Kulturen von Arbeit und Kapital

Teil 3: Kapitaleignerkulturen

6. Asiatische Beziehungsnetzwerke

7. Malaysia: Bumiputra

von Margarete Payer

mailto: payer@payer.de

Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Margarete <1942 - >: Kulturen von Arbeit und Kapital. -- Teil 3: Kapitaleignerkulturen. -- 6. Asiatische Beziehungsnetzwerke. -- 7. Malaysia: Bumiputra. -- Fassung vom 2005-10-20. -- URL: http://www.payer.de/arbeitkapital/arbeitkapital030607.htm           

Erstmals publiziert: 2005-10-11

Überarbeitungen: 2005-10-20 [Ergänzungen]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung an der Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Wintersemester 2005/06

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0. Übersicht

1. Bumiputra

 The neutrality of this article is disputed.
Please see discussion on the talk page.

Bumiputra or Bumiputera (Sanskrit, translated literally, it means "sons of the Earth"; Malay, translated literally, it means "princes of the Earth"), is an official definition widely used in Malaysia, embracing ethnic Malays as well as other indigenous ethnic groups.

In practice, however, the term Bumiputra was probably created to address collectively the group described in article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution.


In Malaysia, by convention, it is generally considered that all Malays are Bumiputras and that all Bumiputras are Malay. This is technically incorrect, as there are cases of non-Malays declared as Bumiputra, and similarly of non-Muslim Malays who are not considered Bumiputra. However, the definition of Bumiputra clearly excludes ethnic Chinese. Non-Muslim Indians are similarly excluded.

This confusion is compounded by the fact that different ministries of the government may have different definitions themselves. What is not obscure is that preferential treatment of Bumiputras versus other races is built into the Malaysian Constitution. Racial policies were a major key of Mahathir bin Mohamad's policies during his tenure as Prime Minister from 1981 until 2003, as laid out in his own book The Malay Dilemma (1970).

The Malaysian Federal Constitution has clauses specifically addressing the area of Malay rights but does not explicitly protect any Bumiputra rights per se. Article 153 states that:

"the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (The King of Malaysia) shall exercise his functions... in such a manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special position of the Malays... to ensure the reservation... of such proportion... in the public service... and of scholarships... and other similar educational... privileges or special facilities given... by the Federal Government".

The Constitution defines Malays as being one who "professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay customs and is the child of at least one parent who was born within the Federation of Malaysia before independence on the 31st of August 1957".


Certain pro-bumiputra policies known as the Bumiputra Laws exist as a means of affirmative action for bumiputras. Such policies include quotas for the following: admission to government educational institutions, qualification for public scholarships, positions in government and ownership in business. Most of them were established in the Malaysian New Economic Policy (NEP). Examples of such policies include:

  • Companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur) must find Bumiputras to take up a minimum 30% of equity to satisfy listing requirements. MSC status companies listed on MESDAQ, Malaysia's latest stock exchange, modelled on the NASDAQ and other 'tech' stock exchanges are not subject to this requirement.
  • A certain percentage of housing in any development has to be sold to Bumiputra owners. Housing developers are required to provide a minimum 7% discount to Bumiputra buyers of these lots.
  • A basket of government guaranteed and run mutual funds are available for purchase by Bumiputra buyers only.
  • Many government tendered projects require that companies submitting tenders be bumiputra owned. This requirement has led to non-Bumiputras teaming up with Bumiputra companies to obtain projects in a practice known as "Ali Baba" where Ali (the Bumiputra) exists solely to satisfy this requirement and Baba (the non Bumiputra) gives Ali a certain sum in exchange.
  • Projects were earmarked for Malay contractors to gain expertise in various fields. Often these projects would be sold as the bidders were not interested in the work, only in the gains that could be made from winning such a tender.
  • Approved Permits (APs) for automobiles preferentially allow Bumiputra to import vehicles. Automotive companies wishing to bring in cars need to have an AP to do so. APs were originally created to allow Bumiputra participation in the automotive industry since they were issued to companies with at least 70% Bumiputra ownership. In 2004, the Edge (a business newspaper) estimated that APs were worth approximately RM 35,000 a piece. They also estimated that Nasimuddin Amin, chairman of the Naza group received 6,387 for 2003, making him the largest recipient of APs. 12,234 APs were issued in 2003. In addition to APs, foreign car marquees are required to pay between 140% to 300% as an import duty.

