How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Apartheid in Malaysia?

When I read the article by Awang Hitam, I wish someone would refute his claim that there is apartheid in the private sector based on the definition of apartheid as 'minority rule and discrimination against the majority'. How simplistic, I thought. I am more disappointed because learned Malays still believe in the myth that the Chinese controlled the economy and there is a concerted effort by them to discriminate against the majority Malays. It is debatable that the Chinese controlled the economy, though they might be controlling certain industries over several generations. The common recipe for their success: started by illiterate pioneers serving the needs of the people, saving through thrift and investing for the future. Of course, there were those well connected to political leaders who did well as their cronies, as well as well educated professionals who started on their own or took over from their parents or grandparents, and did very well. As businessmen, their main motive is profit and how to manage it. As to who to employ, it is basically whoever can do the job efficiently. In the case of small and medium enterprises, it is likely to be family controlled and employees engaged through recommendation and word of mouth. If most of the customers are Chinese, then it would be helpful if an employee can communicate with them. Even an English-educated Chinese will fail miserably if he cannot communicate with customers. So basically, there is no concerted effort to discriminate against any race because each Chinese enterprise is independent of others and can even be jealous of each other. Furthermore, even siblings could be arch enemies, so how could they cooperate to discriminate?

Recently, I had a discussion with a car spare parts dealer and his opinion was telling: 'My present Indian employee would scold me if I close shop for a day (because daily paid)... my previous Malay employee would rather work a 3-day week!' Of course this could be a misconception, but to dispel it needs considerable effort to prove otherwise.

Anyway, I was not disappointed when Senior lecturer, Lee Hwok Aun and retired Chartered Engineer, Koon Yew Yin debated over Awang Hitam's article...

Dec 22 2013 New Straits Times: Modern day apartheid? by Awang Hitam

'IT was recently asserted that Malaysia is the only country that still embraces and pursues a policy of apartheid. The article, by one of the presenters and producers of a private business radio station, published in an English daily, further claimed that Malaysia's discriminatory racial policies generate "internal resistance that occasionally spill into violence".

If apartheid means minority rule and discrimination against the majority, then the apartheid system is alive and well in Malaysia.

Read more: Modern day apartheid? - Columnist - New Straits Times

Dec 27 2013 Malaysiakini: Apartheid in Malaysia? Let's get at the truth!

'On Dec 23, 2013, the New Sunday Times published an article titled ‘Modern day apartheid?’ by Awang Hitam, in which the assertion was made that apartheid is being practised in the private commercial sector in Malaysia.

Normally, I do not take notice of commentaries found in the NST. It is a newspaper rated poorly for the depth and truthfulness of its news coverage...'

More (subscribers only):

Dec 30 2013 Free Malaysia Today: Apartheid policies : Let's get at the truth by Koon Yew Yin

Normally, I do not take notice of commentaries found in the NST. It is a newspaper rated poorly for the depth and truthfulness of its news coverage. Although the newspaper has a few journalists who try to maintain a more professional neutrality in their work, the great majority of its editorial staff are political hacks, out to put the best spin on whatever the policy of the government is, as well as to demonise the opponents of the BN and Umno.

However, the recent article ‘Modern Day Apartheid’ by Awang Hitam is so blatantly bold and false in its claim on racial discrimination in Malaysia that it deserves a response.

According to its author:
If apartheid means minority rule and discrimination against the majority, then the apartheid system is alive and well in Malaysia.
For instance, the discrimination in the minority-dominated and controlled private sector is a clear manifestation of this discriminatory policy.'


Jan 3 2014 Rejoinder on Apartheid in the private sector by Koon Yew Yin, a retired chartered engineer, is a philanthropist.

Lee Hwok Aun’s response to my post which critiqued Awang Hitam’s New Straits Times article on apartheid in Malaysia’s private sector is disappointing.

Firstly he berates me for not sufficiently challenging the column’s attempt to compare the position of Malaysian Chinese with the white supremacy and apartheid government of South Africa.

Secondly he complains that I have simply relaunched what in his view is “misguided criticism” of his co-authored research.

