Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Defective Supremacy

I have on my table a letter from somebody from the government, telling me that the minister of a particular department have viewed a tender document (for a project in my place of work) and therefore, we are to give this tenderer the "best consideration" (in bold).

The irony of it was, when the letter was passed to me by my secretary, I was reading an article by Karim Raslan in today's The Star entitled "Difficult to take crutches away". Karim was making comparisons between the welfare state in England and the Malay privileges in our beloved country. Yes, there exists a welfare state in England, where the students and the unemployed get subsidies. The only difference between them and us is that, the subsidies are for all races, while we confine it to Bumiputras.

Karim, in his closing, urges us to change... or die.

This letter epitomises the inability for the Malays to compete. The company sadly needed the support from the government to ensure that it is successful in its bid, regardless of its (lack of) competencies. And, even sadder, someone in the government saw it appropriate to dispatch such a letter, which I, in my personal opinion, is a threat of some sort, not unlike a message sent by a mafioso asking for a "favor".

Although, the people that my company serve are government servants, we are an entity separate from the government. In fact, the project we are initiating has nothing to do with the government, as we are merely upgrading our work processes to better serve our customers. So, what was the motive of the tenderer behind their act of sending a copy of the tender document to the minister? That very act in itself is a violation of confidentiality, which means automatic disqualification.

Worst, this letter is dated after the board have made the decision to shortlist the number of tenderers to the top three based on their competencies and price, i.e. based on merit. This particular tenderer was eliminated since they did not meet these two basic criteria.

This is what becomes of the Malays. After over a half century of independence, we are still leaning heavily on our mental crutches.

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