Malaysiakini has also reported on Dr Lim's study here and here. Cheekily, the Malaysiakini journalists sought and obtained feedbacks from some of the academics in local universities on the above findings.
Prof Dato' Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia:
“I am very sceptical about the study which has been carried out by a particular race. They (the race) usually have their own agendas,” said Shamsul. According to him, the study did not contain accurate facts.Is that an academic reply? Or is that an UMNO politician's reply worthy of the Bung Mokthar Radins and Noh Omars? What has the race of the researcher, if the research is credible, got to with it? So, only bumiputeras can research on the equity ownership of bumiputeras in Bursa Malaysia?
“So I want to know who conducted the study? When was it done and which angle they (the researchers) were looking at? What is the motive behind the study? Is the research for the public or for participants at a certain forum?” he asked when contacted yesterday.
Dato' Shamsul Amri Baharuddin is a Professor of Social Anthropology, and currently Director of both the Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (ATMA), and the newly established Institute of Occidental Studies (IKON) at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. What worries me is that this is the same joker who has been given the task and responsibility (after many confusing U-turns by the Government) of compiling and editing the new ethnic relations guidebook since the controversial one was published by one of his peers.
Is this Prof Dato' Dr Shamsul even academically mature and qualified enough to perform such tasks when he had the cheek to ask such obviously unacademic questions?
[Update: Note that Dr Shamsul has written to Malaysiakini subsequently to state that the remarks made were taken very much out of context and was not specifically referring to the Dr Lim's report. His explanation is blogged by Kian Ming here, and published by Malaysiakini here. If the original Malaysiakini report which this post is based on, is indeed a misrepresentation of what Dr Shamsul offered, I'd extend my unreserved apologies here.]
Lecturer Judhiana Abdul Ghani of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM):
She said many people would disbelieve the report because the distribution of wealth is not comprehensive.Huh? So has the 45% target achievement of equity by bumiputeras in Bursa Malaysia been achieved or not? I've read the sentences a couple of times and it appears that she can't make up her mind on whether the report will be "disbelieved" or that the target "may have been achieved".
“On the overall, the (30 percent) bumiputera equity ownership may have been achieved with the inclusion of GLCs (government-linked companies) but it is only focused on a small group while the rest of the community does not enjoy it. Actually what’s most important is to let more bumiputeras acquire that said equity,” she said.
The question isn't whether the setting of such targets is relevant, but whether the target set by the Government based on the Government's valid or misguided definitions have been achieved or even exceeded.
Prof Lim wasn't disputing the fact that the 30% target for equity in Bursa Malaysia is irrelevant or at best, a poor gauge of wealth distribution, both inter-ethnic or intra-ethnic groups in Malaysia. He's just saying that based on realistic calculations, the 30% equity ownership target as set by the Government in its New Economic Policy has long been achieved and exceeded.
Prof Lim may very well be wrong in his calculations, and it won't be a first time for academics to make calculation errors. But if that is the case, then demonstrate one's logical, analytical and numerical skills to disprove the earlier findings. Please do not embarrass the Malaysian academia by spouting irrational, racially-biased and emotive barbs or convoluted and unfocused arguments. Other more competent academics at UKM and UPM must have been shrivelling in embarrassment and disgust.
Gosh, I'd probably flunk my politics and economics papers had I gotten the privilege of being under their tutelage. I just cannot imagine myself achieving their standards.