A true story of Malay entrepreneurship

I had a dinner with a very well respected political leader two nights ago. I told him my thoughts on our people being given too much protection against competition, which is essentially the same thing that I wrote yesterday in “How about us?” . I mentioned that Malays can be world beaters if they are given a chance to compete like everyone else.

He told me a true story which I will relate here.

In one of his official visits to New York some time back, he was met at the airport by a smartly dressed Malay chauffeur driving a limousine to fetch him. In the car, he struck up a conversation with the Malay guy, and was surprised to learned that this Malay actually owns the limousine service that is fetching him. He came to the States many years back as an ‘illegal’, worked diligently and operated small businesses and ultimately, his status was legalised and he expanded his business and became the owner of many limousines. He  also had many people, mainly immigrants from all over the world , working for him. He  came personally to fetch the VIP because of his respect for the politician and because the VIP is from Malaysia.

This story tells us that even a not so highly educated Malay can make it on his own in one of the most competitive places in the world, the Big Apple. He did not get any clutches; he worked his way through hardship and ultimately he succeeded and achieved his “American” or shall we say “Malaysian” dream.

This politician actually wants to invite this Malay gentleman back to Malaysia and give talks, to show our people that with hard work and determination, Malay brothers and sisters can be as good as anyone.

As I have repeatedly mentioned in my blog and my writings, the competition for Malaysian is not against each other but rather the main competition is the outside world.

The main obstacle that has  made the people less competitive is, without doubt, the New Economic Policy and the abuses and deviation under this system. So this policy needs an urgent review in order for our people to stand up and compete against the world.

It is very simple. Its either that or be left behind.

 I am glad that more and more Malay intellectuals and businessman realise this point and hopefully, our political masters can be bold enough to change the system. We need leaders who lead the way and not the other way round.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natasha
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 11:14:53

    The story that the politician told you is inspiring, but I would argue that it is disingenuous. Maybe this one Malay worked his way up from the bottom and realized his dreams, but you don’t have to be a pessimist to realize that this is an isolated and rare experience. That is the problem with The American Dream (which, as you have correctly pointed out, appeals to more than just Americans). A few people make it big, rising from the bottom, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, and this makes it possible to ignore or render invisible the thousands and millions who do not. Oprah Winfrey broke all expectations, but how many young black women will never get out of poverty?

    Of course, all this does not deny that Malays are as good as anyone else, and I agree with you that they need to be given a chance to prove themselves. I have been away from Malaysia for a few years, so I don’t know what the New Economic Policy is, but your point is clear regardless.


  2. hsudarren
    Jan 21, 2007 @ 12:20:48

    I thank you for your very good remark. New economic policy has actually deviated from its original aim. It is now a front for well connected Bumiputras to get rich quick. It has made the people totally dependent on government assistance. It has also led to total abuse of the system and corruption. I am sure you follow the news from Malaysiakini, and there are plenty of instances where abuse of power are so obvious , all in the name of implementation of the NEP.


  3. Natasha
    Jan 22, 2007 @ 08:04:30

    That’s really too bad. It must have had good potential to be implemented in the first place, but even the best potential can get corrupted and perverted to help the rich at the expense of the poor.


  4. Brian Damage
    Jan 24, 2007 @ 00:32:06

    Uhh. Natasha, the New Economic Policy has been around since the beginning of 1970s. It was renamed upon the expiration upon the expiration of the previous one. If you have been to Malaysia you would have known this as it is the hub of Malaysian cultural and political wheel. Anyone who venture out of the tourist area would have gotten a whiff of it. This is not some native rights versus everyone else. It is reverse apartheid in the 21st century world. It is not about how polcies were concocted to help a group of underprivilged people but rather a political and governmental machinery aimed at suppressing citizens based on race. How many were muzzled, arrested, tortured and denied of basic human rights based on their race in Malaysia? The situation in Malaysia is real and depressing , real people are being harrassed and discriminated upon, not some touchy feely new age religious experienced to be sampled at our whims.


  5. yoyo (@yoyopippers)
    Aug 10, 2011 @ 13:42:23

    Hi Dr Hsu,

    My name is Nurul and I am a Malaysian. Well, by my name you know that I am a Malay in Malaysia, by knowing that I am a Malay in Malaysia, you would know everything else.

    I can’t help but to agree on your thoughts that the New Economy Policy has a great effect on Malaysians, good or bad, it depends who you are in this country. However it has been going on without an honest review on the objective and the results. The results were not evaluated. I know deep inside, the Bumiputeras will think that they are still weak everytime this policy being ‘reactivate’ and think that they still need to preserve the privilege to strive harder. The worst thing is that these people thought this is a ‘hak’, very protective of it, becoming very pro government. They have totally been blinded, that to succeed is not by this way, the more they wait, the harder it is to change.The government should totally balance the intake in whatever that has not been balanced all this while so we can break the racial issues. We cannot deny, race will be an issue after all these years of governing. It’s not very hard to see the Bumiputera is not excelling in career wise, education after all the privileges given. WHY?? Karma I believe?

    I really hope that one day, the government will vanish this policy and be a good parent to rakyat, so our life will be more meaningful, less haters. Although I know this means the privilege that has been given will be taken away. At least we don’t have to live in a lie.


  6. A true Malaysian
    Aug 12, 2011 @ 15:48:04

    Dear Yoyo,

    Your view is indeed very refreshing. It is we, rakyat who think alike, should share our views to fellow Malays and convince them that it is not the end of the world for them without Umno remain in power.

    Just like any parent, we care for our children for them to be able to ‘berdirikari’ later, and not spoon feed them for the rest of their lives. The same logic should be practised in helping the Malays.

    My cheers to you and really hope to read more of your views in this forum.


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