Wednesday, November 13, 2013


By Mansor Puteh’

The main reason why the Bumiputera or Melayu are lacking in many areas, is because Mara and the government have failed to acknowledge the existence of this special group of Melayu who have benefited from Mara and the government, who have been allowed to exist on their own, serving only themselves.

If the Mara Scholars Association and Melayu Ivy League and Oxbridge Associations had been formed twenty or thirty years ago, one can see wonders happening to the Bumiputeras and Melayu in the country.

One thing that could have happened is the creation of a new generation of Melayu and Bumiputera entrepreneurs and leaders of the industries they are supposed to be in but which they are not allowed to enter in full force, because they are not given the incentives to develop their talents.

These Bumiputeras and Melayu are where they are solely on merit having gained valuable education for their second degrees with some having studied at the prestigious universities abroad.

The many others who are successful and are able to contribute because they are in industries that had been established, whereas those who are still in the periphery, are those who are in industries which are still in their infancy, which Mara and the government have not bothered to highlight or encourage them to enter and to seize leadership roles in them so they do not become ‘parasite industries’ that need pumping of funds from the government.  

It was good for the government to create the special Bumiputera Economic Empowerment program (BEE) by allocating a large amount of money to serve the cause, and mostly to create a new generation of Melayu entrepreneurs and industry leaders in all fields.

It will be ironic if the BEE benefits the same group of Melayu entrepreneurs who have benefited from the New Economic Policies (NEP) of the past, but whose contribution to the society and race is minimal or nil.

Worse, they have become less Melayu and who consider themselves to be ingrates by looking at the other side, and not showing any interests in fields that the Melayu are lacking for which some pumping of money could help develop, instead of them parading their expensive vehicles and residences, and showing their expensive lifestyle, etc. by organizing expensive weddings for their children. 

Unfortunately, till now there has not been any specialized research undertaken by any body or persons to investigate where the Bumiputeras and especially the Melayu have lagged behind and in which areas they are the weakest which form the bulk of this group's base.

There are some sectors that have seen Bumiputera participation, but not in the other areas.

At the same time, what the BEE can do it to encourage Mara to form the Mara Scholars Association which must be able to get scores of thousands of the Melayu who have studied at least at the graduate level and at universities abroad and in all fields.

They can become a new Melayu think tank which can offer interesting ideas and proposals to further uplift the economic standing of their race.

After all, individually, their quest to want to pursue their education abroad is a personal attempt to see the uplifting of the economy of their race, but this can be further enhanced if they can be grouped together so that they can better related with each other, while being able to look at the whole picture in a more wide perspective instead of from only their own vision.

Unfortunately, too, some of them have become ingrates in that they thought they could not become independent and even critical of the efforts taken by the government thinking that they have become too smart to agree with everything that it and also Mara try to do.

I found it strange how Mara and even the ministry of education had not bothered to encourage or ask Mara to establish such an association.

This association cannot be formed by individuals who had benefited from Mara by getting scholarships or study loans, as it can become nothing but a social group where their members meet annual for a grand dinner, where they share their address cards and parade their expensive vehicles, with those who are less successful, spawning it.

It should be the task of Mara to instigate the former Mara scholars to group together so that the association can become a new think tank whose members and also elected officials can sit down to investigate on how best to contribute to the society and their race, without ever having to scream and shout slogans all the time.

Educated people can perform better away from publicity and self-promotion which unfortunately has become the trend for elected officials of well-meaning groups to get their views across.

Mara Chairman, Tan Sri Annuar Musa was reported to have said on a program on Astro Awani how he had proposed the creation of the BEE to the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who agreed and launched the scheme when he visited the Mara University of Technology late last year, before a cheering crowd of UiTM students, faculty and alumni.

But what Anuuar, as chairman of Mara should now do is to help form the Mara Scholars Association so that it can help the government and also BEE to formulate new plans to further uplift the economic standing of the Melayu.

It won’t be too difficult for Mara to do this. In fact, not having this association means that Mara had not done their part to further encourage their scholars to contribute beyond their call of duty.

And at the same time I also propose the creation of the Melayu Ivy League and Oxbridge Association, which can also be under Mara or the ministry of education.

This association should be organized by individuals, but if this happens, it will become no more than a social club.

The idea to have such an association is to register all the Melayu and Bumiputera who have studied in any of the ten universities – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and UPenn in America and Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom, so that they are identified.

And their expertise can be called for if there are issues concerning the industries they are supposed to be in.

And students who are currently studying in such universities must also be registered so that they can do specialized researches that benefit their society instead of them working on any research that does not benefit anyone other than themselves to allow them to graduate.

This explains why despite having the many doctorates in the country, there is no publication of the researches that they had done over many years, and worse, none of what they had found have been implemented by the government.

In the end we have armchair experts who do not go to the field to conduct their research but who go to the libraries to get information on the earlier researches that had been done by the others before them.

And no wonder the comments given by the so-called experts and professors that we have in the country are so general and superficial; they are good entertainment figures for the television pseudo-political talk shows.

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