Thursday, March 06, 2008

Damned Lies and Statistics

* 95% of government contracts are given to malays

* 100% all business licensees are controlled by malay government e.g. Approved Permits, Taxi Permits, etc

* 80% of the Chinese rice millers in Kedah had to be sold to malay controlled Bernas in 1980s. Otherwise, life is make difficult for Chinese rice millers

* 100 big companies set up, managed and owned by Chinese Malaysians were taken over by government, and later managed by malays since 1970s e.g. MISC, UMBC, UTC, etc

The above statistics are just some that I picked out from a variety of forwarded messages that I've received. It is not uncommon for us to get spam such as this, but with elections just around the corner, the regularity of such efforts have increased tenfolds.

It's understandable, given that many would like to do all they can to ensure that their view is put forth the strongest. People would give their all to ensure that everyone knows whatever it takes to vote for the party they believe in.

I do object, however, to the irresponsible advancement of emails such as these. I say irresponsible, as I refer to the blatant (mis)representation of facts to sway things. In essence, the repeat of lies that, over time, become the accepted 'truth' in the minds of many.

I don't necessarily refer to the ones above, but I do know that it feeds into the desires of many. The disgruntled, a big amount of which includes the minorities in Malaysia such as the Indians and the Chinese, would lap these things up, taking them as affirmation of the discrimination that they have had to suffer at the hands of the Malays.

I don't deny that that is the case, but I do disagree with the unconditional acceptance of such emails as facts. Even more so, I disagree with the distribution of the emails as facts. Like everything else in life, we ourselves have to check to ensure that the 'facts' bandied around are indeed true.

At least this is one thing that I can agree with (slightly) with the government. On the issue of bloggers, the establishment have always blasted the bloggers as being faceless, irresponsible liars. I don't believe that is the case across the board, but the potential, certainly, to be a lawless frontier is an incredible one.

So all I ask you to consider is the validity of such claims. People can say what they want, but ultimately, we have to be responsible for the words we say, the claims we make, and the actions that we take. To lay that choice at the hands of others is as ignorant and irresponsible an act that you could possibly make.

Oh, and another statistic in that email:

* 5% - 15% discount for a malay to buy a house, regardless whether the malay is poor or rich

Yeah, discount on a house that no one I know (including my Malay family and friends) can afford to buy. Nobody else talks about it, but the New Economic Policy is as much about class discrimination as it is about race discrimination.

Of course, class is not as sensational as race is, now, is it?

And it's Malay with a capital 'M', idiot.

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