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The day when the richest Malaysians are truly Malaysians February 18, 2010

Posted by zhiyuan in Politics, Society.

Top Ten Richest People in Malaysia (as at 15 Jan 2010)

1) Tan Sri Robert Kuok (Kuok Group)

2) Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan (Telecommunication)

3) Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng (IOI Corporation Bhd)

4) Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow (Public Bank)

5) Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (Genting Group)

6) Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan (Hong Leong Group)

7) Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary (Al-Bukhary Foundation)

8) Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua (Genting Group)

9) Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King (Rimbunan Hijau Group)

10) Tan Sri Vincent Tan (Berjaya Group)

Take a look at the latest list of the ten richest people in Malaysia (or see above) and you might begin to wonder if there really is a pro-bumiputera economic policy in Malaysia. With eight of the top ten in the list are of Chinese ethnicity, it would be difficult to believe that the pro-bumiputera NEP (Malaysian New Economic Policy, ended 1990) & NDP (National Development Policy) economic policy had been in existence for nearly forty years.

You might argue that the list represents the reason of the continuous existence of NDP (National Development Policy) until today; or you might argue that the richest people list is hardly a fair enough indicator of the real income distribution among different ethnicity in Malaysia (in fact it might just be fair enough – average Chinese household income are significantly higher than of other ethnicity). However, both arguments could not hide the fact that the forty years old NEP & NDP policy should have done better in terms of ethnicity distribution in the top ten richest people list.

Most of the news articles on the list that I read do not seem to touch on the blatant obvious element of ethnicity inequality. The mainstream (or government-linked) newspapers appear to be taking a direct, no-nonsense journalistic approach by briefly introducing the top ten people and the new comers; while Malaysiakini’s article title certainly beats others in emphasizing the appearance of political-linked businessmen in the top forty list (“Dr M’s son, Najib’s brother among richest M’sians”).

What worries me most is the first impression I got from reading the top ten richest Malaysian list – ethnicity inequality. Not the inequality part, but the very thought of ethnicity inequality still appears first in my mind whenever I look at statistical data in Malaysia. After fifty-three years of independence and an average Malaysian like myself still thinks ethnicity first, nationality second. Will the day when the richest Malaysians in Malaysia are TRULY Malaysians ever arrived?

Will the day when the richest people on earth are TRULY earthlings ever arrived?



1. Nirah - February 18, 2010


2. Nirah - February 18, 2010

Your article does not uncover many other aspects to this issue, or rather many issues intertwined to generate a movie of sorts.

I find it amusing really.

People crying out loud that there are not much opportunities for the non-malays/bumis that they can’t succeed as easily as the aforementioned, the non-malays/bumis pointing out the success of the other races blah blah blah, the nons saying that the support should be destroyed because it’ll impede the malays/bumis development yada yada yada..

If only people would stop blaming the government so much and just sit down and observe themselves, and improve. Many others nons are making money out there by manipulating the malays/bumis, and some ever-so-willingly, some are making money in an honest manner and they succeed.

The malays/bumis despite the support aren’t rich enough and end up envying and bitching a lot because they’re a lazy bunch. Some malays/bumis do make it in the end without much government support.

So what exactly is the complain here? You want to get rich, go do it. (and this applies to all creed). Shut up and just go do whatever you have to do. Stop bitching. Life’s unfair. Deal with it.

3. eechia - February 18, 2010

:) What a pleasant surprise to have chanced into your blog. :p

Glad to read this posting. You’re right, many of us, Malaysians still think of ethnicity first and nationality second, which should really be the other way round. Not easy to undo 52 years of racial intoxication done by our divide-and-rule government… but.. yeahh.. we’re slowly crawling there, and it does starts with such realisation…!
Slowly but surely, if we would just believe, we can bring Project Malaysia come to pass… ;)

zhiyuan - February 18, 2010

Hello… thanks for reading and getting the point of the post. I think I might not make my main point clear enough as shown by the rest of the comments, but i’m glad you got it! :)

4. zhiyuan - February 18, 2010

If I were to cover all aspects to this issue (as how you see it), a post here would not be suitable and would not be proper. The major motive of this post is certainly not to debate on why the richest people comprised of mainly just one ethnicity in Malaysia, nor bitching about why I can’t get rich, but:

1) NEP/NDP failed if we JUST look at this top ten list alone (as I said, not trying to bring other aspects in)
2) The difference in reporting style between government and non-government-linked newspapers.
3) Most importantly, the first impression I got when I look at the list (ethnicity inequality) or all other statistical data in Malaysia is WRONG (in my opinion). Ethnicity should not come to our mind at all in this aspect as we are all Malaysians – nationality first, ethnicity second. Or on a more unreasonable scale – earth first, states/nationality second. This average Joe’s take on ethnicity-first-mentality is the root of the problem(s) (basis of this post), if all of us look at it (and all other things) nationality first, my post here and your arguments would be irrelevant.

Life is unfair, yes, but I’m not bitching. I’m here to try to send a message. Probably I did not send the message out correctly, or you misunderstood me, do shoot back if you wish.

5. joseph chong - June 7, 2011

These 10 top richest persons are up there because of sheer hard work, seizing opportunities, toiling and sweating.Beside these people, there are many more who can make it to the list but unable to do so because their money cannot see the daylight! Ill-gotten money through all forms of corruption.

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