Maybanks’ legal panel – what is the truth?

by I Bernadette

First, my ethnicity is irrelevant — and I am not defending MayBank or/and its policies.

The fact that racial discrimination has been ‘cast in stone’ so to speak, into policies of organizations like MayBank, is nothing new. In Malaysia, corporations linked to the Government and not just MayBank have fine-tuned the art of racial discrimination to a heart beat.

What is new in the case of MayBank in its latest ruling is that it would appear to be encroaching on the principle of free speech as protected by our Federal Constitution of 1957 — asking that law firms hoping to deal with it be first majority-owned by a certain class of Malaysians based on race. What right has MayBank got to go around telling private individuals who go into business as partners, how profits on their earnings are supposed to be distributed among them, what equity participation they should have in their private ventures and what internal policies they should or should not follow? Isn’t this the responsibility of private individuals as free citizens?

But at least MayBank has been forthright on the issue by making public its policy. Others are less so if they ever do. Apparently it arises out of MayBank’s genuine desire to comply with what after all is government policy.

Since the issue is one basically of racial discrimination against certain categories of lawyers based on race, in favor of one class of Malaysians vis-à-vis the others, one cannot be faulted for asking whether the proper forum ought not to be the country’s legislative body responsible for such laws i.e. Parliament and not MayBank.

Consider this. For a law firm looking to do work for a bank even on an ad hoc basis, the partners would have to work hard — ‘working hard’ means in most cases many hours on the golf fields at prestigious clubs scattered not only all over the country but overseas with its team of ‘enablers’ if you will where business deals are made. This acts to automatically exclude most of the small to medium law firms with their limited resources, limited experience (on the golf fields rather than in any field) and limited track record as a firm because they are new and the partners are young.

Consider also the ‘process’ it involves.

Contrary to what is popularly believed, the bank’s manager in charge of legal affairs has minimum input into the selection of lawyers and law firms seeking to be of service to the Bank. The Legal Manager only represents the face of Management when deciding the matter of who gets on to the bank’s panel. Nevertheless, it is true that in many of the cases where the law firms do not meet the bank’s criteria, the Legal Manager actually decide at his level, and without more — unless the application has been submitted nearer to the primary source of decision making.

If the issue is simply one of whether the law firm meets the bank’s criteria, where is the need to have such simple and routine matter referred to the bank’s CEO and his committee for the exercise of his or her discretion? Does this not smack of favoritism, nepotism and other isms all of which are irrelevant to the issue of what or which best protects the bank’s and, therefore, the public’s interest?

Here is where the matter enters a more controversial stage of the process. Here is where the Bank through its CEO gets to handle the ‘sensitive matters’ like political connection to individuals serving on important sounding committees of some important political party (it need not always be UMNO or UMNO related – meaning the MCA in many cases) or a connection to the Royals but never the Mohammads and the Ah Wongs and the Moorthys who choose to do business the right way together, the Malaysian way, who are left to beg for business to make ends meet, collect the crumbs thrown at them and support their families. Sure, nobody owes these poor hardworking souls, irrespective of ethnicity or political affiliations, a living.

Consider this too. Property developers come to the banks with their list of solicitors on their panels who have handled the work of sale and purchase of properties they sold. It would be misleading to suggest that banks have full control over who among their lawyers get to do the work of protecting their security interest. Their clients the property developers would at this point have already struck a deal with their lawyers about the bank work that is coming. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the ethnicity of these lawyers.

So to suggest or imply that a bank like MayBank has full control over which law firms get to do the work, is to ignore the facts. To apportion blame based on this alone is wrong.

‘Conveyancing’ work is seen by the lawyers as the most lucrative area of their practice, routine and less risky to themselves and the banks because of the practice of boilerplate drafting — in fact in almost all cases it represents the bank’s own security documentation internally generated but printed on the firm’s stationery. Relating the risk exposure of banks, under those circumstances, to the ethnicity of the lawyers assigned to protect their security interest is not only irrelevant but wrong.

