Be Fair, So What’s the Bumi Share?A. Kadir Jasin
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THE Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, according to The Star report today (May 12) said that Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) must be fair to all.
He was quoted as saying that the bank should always be “fair and just” to all.
The Prime Minister said the bank’s requirement that legal firms dealing with it must have a Bumiputera partner with at least a 50% stake was never a government directive.
Abdullah’s statement came after the bank was similarly admonished by two other Umno and Government VIPs, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak and his cousin Hishammuddin Hussein.
The former is the Deputy Prime Minister and the latter Education Minister and Umno Youth head, who is famous for unsheathing the kris and swearing by it. Najib too had his moment of glory when he led a Malay demonstration in 1987.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet directed Maybank to withdraw the directive following criticism from various groups including the MCA, Bar Council and the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Following that, the country’s biggest bank reversed this internal guideline and said it would elect its panel of lawyers based on efficiency, performance and merit, and not ethnic composition.
However, the Utusan Malaysia reported yesterday (May 11) that Malay intellectuals and businessmen were asking for Maybank to retain the 50% Bumiputera stake requirement.
I congratulate the Utusan for daring to publish the report on the front page. I hope its editor gets to keep his job.
Asked about the Maybank action, Abdullah, who is also Finance Minister, said there was “no need to ask Maybank to do this and that. They know what is needed.”
But the Cabinet had earlier ordered the bank what to do, i.e. to withdraw the ruling. So does it mean the Cabinet acted against the wishes of the Prime Minister?
On my part, I would like to ask Maybank if it has been “fair and just” to all Malaysians. By that I mean 60 per cent or more of its loans and advances are directed at the Bumiputeras, 30 per cent at the Chinese and seven per cent at the Indians.
It’s unfair and unjust if Bumiputeras receive less than that because they make up more than 60 per cent of the population.
No, the figure should not include loans and advances to the government, its agencies and GLCs as they belong not to the Bumiputeras but to all Malaysians.