Most of these advantages only exist in public policy. Private sector implementation is often to satisfy legal requirements and results in tokenism.

In addition to the above economic advantages, Bumiputras also receive other privileges in public tertiary education:

  • Racial quotas exist for entry into public education. In 2004, Dr. Amir Shafie, the newly appointed Higher Education Minister, stated that he "will ensure the quota of Malay students' entry into universities is always higher". This was demonstrated in 2004 when Non-Bumiputra students who scored 5As in the STPM (the highest possible grade) were denied admission to their first choice of study in public universities while Bumiputra students with lesser grades were nonetheless admitted.
  • Since 2000, the Government has discussed phasing out certain advantages, and reinstating a "meritocracy". The eventual result was the system of "Malaysian model meritocracy" begun in 2003. In the implementation, admission to public universities was not based upon a common examination like the SAT or A-Levels but rather upon two parallel systems of a one-year matriculation course and a two-year STPM (literally translated as "Malaysian Higher School Certificate (disambiguation)") programme. Bumiputras compose an overwhelming majority of entrants to the matriculation programme, leading to some complaints from the public, as the public university entry requirements are suggested to be easier for matriculation students.
  • Quotas also exist for Public Services Department (JPA) scholarships, which are full scholarships offered to students to study in leading universities worldwide. These scholarships are given on the basis of SPM (translated as "Malaysian Education Certificate", the equivalent of O-Levels) results, race and certain quotas. The JPA scholars then are sent to selected pre-university programmes offered by the government — from there, they apply to universities. Unlike Singapore's PSD scholarships, where scholars are chosen after they get admitted to a university, Malaysian PSD scholarships are guaranteed for the scholars from SPM and beyond, despite poor results during the course of the pre-university programme that would otherwise deprive them of the PSD scholarship.
Legitimacy of special rights

Bumiputra privileges and quotas are based on article 153 of the constitution which states that : 'It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article'. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy hence the responsibilities of the YDP are regarded as the responsibilities of the state.

Clause 5 of article 153 specifically reaffirms article 136 of the constitution which states: 'All persons of whatever race in the same grade in the service of the Federation shall, subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, be treated impartially.'

Clause 9 of article 153 states 'Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays.'

Article 89 of the constitution (clause 2) states: 'Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.'


The Bumiputra laws stand out as an unusual public policy where preferential actions benefit the majority race of a country, and some argue that the advantages afforded to bumiputras border on outright racism. The government also argues that the legal and economic advantages are necessary for Malaysia to reduce ethnic conflict. The NEP, in particular, was spurred by large racial riots on May 13, 1969.

Another controversial aspect is that the Orang Asli of peninsular Malaysia are not considered Bumiputra under the Federal constitution. As their settlement predates that of the Malays, this is considered unfair by many, especially as they are also much worse off than the Malays. As such, various groups including SUHAKAM, the Malaysian Commission of Human Rights have called for the government to recognise Orang Asli as Bumiputra.


In 2004, Mohd. Johari Baharum, parliamentary secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, stated that the PSD scholarships would remain quota based. He added that there were no plans to convert this to a merit based system, and that the total value of the PSD scholarship since 1996 was 2.4 billion Ringgit. [2] There have been reported cases of students who failed to get PSD scholarships, but were later admitted to leading universities.

In 2004, Dr. Amir Shafie, the newly appointed Higher Education Minister, stated that he would "ensure the quota of Malay students' entry into universities is always higher".

Public questioning of rights

At the 55th annual general assembly of the largest political party in Malaysia, the United Malays National Organisation, the deputy chairperson Badruddin Amiruldin cautioned against questioning the Bumiputra's special rights, and was met with approval from the delegates: "Let no one from the other races ever question the rights of Malays on this land. Don’t question the religion because this is my right on this land."

Present condition of the Bumiputra

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad has bemoaned the extreme reliance of Bumiputras on their privileges: "We have tried to tell them if you depend on subsidies, you are going to be very weak. But they don’t seem to understand. We tell them if you use crutches, you will not be able to stand up. Throw away the crutches, stand up straight because you still have the capacity. I have talked about this thing and as a doctor I know very well the meaning of crutches but somehow or rather they want the easy way out. If I get an AP and I sell it and make some money, it’s all right, they say."

