Affirmative action (or any social engineering) is contentious; but necessary when an 'anomaly' occurs in the course of the development of a nation in which disparity, a big disparity occurs.
The Chinese society, besides being part of an old civilization, thus more exposed to commerce, and structured with their associations, guilds and secret societies, were actually ‘aided’ by the colonialists.
The British or western colonialists adopted the ‘divide and rule’ policy, and by default the Chinese were given the role of being their local business lackeys. The colonialists wanted the schism to exist between the various ethnic communities! In the context of today’s 1Malaysia, the earlier chinese were already 'bought', used and complicit in the machinations of the colonialists.
With this advantage, they flourished.
With the continued flow of business from the colonialists and later after independence, from the British and western companies with legacy investments in the country; plus the already large accumulated capital, extensive business infrastructure and ethic-based networks(locally and offshore –the Chinese Diaspora) - they monopolized, cornered and dominated the market in a very racially exclusive manner.
They still operate to this day - to dominate the market in a very racially exclusive manner like the galactic ‘black hole’.
Whatever business procured, the spinoffs, the supply side will only be distributed within their exclusive business ‘black hole’, ie. amongst their own.
So they had market dominance in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand.
So naturally the disparity grew and the grip tightened.
To have earlier called it an 'anomaly' is too polite! It is pure racism!
Amy Chua (Yale University, author of “World on Fire”) puts it:
“On the positive side, I think we have to find ways to spread the benefits of global markets beyond just the small group of market-dominant minorities and foreign investors. We need to find ways to redistribute the wealth, whether it's property title and giving poor people property, land reform .... Redistributive mechanisms are tough to have if you have so much corruption.
I discuss, not just wildly and enthusiastically, but there are "affirmative action" policies for the majority. It shouldn't be called affirmative action, but Malaysia and South Africa are exploring or have programs to try to spread the wealth to their majorities. There are a lot of economic costs to that. It's certainly not that efficient. You're going to lose some growth, but I think it might be the better way. At least, markets might be sustainable. It's more stable. So I advocate ways to spread the wealth, and I also ask for voluntary generosity on the part of the successful market dominant minorities.
…and also to just realize that their own safety and their own interests are at stake. A lot of times these market-dominant minorities, whether you're talking about Chinese in Southeast Asia, or the Lebanese in West Africa, or the Whites in South Africa, it's almost a feeling of invincibility. "We're so wealthy, we control everything." They forget that they're surrounded by a justifiably frustrated, very poor majority. And so I say, "Look at your own interests."
It costs money to hire bodyguards. All of my own relatives have bodyguards and barb-wired fences. Why not risk some of the money? Build a school. Build a hospital. Build infrastructure and try to fight against the image that you have of being an outsider. Demagogic politicians manipulate that [image]. They say, "These groups are outsiders; they're taking away our wealth" -- even if the groups have been there for four generations. So why not do some economic good? Show that you're a team player, a part of the country.”