To imply businesses discriminate does not make sense

businessBy TK Chua

Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (ICON) president Abdul Razak Baginda claims that corporate Malaysia is racially divided except perhaps for foreign companies. He said public-listed Malaysian companies were “all made up of one race” from the top to the middle levels. “Another race holds jobs as either drivers or despatch riders”. “Meanwhile, government-linked-companies are mono-racial.”

Business enterprises in Malaysia have long been labelled as racist, parochial and chauvinistic. It is understandable for politicians to make such statements from time to time in order to gain political capital. But for a researcher to make an accusation without giving a complete picture is really irresponsible and reckless. What really was Abdul Razak Baginda’s motive – a genuine concern for Malaysia?

Historically, Chinese Malaysians are always in business? If they are not in business, may I know what other ventures would they indulge in? Surely they are not that well-connected to import and maintain submarines.

Business enterprises exist for a primary reason – to create and maximise values and to make profits. They employ resources premised on value for money, efficiency and productivity. If not, they will lose out to competitors. It is as simple as that.

To imply that business enterprises deliberately discriminate does not make economic sense. Why should they selectively employ workers who can’t help to enhance the value of the company?

When business enterprises create employment, make profits and pay taxes; they have done their social/national responsibility. To impose more unreasonable burdens on them would only kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

It is the function of the government to perform social engineering. That is why we have affirmative action programmes, human resource development and GLCs.

It is easier for the government and GLCs to overlook efficiency and profits. Even then, there are limits to unfettered recruitment of personnel in total disregard of suitability, efficiency and productivity. The performance of some GLCs and government agencies has, to some extent, provided indication of the government over emphasising equity at the expense of competency.

Instead of pointing fingers, I think it is better to prepare our people for efficiency and productivity. Train them well and prepare them to take up challenges in jobs both in the private and public sectors. This is much better than pampering or blaming others for our own shortcomings.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

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