He also spoke of the government project to build school computer labs which were awarded to Bumiputra contractors: "The great debacle was the computer labs. We tried to help as many people as possible because we were accused of giving things to only a selected few. But every one of them sold their contracts. Sold and sold and sold until finally the last man could not sell and had to do the work. He then found he would make terrible losses and so he tried to cut corners, used bad materials and the labs collapsed. They know it, they see it right before their eyes but they learn nothing. Next time they will do it again."

Mahathir (who was also education minister previously) also said in 2004 that Malay graduates tend to have low employment rates because "the Chinese graduates choose the right subjects so they are employable. We find that the Malay graduates, especially those from the Malay stream, can’t speak English at all. No matter how much value you put on a certificate, the fact remains that an employer wants somebody with whom he can communicate. The employer is not Malay, he is a foreigner. And if he’s not going to be able to communicate with you, he will not take you.""

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumiputera. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-26]

2. Nichtmalaiische Finanzgiganten

2.1. Robert Kuok Hock Nien (郭鶴年) (1923 - )

Abb.: Robert Kuok
[Bildquelle: http://www.acadmed.org.my/html/tun_dr_ismail_oration.htm. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27]

"Robert Kuok Hock Nien (郭鶴年, pinyin: Guō Hènián) (born October 6, 1923, in Johor Bahru, in then Malaya) is reputedly the richest man in Malaysia. He has married twice and has eight children. He received his education from Raffles College, Singapore. He is currently residing in Hong Kong.

After graduation, he helped out at his father’s company, and later founded the Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd in 1949. He began investing in the sugar refinery business and became known as the "Sugar King" of Malaysia.

He quickly moved into other businesses, establishing the largest flour mill in Malaysia. His business interests range from sugarcane plantations, sugar refinery, flour milling, animal feed, oil and mining to finance, hotels, properties, trading and freight.

Kuok controls the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Chain, Kerry Group, Perlis Plantations Bhd, and dozens of other companies. Nowadays, Kuok Khoon Ean one of Robert's sons, handles most of the day-to-day operations of his businesses."

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kuok. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27]

"郭鹤年 Robert Kuok Hock-Nien (Malaysia)

The Sugar King; Hotel, Property And Media Tycoon


BORN:                    Oct. 6, 1923, in Johor Baru, Malaya

EDUCATION:            Raffles College, Singapore

FAMILY:                  Married twice, eight children

Robert Kuok Hock Nien is reputedly the richest man in Malaysia. While handing more authority to the next generation, Kuok remains the man in charge, and he is using the tough times to train his successors.

Kuok’s Youth

Kuok was born in 1923 in Johor Bahru, the son of a well-off commodities trader. 

His ancestral town was in Fujian province, China.

An old boy of Raffles College in Singapore, he was a schoolmate of Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in the late 40s.  After graduation, he helped out at his father’s company, and founded the Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd in 1949.

Acquiring the Mastery of Business

After founding the Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, Kuok first started investing in the sugar refinery business. 

In 1957,  Malaya achieved independence from its English colonial master.  Kuok immediately seized the opportunity to swiftly establish his business network throughout Malaysia, based on an end-to-end (raw materials Ú processing Ú distribution) business model.  He also mastered the intricacies of commodities trading in London in the 50s.  By the 70s, he was known as the "Sugar King" as he controlled up to 10percent of the global sugar market.

After proclaiming success in the sugar refinery business, he quickly moved into other businesses, and established the largest flour mill in Malaysia.

Since the 60s, Kuok has relied heavily on his “gentlemanly” way of doing business to become a mover and shaker in industry.  He was fast in spotting opportunities from at home and abroad, and used his excellent connections with government and industry to rapidly scale up his empire.  In this way, he forged many strategic alliances with other parties.  With the government, he joint hands to form a shipping company, and later built hotels, office buildings and convention centres.  With partners, he founded banks.  Thus, through business savvy, open-mindedness and his links, he has diversified into almost everything under the sun.  Apart from a plethora of enterprises in Malaysia, he operates in many other countries and regions like Singapore, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Fiji and Australia.  His business interests span from sugarcane plantations, sugar refinery, four milling, animal feed, oil and mining to finance, hotels, properties, trading and freight.

