Wednesday, October 11, 2006

18.9% - 30% - 45% BUMIPUTRA EQUITY CLAIM. WHICH IS RIGHT? WILL WE EVER KNOW.

It was widely reported today that Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) had admitted that their study report 'Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy' claiming that the bumiputra corporate equity claim of about 45% have been seriously flawed. Its President, Mirzan Mahathir announced that there were grave discrepancies in their report, and the methodology used to ascertain this figure had been wrongly applied and as such, have decided to withdraw the said study report formally effectively. However, insiders have expressed that mounting pressure from the ruling government and many bumiputra organisations and influential individuals had forced ASLI to retract their claim although there is truth in their study findings.

In another development, Dr Lim Teck Gee, the director of ASLI responsible for the finding had tendered his resignation today, in disagreement with Mirzan's claim. Dr Lim is expected to leave ASLI in a month's time. A few directors of ASLI have also expressed their regret that mounting pressure has deminished intellectuals from carrying out any future researched studies.

ASLI had completed its findings sometime in March 2006 and copies of their report was handed to the government, members of parliament and interested bodies. The said independent study report was made in conjunction with the statitics required for the formulation and implementation of the 9th Malaysia Plan. But however, the Economic Planning Unit of the government had only reported 18.9%, a stagnate figure since the last report sometime in 1990. The methodology used by the Economic Planning Unit have until todate not been revealed and has created various suspicions. On the other hand, ASLI had clearly indicated their source of research and even had a public forum, a short while ago to explain their findings and how this research was formulated.

Of late, various groups and bodies had questioned the validity of the report. A couple of days ago, our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had termed the report as 'baseless'. Ever since then, many concern groups have indicated that mounting pressure will be used to retract this report and the government may enforce a 'gag order' similar to the Article 11 movement. This surprise turn of events have surprised many non-bumiputras as to the actual state of affairs.

The New Economic Policy was introduced in 1970 after the 13 May 1969 riots with the creation of a 30% bumiputra equity quota until 1990 so that it will bridge the socio-economic disparities between the races in Malaysia. But since the government had revealed then that the target had not been achieved, it was extended to 2005 and it was now further extended to 2020 since the claim that the equity target was stagnated at 18.9%. Many interested parties had doubted the correctness of this percentage from the Economic Planning Unit. With the revealing of the ASLI Study Report, the public where surprised by the target achieved and the non-bumiputras have felt that they have been the victims of the social order for such a long time.

With the withdraw of this report, its has created serious doubts whether the actual truth will ever be known. Is it 18.9% as indicated by our government, or 45% as per the researched findings of ASLI.