Monday, November 19, 2007

Double-discriminative policy

Typical understanding of a Bumiputera status company is that 51% or more of the shareholders of the company must be bumiputeras but we have received a mailed complaint to show that the definition of a Bumiputera company has gone deeper that such company must also employ more than 51% bumiputera as employee.

This is double-discriminative policy as bumiputera companies should be given the free hand to operate including in handling their employment preferences based on meritocracy.

If the government is serious about its slogan of “Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang” to create a world-class economic system to transform Malaysia into a knowledge-based innovative economy, it must end the NEP-mentality in our economy and fully restore the policy of meritocracy and performance excellence coupled with social need to provide employment opportunities to economically-backward Malaysians regardless of race.

In Budget 2008, the Government had announced that beginning financial year 2008, PLCs will be required to disclose their employment composition by race and gender, as well as programmes undertaken to develop domestic and Bumiputera vendors. The private sector should leverage upon the strength of Malaysia’s diversity by employing Malaysians from all ethnic groups.

Why this has not been done by the government in public services and GLCs? And what moral authority does the government has in requiring PLCs to disclose their employment composition by race in year 2008 when government agencies and GLCs are not compelled to do it?

All companies, be it bumiputera companies or not, should be allowed to employ the most qualified and most competent Malaysians with competitive remunerations and restore a culture of excellence and meritocracy.

One simple test of whether the government is seriously committed to abandon the baggages of past NEP policies to create a world-class university system is whether it has the political will to end the brain drain depriving Malaysia of the best and brightest for the development of the country.

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