“Why do Wee Ka Sing and Lim Guan Eng need to be racists? Why play the race card?”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
The following is what FMT reported yesterday:
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has joined the pushback against a remark by Dr Mahathir Mohamad about wealthy Chinese, days after MCA made a snide remark about his party’s silence.
Lim said in a post on his Facebook page yesterday that “Malaysia is not colour-coded” and that “skin colour does not guarantee that you are rich or poor. This is wrong”.
Melaka chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali had also joined the fray yesterday, saying it was unfair to stereotype by saying that only one community is rich without obtaining the proper facts.
The issue arose last week when MCA president Wee Ka Siong protested about Mahathir’s comment in an interview with a Hong Kong-based website. Mahathir had been quoted as saying that Malaysian Chinese were a “wealthy lot”, with a majority of them living in the cities and urban centres which he said was an “unhealthy trend”.
Wee said on Saturday that Mahathir should stop perpetuating the myth that Chinese Malaysians were rich, and that such unfair stereotyping was harmful to racial harmony.
The MCA president took a jab at DAP for not making any response to Mahathir’s remarks. “Is DAP now so afraid of telling Dr Mahathir off?” he said, in a reference to DAP’s support of Mahathir after he resigned as prime minister in February, and his subsequent attempt at regaining the position.
To both Wee and Lim, following are some facts and figures to justify Mahathir’s claim that the Chinese are indeed a wealthy lot:
The figure above illustrates how the Chinese segment is overrepresented in the top one per cent income group (pre-tax national income) between the years 2002 and 2014.
The figure above illustrates how the Bumiputra segment is overrepresented in the bottom 50 per cent income group (pre-tax national income) between the years 2002 and 2014.
See the gaps?
The figures were presented in a report by the World Inequality Lab that presented evidence from distributional national accounts between the years 1984 and 2014.
On the 5thof October 2019, the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration announced plans to raise the earnings of the Bumiputera majority, slashing Malaysia’s inter-ethnic income gap to within 10 per cent by 2030 by sending the economy up the value chain according to its Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV).
On the same day, Mahathir, who launched the SPV, said the Bumiputera segment found their share of the pie reducing in recent years especially compared to the economically dominant Chinese minority.
“The gap whether between Bumiputera or Indians to Chinese has expanded between 3.5 and four times in the past 27 years,” he said, referring to their respective median household incomes.
He also revealed that between 2011 and 2015, the Bumiputera corporate equity fell from 23.4 per cent to 16.2 per cent while foreigners increased their holdings to 45.3 per cent from 37.2 per cent.
“The 30 per cent Bumiputera equity target set in the New Economic Policy has yet to be achieved,” he said, referring to the set of pro-Bumiputera policies introduced in 1970 after deadly race riots broke out the year before.
Guan Eng was Minister of Finance back then and was therefore involved in the formulation and launching of the SPV, one way or the other.
In other words, not only did Guan Eng know the figures Mahathir presented, it was his ministry that helped provide them along with the Ministry of Economic Affiars, led by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
So why con the rakyat now or deny that a huge gap exists between the Chinese and the Bumiputra segments?
And where was Wee Ka Siong in all this?
Never once did Mahathir say “Malaysia is colour-coded” or that “skin colour guarantees your wealth status.”
Neither did he “stereotype the Chinese” as Wee Ka Siong put it. All he did was state a fact both Wee and Guan Eng are well aware of.
So why be racists? Why play the race card?
Are the Chinese so great that nobody can discuss them?