Thursday, February 23, 2012


FIRST I must make it clear that I support any initiative to help the poor, regardless of race and religion. Which means that on this score I'm on the same wave-length with former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

I was also supportive of anything under the New Economic Policy that was intended to help improve the overall economic situation of the Malays/Bumiputras in general but again this was incumbent on helping only those who needed help.

The big difference between Tengku Razaleigh a.k.a. Ku Li and Aziz Hassan is that while the prince had enough platforms while a minister and a senior member of the Umno supreme council to try and correct any imbalance or lopsided policies, I did not.

I now quote the relevant paragraphs from a report in the Malaysian Insider today on Ku Li's speech at the "Breakfast Meeting" forum.

In highlighting the NEP as a major source of disunity, Ku Li said this: "If we visit government departments or universities, we wonder where all the non-Malays have gone. After 1969, suddenly there was this attempt to recruit mostly Malays into the civil service.

"It is tragic that the civil service does not reflect the racial composition of the Malaysian population, as the predominant presence of only one race tends to engender a sub-culture that is antithetical to the evolution of a dynamic and efficient civil administration in the country."

After 1969? Forget Tunku Abdul Rahman because by that time it was widely known that Tunku was on the way out, which leaves us with Tun Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn, both deceased. The man many people love to hate, Tun Mahathir Mohamed, became our CEO only in 1981.

Ku Li was highly regarded by Razak and had the PM's ears too. The problem is Malaysians  above 50 cannot remember Ku Li as the Umno man/minister who fought to correct what was wrong with the government's policies which he thought were favouring the Malays. At least we don't remember him publicly advocating consistently and diligently a different approach.

He could have spoken out at the Umno supreme council to try and make a difference. He certainly could have done that too at the cabinet while serving under three PMs. Did he?

Ku Li headed Pernas, the now non-existent Bank Bumi and Petronas, apart from holding two cabinet portfolios. Did he recruit differently from other Malay bosses and politicians at these places? Bank Bumi was a very Malay bank in terms of its staffing. Petronas too has always been known to be heavily Malay.

But Pernas takes the cake because it was set up in November 1969 following a resolution at the second Bumiputra Economic Congress. It's objective was to help only the Malays and Bumiputras and Ku Li was its founding chairman. Not only the policies were closed and thus favoured only the Malays and Bumis, so too was its stated recruitment policy. So what does this mean in terms of favouring one race? Wasn't Ku Lii too responsible for this biased, lopsided situation at the expense of the non-Malays?

As chairman of the Umno-owned Fleet Group from 1972 to 1982, who were Ku Li's appointees to head the companies within the group and to make up the senior management? Was racial balance ever a consideration?

Didn't Ku Li realise the folly of the government's policies then? If he did and felt strongly enough, the decent thing to do would have been to resign. He didn't and because he didn't, Ku Li must be held collectively responsible for being part of that government.

Or did the realisation come about only recently? If this indeed is the case, then we must add a now vocal former Umno minister, a retired senior judge and a retired senior cop to the list of people who moan and groan the loudest about everything that is wrong about this country and its leaders -- but only after leaving office.