Private sector still discriminates against Bumiputera, Muhyiddin tells Umno wings

Muhyddin also said a 2012 study showed that unemployment among the Bumiputera remained the highest compared to other communities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Muhyddin also said a 2012 study showed that unemployment among the Bumiputera remained the highest compared to other communities. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended today the government’s pro-Bumiputera policies, saying the community still needed protection as they still suffer discrimination in the private sector.

Referring to the New Economic Policy — introduced in 1971 and officially to last only 20 years — Muhyiddin said those who criticised such policies were “filled with hatred” and cited a study that purportedly found unfair treatment against Bumiputera graduates, who are also the most underpaid employees compared to the Chinese and the Indians.

He also said the study, conducted by academics Dr Lee Hwok Aun and Dr Muhammed Abdul Khaled in 2012, showed that unemployment among the Bumiputera remained the highest compared to other communities.

“One bitter reality we must admit is that the Bumiputera are receiving unfair treatment in the private sector. A study… in 2012 showed that for each Malay graduate called for interviews in the private sector, on average, 5.5 Chinese graduates are called, even though their qualifications are the same,” Muhyiddin said in his policy speech while opening the assembly for Umno’s women and youth wings here tonight.

“Official data also showed that unemployment is highest among the Bumiputera that is 70.3 per cent and graduates at 66.9 per cent.

“We also hear complaints that Bumiputera workers are the lowest paid compared to other races in the private sector,” he added.

Citing the book “Growth and Ethnic Inequality: Malaysia’s New Economic Policy” by Just Faaland, J.R. Parkinson and Rais Saniman, Muhyiddin said Bumiputera workers’ incomes were as much as 20 to 40 per cent lower than that of their Chinese and Indian counterparts.

The Pagoh MP also cited a study that showed property ownership among the community remains the lowest comparatively.

The Umno deputy president said the government and his party would continue to implement policies to strengthen the Bumiputera economy.

He deflected claims that Umno’s continued push for race-based affirmative action policies is racist, pointing out that other communities have echoed similar sentiments in their political struggle.

“When Umno fights for Malay rights, we are called racist. But when other communities do so, they call it minority rights in a democracy,” he said.

Muhyiddin also said that rich countries had practised race-based affirmative action before they became developed, claiming studies have shown that such programmes had not only benefited Bumiputera, but also the country’s ethnic minorities.

The Umno number two then urged party president and Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Razak to make the Bumiputera Agenda part of his administration’s core policy, saying the government can no longer “ignore” the growing inequality among the races.

“The Bumiputera Agenda as a national agenda cannot be executed in pockets, it must be part of the national framework,” he said.

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