Kuok currently controls the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts Chain, Kerry Group, Perlis Plantations Bhd, and dozens of other companies.  In the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, under family-owned Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, he commands a market worth of RM2.1 billion (as of 1997), even though his publicly-traded holdings worldwide is probably worth more than 10 times that.

Secret of His Success

When asked this, Kuoks aides will invariably say: “Mr Kuok is a true gentleman. He has the power to make his opponents yield willingly, and is a genuinely amicable man.  And he makes it a personal effort to ensure that all his employees embrace this ‘gentlemanly’ way of conducting business.”

Kuok’s gentlemanly ways are also well-recognised among his peers.  He has many a time bailed out his contemporaries in distress, and furthermore, he does not seek the limelight, preferring to live a life of thrift and simplicity, winning him accolades and admiration near and far. 

Compiled and translated by Willie Hsu"

[Quelle: http://www.huayinet.org/biography/biography_kuokhocknien.htm. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27]

"Robert Kuok - network Zen master

If anyone were proclaimed a Zen master of networking, it would be Malaysian-born, Singapore-educated Robert Kuok. His skill at managing within the network's structure has earned him the sobriquet of the 'World's shrewdest businessman' from Forbes magazine. Just as many other prominent Overseas Chinese businessmen, Kuok has substantial operations in several countries. Pinpointing some of his companies' headquarters can often prove confusing. Sometimes a company's operations become so closely associated with a host country that each subsidiary appears local. The Far East Group, headed by tycoon Ng Teng Fong, provides such an example. The Far East Group has substantial stakes in both Hong Kong and Singapore, and in both instances, Far East in Singapore, and Sinoland in Hong Kong, the operations seem local.

With other companies, situations may arise similar to the Kuok Group's and any company's headquarters may become mobile. Singapore served as Kuok's first headquarters because of the company's early emphasis on trading and Singapore's position as an entrepot. Singapore's position as headquarters was further enhanced after he founded his phenomenally successful Shang-ri-La Hotel chain with its flagship hotel in Singapore. However, later, according to rumors, Kuok moved his headquarters to Malaysia due to differences with the local authorities, and many still consider Kuok a Malaysian businessman. He has vast holdings in properties, plantations, utilities and dozens of other businesses in Malaysia. In the 1970s he earned the title of the 'Sugar King' because he controlled 10 per cent of the world's sugar trade. Regardless, Hong Kong hosts his headquarters these days; different members of his family steer various businesses in different countries. Though Hong Kong plays official host to the Kuok Group's headquarters, operationally, the other nodes in Kuok's network web can equal the headquarters in importance, and sometimes surpass it.

Seemingly proving the Confucian reasons for bias against merchants, Kuok has demonstrated extreme mobility, moving headquarters from one location and state to another. Sometimes he moves for convenience, sometimes for political reasons, and sometimes for strategic preferences. Mostly, the network Zen master doesn't care to explain his reasons."

[Quelle: Haley, George T. ; Tan, Chin Tiong ;  Haley, Usha C. V.: New Asian emperors : the overseas Chinese, their strategies and competitive advantages. -- Oxford [u.a.]  : Butterworth Heinemann, 1998. --  XII, 164 S. : Ill. ; 24 cm. -- S. 63. -- ISBN 0750641304. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch  bei amazon.de bestellen}]

2.2. Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong (林梧桐) (1918 - )

Lim Goh Tong

Abb.: Umschlagtitel

"Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong (Chinese: 林梧桐; pinyin: Lín Wútóng) is the Malaysian casino king. Lim was born in Fujian Province, China in 1918. He left China and made a fortune in large-scale construction projects throughout Malaysia. In 1969, the Malaysian government granted its only casino license to Lim. His Genting Group operates the Genting Highlands casino resort in the mountains 25 miles northeast of Kuala Lumpur."

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lim_goh_tong. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27] 

2.3. Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan (1938 - )

Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan

Abb.: T. Ananda Krishnan (1938 - )

"Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan is currently Malaysia's second richest businessman, having a net worth estimated at 3.2 billion dollars. He was born in 1938 in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur's "Little India" to a Ceylonese immigrant family. Ananda Krishnan hates public exposure and maintains a very low profile. However, his hugely successful business activities always thrust him into the lime light.