If the public is genuinely interested to get at the truth, ask for the disclosure by MayBank of the names of law firms doing their work based not only on ethnicity of lawyer-partners, their equity participation, and ethnicity of lawyer-employees but also the amount of work, the number of cases they actually do, its relative size to the total work available for distribution and work including those not available for distribution — and their value in money terms.

What you discover would pale in comparison with such narrow issues like preferential treatment or discriminatory practices based on race as a factor.

What of the collusion between government and big business — irrespective of race?

Where and how do ordinary working class Malaysians many of whom are in support of the DAP’s objective of helping working class Malaysians of any race, struggling to support their families, fit in?

  1. #1 by twistedmind on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 8:50 am

    Cut the crap. Either you are for their policy or against it. I for one, am against it. It is such shallow thinking that this country is now stagnant and not moving ahead. We’ll soon be competing with Burma!

    BTW. By having such policies, the ordinary working class Malaysians will NEVER have a chance to succeed !

  2. #2 by tomcat on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 9:14 am

    Reading the justification by the writer is like hearing a story about how the color black (wrong) can turn into white (right). How, By creating a color call grey. As you add a little white to the color black, it becomes grey. As more white is added, one day it WILL become white. By saying its ok little by little to something that it wrong, overtime, it will become the truth and the right thing to do.

    We all know that discrimination is wrong but without the power to change, we have to adapt and tolerate. This is taken as saying its ok. ( the color grey is created) Now, it seems that we have reach to the point where it is ok to discriminate openly and it is justifiable.

    I just dread of the day when doing Malaysia or dealing with any civil servant, there is a clause to add 50% of the total cost of anthing if you’re not bumi.

    Oh.. wait… its already there when I want to buy a house …. well… at least its at a smaller percentage… (I’m being sarcastic if you didn’t catch it)

  3. #3 by k1980 on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 9:54 am

    And the Abdullah administration was hoping to get a “Free” Trade Agreement with the US. HAHAHO

  4. #4 by JACK THE RIPPER on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:28 am

    * Party PKR & DAP are heading for Malaysian Unity *

    “Malaysian Unity is a down fall for UMNO Politic Supremos.”

    In DAP & PKR We Trust.
    Msg from the Patriot.

  5. #5 by Tai Lo Chin on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:45 am

    To me Maybank is carrying out the affirmative policies of NEP. Whether is right or wrong for Maybank to do so is the question under debate. Nothing else. Period.

    Don’t bring in Freedom of Speech. Maybank does not go round telling law firms “how they should go into business as partners, how profits on their earnings are supposed to be distributed among them, what equity participation they should have in their private ventures and what internal policies they should or should not follow”. Maybank just says that as far as our appointment of lawyers are concerned there must be 50% bumi equity. If you don’t like that, don’t do our business. Period.

    Don’t bring in the “facts” whether the well politically connected ones get the lucrative work or whether those who introduce developers business to Maybank get reciprocal work back in return based on commercial exchange.

    This happens not only in Maybank but maybe 80% of the other banks as well.

    The issue here is not collusion between government and big business and who really get the business behind the facts. The issue is whether Maybank, as a bank, should articulate officially and openly affirmative policy of NEP in its appointments of service contractors like lawyers. That’s all. Period.

  6. #6 by toniXe on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:55 am

    another small misdemeanor in a very very long list of hopelessness of Malaysia Incorporated, may he rest in peace
    …coming soon… say next 49 years by rough estimate when oil runs out and Chinese & Indians lefted Malaysia.

    Even u cannot save the poor soul Mr Gifted Opposition !

  7. #7 by whc on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:57 am

    haha Mr Mca ,today you are doing a good job.At least you open up your mouth to speak about this Maybank ruling.If you guys could just be united to speak about the issue ‘they’ will not simply come up with all those crazy ideas to marginalise chinese.Unity is strebgth.

