As expected, we had a heated debate when touching on the distribution of wealth in the 9th Malaysia Plan in the RTM1 live telecast "Debat Perdana" last night.
There were 2 UMNO representatives, Senator Hj Mohd Puad Hj Zarkasi and Dato Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, and a representative from the pro-UMNO Yayasan Kajian dan Strategik Melayu (Malay Research and Strategy Foundation), Dato Mohd Dahan Abdul Latiff, in the same panel moderated by Datuk Johan Jaafar.
There was an attempt to rely on the views of Amy Chua, a professor in Yale University, in her book, "World On Fire" to portray the Chinese Malaysians as the market-dominant minority similar to that of Philippine and Indonesia which I, without hesitation, distinguished on the ground that the extreme cases of 1% population of Chinese in Philippine controlling 60% of its economy and 3% population of Chinese in Indonesia controlling 70% of its economy were in no way similar to once 35% and now 26% population of Chinese in Malaysia controlling only 39% of Malaysia economy.
I also emphasized the importance of the Bumiputra acquiring skills to manage wealth rather than harping the issue of distribution as statistics would show that if the wealth distributed to the Bumiputra for the past 30 odd years were properly managed, the target of 30% Bumiputra equity set by the government would have had been met long ago.
At this juncture, I quipped that some Malays had given the impression that they "get rich fast, live in luxury, stay in big houses, marry three wives and travel in chauffeur driven Mercedes" (cepat kaya, hidup mewah, rumah besar, isteri tiga, Mercedes berdrebar).
One important point I brought up was for the Malaysians to adopt the "Blue Ocean Strategy" to explore the oversea markets rather than to struggle among ourselves in a relatively small Malaysia market. That may be the right answer to increase our wealth for fair distribution.