Instead of focusing his ire on me, Lee Hwok Aun and his co-author should have been the first to respond to Awang Hitam for the way in which the NST columnist cited their research as the columnist’s opening salvo against Malaysian Chinese business practices.

No self-respecting scholar would have permitted his work to be presented as part of the scientific evidence in a scurrilous and mischievous article aimed at inflaming racial sentiments. The fact that the article appears in the country’s premier officially-sanctioned English newspaper makes its arguments and content more provocative since the spin and lies in it reaches influential stake players in the policy-making world.

Although the two researchers have little or no control over how their findings are used, Awang’s piece should have generated an immediate rebuttal from the two researchers. This they failed to do.


Jan 6 2014 Awang Hitam using warped logic by Lee Hwok Aun, senior lecturer in development studies at Universiti Malaya.

'I am astounded by the inconsistencies and warped logic in Awang Hitam’s column in the New Straits Times of Dec 22, ‘Modern day Apartheid?’...'

'It is thus dumbfounding and appalling for the author to suggest that under-representation of Malays in the private sector, and possible bias favouring non-Malays, constitutes Apartheid. Suddenly, all the criteria deployed to dispute labelling the NEP as Apartheid vanish, and the only thing that matters is that a minority group holds some advantage.'

'Warped logic is also employed in the assertion that the NEP is not discriminatory - because it was meant to achieve inter-ethnic parity and national unity. Yes, the policy serves these loftier purposes, and Malaysians would readily agree to them.

However, this does not in any way negate the fact that under the NEP, a vast array of policies granting privileged access or exclusive rights to bumiputeras has become established, involving ethnicity-based quotas, reservations or forms of preferential selection.

In the context of the overarching objective and national aspiration, they might be termed positive discrimination. But they are indisputably discriminatory. Let us just acknowledge this without fudging or getting heated.

In the spirit of honesty, as exhorted by the columnist, I hope he will in future adhere to higher standards of consistency and veracity.'


1 comment:

Anonymous said...




Dear Sir,

I have spent not as much time as

Tycoon Koon in engineering but a

respectable amount of time in and

outside the gomen service

appraising engineering

components for the gomen and

personal use.

Recently I met a bangla

who used to work with a chinese

owned spare parts shop in

Segambut. When he started working

in 2000 the firm had a dozen

workers -presumably all Banglas.

Now the firm had a workforce in

the hundredsand had moved into

a bigger and proper factory



'What new thing was he [owner] doing?', I asked.


Firm got old cars /trucks from

overseas and

get vietnamese and banglas to

strip them and use chemical wash

to make the parts look new

and repack them

nicely and send them to all the

spareparts shop throughout


He said Malaysia is a great

country- easy to be v rich and

gomen guys can be paid off easily.

As one who appraised product for

approval,it had become a habit

that I would appraise

what I had bought for myself , my

son or other family members.

I found many of the

products sold by the spare parts

are probably

recycled unless one goes to the

authorised agents . One item that

invariably gives problem to an

engine, especially if it is

diesel is the lubricant. If the

lube oil is not genuine ,

the wear and tear on a

car and the nature [colour] of the

exhaust is suspect. One indication

is too much smoke.

If you go to a street spare part

shop, they will not have a Shell

engine oil. I have to

source mine from a dealer about 8

km from [I buy in 20l drums]

where I lived!

Why does a spare part shop not use

a Melayu, local Indian or even c


The simple reason most of them are

involved in passing fakes or non

genuine as genuine products.

It is ok if one goes to a 'potong


get a secondhand parts and pays a

reaonable price for it.

Melayus [granted are not strong

physically and perceived to be

lazy by nature ], and

Indians are not much better , are

dangereous to have in dubious

business enterprise.

One interesting thing the bangla

told me. Firm will

not do on a german brand because

the germans in

Malaysia monitors closely the

movement of their parts.

One day, a neighbour, a seemingly

rich tycoon involved in the

spare parts business was raided by

a team involving

the Police, KPDKK , Relas and some

Germans. Apparently

from what I can see, I can only

guess the germans had

prodded the gomen guys about the

towkay exporting

german car parts not sourced from


I leave the conclusion open as I

leave by a policy I do my

business, you do yours

khong khek khuat