  8. #8 by ahkok1982 on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:59 am

    this arguement is juz off key…
    imagine a restaurant having e policy tt if u wanna make a dinner reservation, e person must b a bumi. dont care if e ppl who actually comes for dinner r all non-bumi, but reservation wise, it must b bumi. so wat would u do? actually go find a bumi friend to make reservations for u? heck, u would juz stop gg there. even if u don need any reservations to hav a meal there.
    similarly w us non-bumis (although we r born here). we don need a lawyer to make bank transactions w e bank but it juz stinks so much tt we would rather bring our money elsewhere. Maybank is not e only bank around in bodoh-land

  9. #9 by madmix on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:20 am

    I Bernadette missed the point of the whole thing. This is not about who has the “connections” getting the lion’s share of business, this is about racial discrimination. “Connections” are not obtained overnight, it requires a lot of work and is fair play in business. By ruling that Non-bumis cannot get any work immediately cuts out a section of the population from trying to get work by any means whether by merit or by cultivating “connections”. That is the crux of our argument, not whether the firm is UMNo or MCA linked. A chinese can choose to join MCA and work hard to get “in” if he so chooses. If you proclaim Bumi only, this man is immediately cut off. He cannot to choose to be a Bumi.

  10. #10 by pwcheng on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:24 am

    The harsh reality of racism is portrayed on the big board (so that even the blind can see now) without any good reasons and good business judgments. This issues and many more that are being done without any compunction of justice are staring hard into our face. On the other hand the one sided religious issue without any compunction for humanity is allowed to run on auto gears without any brakes. They were anti apartheid at one time and but now they are practicing exactly what they were against. What a world we are in !!

    We do not need a super doctor specializing in human behavioral science to tell us how to be united. All these present happenings are definitely not going to help us help us to unite. All the frivolous side shows of employing various tactics to enhance unity will serve no purpose when hard core issues like these can only guarantee unflinching disunity. Please do not ride on platonic unity and tell the world of your success and side step the deepening disunity caused by these fertile human home grown issues which has sucks everybody’s energy of which rightfully should be put to better use.

    The side shows of doing this and that for unity is of no use but instead concentrate on the core issues to guarantee along lasting sense of unity among the races for total prosperity. What is going on today is just platonic unity

  11. #11 by rode on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:45 am

    It’s sad that the Govt of today does not practice what it preaches. Come by-elections they use the media to thie advantage to brain wash us. Now u c, the new Maybank ruling. Right under our nose, is a daring show of racial disunity by a Bank who thinks that they are the ruling Govt of today.
    Enough is enough?? No point calling for a boycot to the bank. Better still next General Elections is supposed to be round the corner.
    WE SHOULD all play our part, and make sure that the ruling Govt does not get a two third majority. Then only will all this kind of rubbish stop. Act positively while we can.
    Justice 4 Peace.

  12. #12 by ethnicmalaysian on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:54 am

    I agree that the whole point is being missed here. The issue here is not ‘small’ vs ‘big’ or politically connected vs not so connected firms. It is the ‘pre-qualification’ of getting on the panel of lawyers. Before you even talk about competing against big firms or connected firms, you can’t even get onto the panel, on the basis of the racial equity ratio in your firm. You’ve lost a race that you haven’t even started or entered into.

  13. #13 by MY VIEW on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 12:30 pm

    As usual, the people complain, complain , and complain. The bottom line is will the people do anything about it? I am prepared to close all my accounts in Maybank even if I have to go through the inconveniences. But doing this alone is ineffective unless the big guns start the ball rolling. Anybody hear anything on whether any action will be taken?

  14. #14 by Jan on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:08 pm

    What’s the use of closing your accounts. Some say most banks practise the discrimination anyway.
    I remember someone once said of Malaysia. You do not need to seek out discrimination in Malaysia it seeks you out every which way you turn and slaps you in the face.
    Some of the banks are also practising this discrimination in healthcare, are you going to stop going to clinics?

  15. #15 by ahkok1982 on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:10 pm

    How about having bodoh-land come up with a rule saying that anyone with the name of “I Bernadette” should not be able to exercise their constitutional rights. it is outright discrimination against people with that name but it doesn’t affect anyone else.
    Would you want it to go on or would you want everyone to go against it?
    In many countries, business based on connections are abundant but then connections can only get you to the doorsteps. How well you perform speaks another language.
    This is one hella dumb, myopic and irrelevant piece of scribbling.

