes (as far as I can ascertain, it is not owned by the government).

The government should not be running apartheid policies, but if private firms want to do it, it's their business. Maybank won't have anyone else to blame if it gets into legal hot soup because of this.

Now, though, there is a wee bit of a problem...apparently some Senators think it's wonderful to maintain a policy of apartheid, whether in the public or private sector. According to Bernama,

The bank should continue with the policy and not to bow to pressures from any quarters who were unhappy with it, they said.
Wonderful! Let's continue crippling the Bumiputras with crutches so they will never have any reason to rise to the standard of other Malaysians! Of course, some might say there are other reasons as well:
Senator Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee described the policy as positive to narrow the gap between the Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras in terms of the number of legal firms that were made panels of solicitors in the banking sector.

"I want to ask Hong Leong Bank and Public Bank, how many bumiputera legal firms have they appointed as their panels," he said when debating the motion of thanks for the royal address.

He said that all the while, it was difficult for Bumiputera legal firms to get contracts or deal with other banks and Maybank's move should not be regarded as racist.
Since when should there be equality of results? We should give all firms, Bumi or non-Bumi, an equal opportunity, but not expect equal results! If the Bumi firms can't compete, the solution is to find out why, not to pretend that they can compete and it's the fault of the firms who won't hire them! Another Senator seems to think it's okay to suppress freedom of speech in the name of apartheid as well:
Senator Datuk Azizah Abd Samad also supported the move and described it as the bank's social obligation to the Bumiputeras.

"The decision was made by the management of Maybank without pressure from any quarters and as such should be respected and not questioned by any quarters at any forum," she said.
"Social obligation"? Is it my "social obligation" to do business with Malay-owned firms as well as Chinese- and Indian-owned businesses? Since when was there any such obligation?

The only body with such obligations is the government — and the onus is on the government to find out why Bumiputra firms cannot compete and to tackle this root problem. Nobody has any obligation to patch up the inferiority of Bumiputra firms and claim that the only reason they are underrepresented is because of discrimination.

If the Bumiputra lawyers are truly talented, then the firms which choose not to hire them are those which will lose out. Likewise, if they just plain suck and only get jobs because of their skin colour, then the firms which choose to hire them are those which will lose out.

If you want people to do business with the Bumiputra, you need to get them up to par first! If you don't even bother with that, and just do things for the sake of appearances, you are only going to hurt them.

And as for this decision being respected and not questioned in any forum...that's a total load of bullshit. Firms which advertise for Mandarin-speaking positions made their decisions independently, and they were criticised in the Dewan Negara! Why does Maybank get a free pass? Oh, right. Because apartheid wins.

Article 10 of the Constitution guarantees Malaysians freedom of speech. This freedom has been restricted by a variety of laws, but last time I checked, we could still criticise the decisions of private firms to arbitrarily discriminate based on skin colour. I suggest the Senator read the Constitution she has sworn to uphold before making further silly statements like that.

But anyhow, it doesn't matter anymore. As far as I'm concerned, like Maybank, Senator Alhabshee and Senator Azizah are as good as dead. People these ignorant and foolish are not worth my time.

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