Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Chinese Myth-Buster

August 14, 2010
Liew’s firm is behind some of Malaysia’s biggest property developments, including in Putrajaya. — Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 – Top property developer Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin today punctured the Chinese community’s complaints that it had been treated unfairly by the government, pointing out that Malaysian-Chinese have fared well under pro-Bumiputera policies.

Liew, whose SP Setia Bhd is behind some of Malaysia’s biggest property developments including in Putrajaya, said statistics show there are more Chinese-controlled firms than Bumiputera companies on the local bourse.

“Statistically, Forbes magazine shows that the Malaysian-Chinese can prosper over the last 30 years,” said the SP Setia president and chief executive.

According to Forbes, Chinese-controlled companies account for 37 per cent of market capitalisation among the top 100 Malaysian listed companies, compared to Bumiputera equity of seven per cent.

Chinese individuals also control 73 per cent of the wealth owned by the top 40 richest Malaysians and make up eight of the top 10 richest Malaysians.

“Have we fared badly?” Liew asked rhetorically.

He pointed out that Chinese small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) had done very well too, and that their owners could even afford to buy the multi-million ringgit bungalows put up by his company.

“One Chinaman want to build a bungalow of RM40 million!” he said.

“That’s wealth. Where did wealth come from? The wealth came in the last 30 years of so-called NEP (New Economic Policy) policies.”

Liew also argued that the increased presence of government-linked companies (GLCs) in the market meant that Chinese businesses would soon have no choice but to tap into Malay expertise and funds if they wished to increase revenues in the future.

“Today, the government has money through GLCs (government-linked companies)... They can buy buildings off you, they can buy your supermarkets, your hypermarkets, you shopping centres from you. That will give you a big source of income,” he said.

“It’s up to us. Do we want to tap into their expertise, financial abilities? Do you want to tap into their so-called connections?”

However, Liew stressed that such Malay-Chinese cooperation required a spirit of give-and-take.

“Before we start asking them to give us more liberal policies... we must also allow them to come to our sector, things that we are good at. If not, this so-called collaboration will not happen. They will not allow us,” he said.

“If we were to say we want to take a bigger pick from this economic cake from under the NEM (New Economic Policy)... we must also learn to give in.

“We must also learn to take a step back. We must also learn how to live with their culture, their mindset.”

He explained that the Malays still feared that the Chinese would “run over them and kill all of them” if they (the Chinese) were not bound by pro-bumiputera policies.

“That is their mindset. Whether it’s inferiority complex or whether it’s upbringing, whether it’s cultural... it is there,” he said.

Liew reminded delegates that it was only pragmatic for Chinese companies to link up with Malay ones as business was all about profit, not politics.

“We’re in business. Our job is to make money,” he said.

“Are we prepared to be a small fish in big market or the big fish in a small market? It’s up to us"

The Malaysian Insider


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Anonymous said...

Gretings Hantu,

These are wealth which can be quantified most notably because of their holdings in 'listed' entities. Their true wealth is at best an estimate. As for the truly wealthy malays, most are held in private vehicles that has no reliabnle market estimates. The Naza empire I'm sure is worth billions..... That Pek Moh from Sarawak is easily in the top 5 but is not mentioned for obvious reason.

I do not deny that the Malaysian Dream is very much alive, i.e. one can achieve success if one works hard for it but there in lies the caveat: working hard to succeed instead of relying on handouts :P

LevelPlayingFieldMalay said...

Mr Ghost,

Im all for the best for the Malays and this country.Anwar Ibrahim , Lim Kit Siang are my enemy number 1.

What will happen to other level Malays like me who cannot enter either UMNO's market and Chinese's market.

That guy was talking about GLC as if its a Malay market. But the GLC market is limited only to some close connected people.

The NEP was good in some areas....let say in RM50,000 below business the one limited at bazar MARA. Further up you will be greeted by gate keepers that only the Chinese can penetrate because they have the capital.

He was right that NEP has successfully made Chinese richer...they have intruded into the Malay territory.In a way he was stating the obvious that the Chinese should take advantage of NEP because it failed to help the Malays but the Chinese can continue prospering.

I have stated above that NEP did help the Malays in some areas especially education. It helped educating the Malays up to a very high standard..the makan gaji type. But in today's world where internet, cross border knowledge,private education are everywhere and easy to get, the Malays found that they're now competing in the job market which is good where the creme will come on top.

NEP is supposed to be about business not education only and not to be confused with Hak Keistimewaan Bumiputra. Somebody is taking advantage of this confusion to either support or reject NEP as a whole..while we should actually nit pick which component is doing bad and which is doing great. Threin lies the real problem.

Hantu Laut said...


Yes,I do believe there are some very rich Malays but could not declare their wealth because they are either in private holding or from sources that they can't disclose.

I believe, Daim is also a billionaire but Forbes can't get the value of his wealth because of very private and intricate business setup.

I am not sure about Naza's wealth. I am sure they are pretty loaded with liabilities too.

Hantu Laut said...


Are you saying the Malays are marginalised?

