Buried inside this BBC News story about the problems associated with illegal immigration in Malaysia is the story of the effects of Malaysia’s affirmative action program. Like in all East Asian countries except for Japan and Korea, Malaysia’s business community is dominated by ethnic Chinese. In the purported intention to lessen ethnic tension and jealousy from Malaysia’s ethnic Malay majority population and avoid the kind of anti-Chinese pogroms frequently occuring in neighboring Indonesia, the government there has instituted a extensive affirmative action program for the Malays (including forcing businesses to hire Malays for top jobs).The policy has been successfull in avoiding outbursts of violence , but it has not been successfull in terms of getting the Malays to be successfull on their own. As BBC News correspondet Jonathan Kent puts it:
“For 30 years or more, Malaysia has given economic privileges to the Malay community to help it win a more proportionate share of the economy.
But even former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the great champion of Malay rights, ended his 22 years as premier frustrated that, rather than develop a work ethic, many Malays had simply developed a sense of entitlement.”
How astonishing! If people get something for nothing, they get less willing to do work to achieve it. Who could have thought that ?
This is of course something which has been happening everywhere government priviliges, not only affirmative action but also outright welfare programs. In Sweden for example, the previously strong Lutheran work ethics has been destroyed by the welfare state, with more than 20% unemployment (including those who have been statistically removed from the work force through early retirement and similar measures) and a steady fall in employment and hours work. Similar development has been noted in the other European welfare states.