ACCCIM survey news (2) September 5, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Economy, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Race Relations.
(ACCCIM SURVEY REPORT ON ECONOMIC SITUATION OF MALAYSIA, H1 2007)
Monday September 3, 4:58 am ET
By Sean Yoong, Associated Press Writer
Malaysia’s Ethnic Chinese Business Leaders Urge Government to Be Fair
to All Races
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Corporate chiefs from Malaysia’s
ethnic Chinese minority made a rare plea for racial fairness Monday,
urging the government to ensure its economic policies benefit every
ethnic community and not just the majority Malays.
The call by Malaysia’s main ethnic Chinese trade coalition, which
represents 28,000 businesses, touches on one of this multiracial
country’s most sensitive subjects — affirmative action programs
geared at helping the ethnic Malay majority catch up with the more
prosperous Chinese by allowing them advantages in education, housing,
bank loans, government jobs and contracts.
“We must also allow other races to have opportunities to perform,”
said William Cheng, president of The Associated Chinese Chambers of
Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, or ACCCIM.
Minority Chinese and Indians have occasionally called for such
policies to be reviewed. But Malay leaders, who hold political power,
have repeatedly defended the decades-old privileges as necessary to
curb Malay poverty and warned minorities not to question them,
insisting that too much public debate could hurt stability.
ACCCIM released internal survey results Monday that showed 39 percent
of 256 of its members cited “government policies” as a factor that
adversely affects business performance.
ACCCIM officials said the members were mainly referring to red tape
that often delays construction projects and other initiatives, but
they acknowledged that affirmative action policies were also causing
“We don’t (oppose) the government helping the poor, but when (the
poor can) stand up already, then we must let them freely compete,”
Cheng told a news conference.
Many analysts say that the objective of the affirmative action policy
has already been met and that the Malays hold a substantial amount of
national wealth. The government denies that with both sides providing
conflicting statistics to make their case.
Cheng stopped short of asking the government to review its policies,
stressing that “if we go into detail, we’re going to quarrel.”
Malays comprise about 60 percent of Malaysia’s 26 million people.
Chinese form 25 percent, Indians nearly 10 percent and the rest
belong to other minorities. The ethnic communities have coexisted
peacefully since racial riots in 1969 sparked by Malay frustration
over the Chinese’s wealth left at least 200 people dead.