  16. #16 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:27 pm

    Even if Maybank removes this 50% bumi holding ruling, there is still no gurantee that any legal firm will get to be on its panel.

    You may apply, but they don’t have to appoint you to their panel. So they can still discriminate against you quietly. Who is to know?

    Another perspective is that 100% bumi-owned firms do NOT have to admit some non-bumi shareholders, so again the non-bumis are not getting a “share” of the economic pie. Everyway non-bumis lose out.

    Best is to discriminate quietly.

  17. #17 by MY VIEW on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:28 pm

    To Jan, So you are saying let’s live with it. Afterall, it is a common pratice everywhere in Malaysia?

  18. #18 by MY VIEW on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:33 pm

    To Jan,
    We should ask ourselves ” who make Maybank big “. If we support other banks, at least there is a chance of fairness. Here, Maybank alreday said it outright.

  19. #19 by MY VIEW on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:36 pm

    If a bank already announce that they will practice racial discrimination, then why are those being discriminated still supporting this bank?

  20. #20 by justice_fighter on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 3:28 pm

    Maynbank in many ways represents the policies of UMNO, it’s not enough just to boycott Maybank services, but we must also vote BN out in the coming election! Teach our sleepy, corrupt and hypocrite Pak Lah a real lesson….

  21. #21 by Jimm on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 3:30 pm

    They are BIG because of policies in placed for them to exploit. They will FALL as the system in placed are forced into because of ‘extra funds’ make available during the recent crude oil price. These investors will leave us dry when they have some other interesting ‘games’ to play else where. We just sold away our ‘supposed-to-be’ multi racial country image to these group.

  22. #22 by Tai Lo Chin on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 3:55 pm

    Myabank is going around promoting the NEP in the wrong way. The right way is to impose a quota of 50% of loans must be given to Bumis or bumi controlled companies. In these cases do away with requirement of security or collateral or if Maybank still requires it then lower the margin threshold of the security. Better still waive legal fees for documentation and pay for bumi borrowers stamp duty on documentation. Bumi accounts shall not be treated as delinquent after 3 months non servicing – extend to a year before classification comes in. Some one told me that Najib in 3 oclock news made a statement that Maybank as commercial entity should not impose such a ruling. Is it true? I think Maybank will have to retract. I don’t think it has much choice given public opinion against this ruling. Probably the Board of Maybank will be relieved that the responsibility to promote NEP is off their shoulders if what they say about Najib statement is true. The ruling that sparks controversy probably comes from misguided source from the top (maybe at shareholder level) and spilled out into open by a not so careful legal department when advising its panel lawyers of this requirement. By the way which is the second major bank that has come out with this ruling as well? Litle is heard of it.

  23. #23 by Loh on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 4:28 pm

    ///Even if Maybank removes this 50% bumi holding ruling, there is still no gurantee that any legal firm will get to be on its panel.///

    That I believe is another issue. The 50% ruling says that without it, you are not invited. So legal firms will want to get invited, and there you will see non-Bumi lawyers have further hurdle to cross to become partners.

    In the first place, university intake is difficult for non-Bumi because of NEP. After grauduation, government services are difficult to come by. Then after cheap-labour chambering, new lawyers get employed. After 7 years’ labour, when one proves his worth to be a partner but has to make way for another Bumi who can contribute to the 50% rule. That is the problem non-Bumi would face.

    The government has extended its NEP. Now the GLCs are implementing NEP extention. When government used public funds to create more GLCs to control more sector of the economy, then non-Bumi in those industries will face new discrimination.

    The next election will be held as soon as the new salary scheme for government servants is announced. Non-Bumi might be better off betting that May 13 will not repeat and kick BN, than hope for the best.

  24. #24 by ihavesomethingtosay on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 4:41 pm

    Kit initiated a debate on racist policy and -deleted- (MCA) hijacks it!

    MCA, a party bankrupt of ideas

  25. #25 by fighter on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 5:19 pm

    When advertisements for jobs requiring applicants to know Mandarin appeared,there was a huge uproar from UMNO saying this was a blatant discrimination and the practice had to stop immediately.Even the Labour Minister,a Vice-President of MCA, agreed and asked newspapers to stop the practice.In fact this is not discrimination as it is a job requirement for without the knowledge of Mandarin a person cannot perform that particular job.