Ananda Krishnan studied in Vivekananda Tamil School in Kuala Lumpur and further continuing his studies at Victoria Instituition Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Later, he attended the University of Melbourne for B.A. (Honours) degree. After that Krishnan attended the Harvard University for a Masters in Business Administration in 1964.

Ananda Krishnan’s first entrepreneurial venture is into oil trading. Later he moved into gambling (in Malaysia), stud farming (in Australia) and running a Hollywood cartoon studio. Soon, he diversified into a host of other business opportunities. In the early part of the 1990s, he started diversifying, in a big way, into multimedia arena. Currently, he has business interests in entertainment, space, oil, power, shipping, telecommunications, property and gaming. His companies operate in a most parts of the South East Asia. A quarter of his wealth comes from the gambling business (lottery, horse-racing wagering).

Abb.: Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Bildquelle: Wikipedia)

Ananda Krishnan is the man who built the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world's tallest buildings. He is also the owner of two telecommunication companies - Maxis Communications and MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems - and has two communication satellites circumnavigating the earth. Maxis Communications Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest cellular phone company, has more than 5 million subscribers, with more than 30% market share in Malaysia. He is also the head of Astro All Asia Networks Plc, the only company that is currently providing satellite TV in Malaysia. Krishnan has a chain of multiplex theatres which holds more than 800 movie titles.

Krishnan is a close friend of former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and he is the older brother to fellow businessman Maya Krishnan."

[Quelle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Krishnan. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27]

"Having made his fortune from property, gaming and oil trading, T. Ananda Krishnan, 63, is looking to position himself as Southeast Asia's communications baron. His MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems offers high-quality alternatives to stodgy government programs over 24 television and eight radio channels. His multiplex cinemas bring the latest movies to Malaysians. Ananda also plans to offer TV services featuring Web-based interactivity. The ethnic Sri Lankan Tamil tycoon may be known as a recluse, but that has not stopped him from touching people's lives every day.

T. Ananda Krishnan, one of Malaysia's shrewdest tycoons, bought 46% of Maxis, the country's biggest cellular phone company, from British Telecom and AT&T for $680 million - raising his stake to 70%. With 1.7 million subscribers, it has over 30% of the cellular phone market.

Australian-educated Ananda made his mark in the 80s as an oil trader. He is an enigma - a close friend of both Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Mahathir's former arch-foe Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. (He brokered the peace deal between them five years ago.) Ananda first came to prominence helping organize the Live Aid concert with Bob Geldof in the mid-1980s. From oil, he expanded into a Hollywood cartoon studio, stud farms in Australia and lotteries in Malaysia. It was Ananda who sold Mahathir on the 88-story Petronas Towers, which he now part-owns. In the early 90s he began building a multimedia empire that now includes Astro (Malaysia's pay-TV network), Maxis and Measat, which has satellites in Asia. He also has stakes in TVB.com (the interactive arm of Hong Kong's main broadcaster) and the Shaw Brothers' movie archives.

Apart from getting more of Maxis (which makes him the biggest private telecom player in Malaysia), Ananda is about to make a $1.2 billion bid for Singapore's No.2 cellular company, M1. Australia's Telstra has been stalking M1 for months to roll into its joint venture with Hong Kong's PCCW (which already has 15% of M1). But M1's other shareholders, like Singapore's Keppel Telecom and Singapore Press Holdings, want the best price. Analysts believe Telstra may not be game to get into a bidding war, especially with the state of the Australian dollar. Talk is the final price could be as much as $1.8 billion - way above what Telstra figured on.

Ananda has said he wants a regional media empire that can deliver broadband. But he may be looking for a global partner that doesn't have a presence in Southeast Asia. Some analysts bet he will go with Vodafone, the world's biggest cellular service provider. It has operations in Australia and New Zealand and has been trying to float part of them. The bet now: Vodafone Australasia seeks to merge with a Maxis-M1 combination, gaining a massive footprint in the region and emerging as a formidable challenger to Telstra and SingTel."

[Quelle: http://www.boi.lk/famous/Ananda.asp. -- Zugriff am 2005-09-27]

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