To be honest with you as far as government contracts are concerned the Malays outside UMNO has little chance of getting them.

They have to make their supporters happy first.

LevelPlayingFieldMalay said...

Dear Mr Hantulaut,

Isn't it obvious?
To put it bluntly, yes the Malays are marginalised.

Look at the result..its a direct translation of the action and effect. The result did not come naturally..its easy to shift the blame to the Malay's attitude as malas etc..are we saying those people that work in padi field, fishermen, laborers in construction as and I wont last 30minutes working there.

While they were barking up a wrong tree, we were territorial pissing the wrong bushes.We are only too happy to see our people holding power up there...but the power up there is something inherited from the days of kesultanan melaka,...its nothing new.It is there already. Are we going to let mediocre people to inherit those positions? We must set our standard high.

So if you look at the result...they failed.

Not only people outside UMNO failed in acquiring contracts..the normal people in UMNO also failed. Im not talking about government contracts only...even to get licenses and permit at the port for example you need to go through gate keepers of the ruling party...Port Klang MCA, Port Kuantan UMNO... these are licenses we need to do business not something that can make money without working hard. Unlike APs.

An UMNO YB told...its okay for the country to be bankrupted as long as the Malays at the top. It will of course defeat the purpose of holding onto the power if you cannot help your own people.

Why am I still supporting UMNO?
Because Nik Aziz, Anwar, LIM ect knew about this too....they just wanted the power to manipulate it further.

Anonymous said...

wealth came about because of patronage...and the will of heaven

ytl - power purchased at exobitant prices
teh - special treatment by chinese dy governor bnm
anada - reduction in gaming taxes; elimination of competition from tv3
quek - banking licence fro annuar ibrahim
vincent - sports toto privatization
tony - sil support

always a hidden helping hand
what say you to this hl?


Purple Haze said...

The Forbes list does omit some Malay personalities like Tun Daim, Taib Mahmud, the late Naza & Halim Saad since their private holdings are not reported. One wonders how many other Malay personalities are not listed due to the same reason.

Could it be that this "under the radar" wealth is also partially responsible for the govt's NEP figures being understated for bumiputera wealth ?

Elwan = ] said...

Well....i believe the top comments are sensible enough...but the question here is simple...were the Chinese & Indians really marginalised...?

talk about undeclared wealth...don't you think they should list all the hidden tycoons handling all the so called 'social joints' in too..?all the parlors, 'vocal training joints' and 'exotic vendors' does have owners & bosses too right...?If their so called lowest ranked staff could earn 5 figures a month, how much you think this organization run by these king pins make...?

Undeclared money all in the black plastic bags one...Ask uncle Karpal bout it & he'll tell u the story...he's so familiar will all the money in the black plastic bag...wonder how much money he maked undeclared...or did he declare them...?and the list goes on & on & on...

the NEP did help the Malays & the Non-Malays..the proof is all around us if we open our eyes big enough to see it...if we want too..just my two sense...haha..

Anonymous said...


Did the NEP help the Malays ? Yes, only those well connected to the upper echelon of the UMNO/BN tribe.

Did the NEP help the Chinese and Indians ? Yes, only those who are the cronies of those stated above.

And all these are merely a handfull relative to the total population of the country.....mean while, the rest of the population, be it malay, chinese, indian, natives of the borneo island are struggling to keep up, trying very hard not to be swept into the abyss, while being marginalised !

SM said...


You sure know how to twist the facts.
We are not talking about a few rich Billionaires lah!
we are talking about the common man.
The Chinese will survive no matter what because of their work ethic & sheer determination to succeed. Just look at any country in Asia...the Chinese do well. By the way, I'm not Chinese...I just appreciate their sheer determination to succeed no matter what you throw at them.
They don't need crutches to survive & thrive.
As for the Indians...3 Malaysian Billionaires don't mean squat to the thousands of Malaysian Indians rotting in the Estates & Slums...!

Hantu Laut said...


You are still sold on the idea that the Chinese and Indians are marginalised. It's simple, the Chinese and Indian in the street are the same as the Malay in the street.

The Chinese and Indians who made it because they don't feel marginalised and victimised.

What the people of this nation should fight against is corruptions and abuse of power not some fictional racial discrimination craps cooked up by some desperate politicians.

If there were victimisation and marginalisation most Chinese and Indians would be living in the ghettos as what Christian Europe did to the Jews before it was abolished in the 19th century.Hitler reinstated it before and during the Second World War.

The Chinese and Indians would not have a heck of a chance to become reasonably wealthy let alone millionaires and billionaires.

SM, I am rally disappointed that you actually believe and fall for this nonsense.

You should know by now, I usually write on issues rather than siding with one party or the other, although I still believe the BN concept is still the best and Anwar would not make a good prime minister.Anwar, is a hypocrite that I do not want to deal with as our leader.

Anwar is a good orator, doesn't mean he'll make a good leader.The trouble in PKR is a reflection of his poor leadership.

I don't believe in people who use demagoguery to gain support.They are nothing but a danger to this country.Anwar and Kit Siang are birds of the same feathers.