These are just some of the examples of the large-scale deception and denial of institutional racism, where defending the indefensible is now a norm, often emboldened by the view that no one can challenge the Malay political elite despite how discredited they are.
The truth being that we have a system where no one is really accountable to the public. No one, even when convicted in the courts, apparently goes to jail.
So, beyond hiring along racial lines and ensuring GLCs and the civil service are Malay dominated, with no affirmative action for the minorities, there is the discrimination within the mandates of the GLCs and what they see as their objectives.
In short, their role apparently is not to serve the nation and its citizens irrespective of race, but to serve the Malays and their political masters, the Malay political elite who pull all the strings.
So much for the GLCs preaching about good governance and nation building. So much for all those ESG reports on environmental, social and governance impacts by the Big Four.
By not calling out institutional racism, which is ultimately the elephant in the room in corporate Malaysia, the Big Four have become part of this collusion.
This also glaringly misses what the S for Social in ESG actually stands for.
Thus, it is time to call out this denial, showcase how institutional racism is part of the mandate of the GLCs, and that board members and CEOs run the risk of being viewed by the public and international investors as highly-paid apparatchiks of alpha-racists in government.
It is time for boards and CEOs to come clean to protect their reputations with public statements about their views on how state-sponsored institutional racism is something they reject and why it will ruin the GLCs and the economy over time.
Before making more pious statements about aspiring to Net Zero Carbon, they should be making clear statements about Zero Racism in the businesses they run. After all, the taxpayers of this country deserve a reply and many of them are non-Malays.
Based on the ideas discussed in this article, here is a list of areas which perpetuate racial injustice and about which the boards of GLCs need to speak out and abandon:
Active discrimination in the hiring of staff.
Board appointees being predominately Malay, to the point where the finance ministry has to intervene to mitigate this behaviour where possible.
Procurement and awarding of government contracts to companies with Malay majority stakes.
Scholarships awarded selectively and unfairly to Malays over others.
Favourable housing loans and mortgages.
Malay-only funds and investment schemes.
Preferential access to shares.
Loans and grants for Malay entrepreneurship.
Some of these are directly tied to what they do and the basis of their business, e.g., operating funds and providing loans based on racial lines which actively discriminate against non-Malays.
Thus, if GLC CEOs are anti-racist, then here are actions they can take individually or as a collective:
Sponsor studies and analyses of institutional racism to demonstrate how destructive it can be to the economy and society.
Put in place Zero Tolerance for Racism policies – before carbon Net Zero claims – including affirmative action for minorities.
Disclose in ESG reports where they fall short and where they can improve with regards to racism – the key aspect of “Social” in ESG for Malaysia.
Pressure the government not to discriminate against non-Malays in education – removing the 90% quote for the matriculation programme – given that this form of discrimination leads to a lack of meritocracy and undermines the effectiveness of education in its contribution to creating the next generation of Malaysians.
Make minorities 30% of the GLC workforce by 2030.
Make 40% of the boards of GLCs non-Malays.
Revoke the licence that allows contracts to be awarded only to companies that are Malay majority.
Financial institutions to stop participating in the provision of loans according to racial lines.