    However, here we have the biggest bank openly and unshamely practising discrimination and how can anyone condone it! The bank is telling the public openly, so what? If this action does not cause any serious challenge then you will soon have advertisements stating non-bumis cannot apply this or that openly without any sense of shame or feeling of fairplay.

    It is therefore important that a message be sent to maybank and to everyone that non-bumis have feelings too! If we collectively fail to rise to restore our dignity by demanding the offending party not to openly discriminate us, then we have ourselves to blame.


  26. #26 by kcc on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 5:28 pm

    BOSTON (US), May 9 (Bernama) — Government-linked companies (GLCs) should give business to both Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera companies, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday.

    DPM was responding to question about Maybank. Instead of condemning it, he decided to sit on the fence and became irrelevant !

  27. #27 by gerald on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 5:51 pm

    To Tai Lo Chin

    According to reliable sources, that other bank is AmBank. It has imposed the requirement that all legal firms on its panel must have at least a bumi partner or else ….. But there is so far no requirmenet that the firm must have 50% bumi equity.

  28. #28 by ahkok1982 on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 6:12 pm

    To Tai Lo Chin:

    this is juz a guess, juz like how they hoodwinked e whole nation for so long, this might also b one of their ploys. since it is v evident tt bn is discriminating against all non-bumis, they may get Maybank to declare such discriminatory rule n then they come out telling Maybank to stop such policies in support of other races. then e nation will think tt bn is helping them n then once again vote them in for another 5 yrs which they will then use to discriminate n plunder once again.
    In my opinion, no matter how stupid a company might b, they will not come out in e open to tell everyone tt they practise discriminatory policies cuz it will definitely affect their bottom line. they can always practise it in e shadow but eo announce it is pushing it too far. so do keep ur ears peeled to hav ppl fr bn strongly voicing out their disapproval. I heard MCA already doing this. Either they hav this hoodwinking plan or they hav not been slapped in e face by umno yet.

  29. #29 by DarkHorse on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 6:56 pm

    “The issue is whether Maybank, as a bank, should articulate officially and openly affirmative policy of NEP in its appointments of service contractors like lawyers.” Tai Loh Chin

    Reading your postings suggest to me a certain level of rational thinking, a desire to be rational and not be swayed too much by considerations not relevant to the issue or issues. Here the issue is race – an explosive if not just an emotional issue.

    I do not know if it is intended but by your comment above you have exposed the kind of hypocrisy we get to hear among most Malaysians i.e. it is ok not to articulate too much but it is ok to practice something you feel is working against the interests of certain minority groups is an unfair and unjust way.

    The ‘wrong’ as you say here is not so much in having a policy but in articulating it!

    About the 50% bumiputra equity participation, requiring compliance with that condition tantamount to May Bank in effect telling partners of these firms how to conduct their internal affairs.

    Further, we are here not talking about the benchmark of 30% that has been observed for a while now but 50% – 1% short of being majority owned by a single individual or group of individuals based on his or her or the group’s ethnicity.

    The wrong is not in the practice but in the articulation, you say??

  30. #30 by DiaperHead on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 7:13 pm

    TAI LO CHIN: “The issue is whether Maybank, as a bank, should articulate officially and openly affirmative policy of NEP in its appointments of service contractors like lawyers. That’s all. Period.”

    You are damn right!

    The mistake that they do here is to articulate such a policy. Never mind if the policy is unfair. Never mind the policy could, in the case of May Bank, mean unnecessary exposure to risks – like you said on another thread. And being a public listed company this is unacceptable. So the argument goes. A non-racist view so you claim.

    Banks like Public Bank discriminates in the same way but they are right and smart in not articulating their discriminatory practice!

    What is wrong with this picture??

  31. #31 by toyolbuster on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 7:16 pm

    Guys, if you still have an account in there, you deserve what you get. so stop complaining.

  32. #32 by Godamn Singh on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 8:21 pm

    Goddamn it!

    Ms. Bernadette has kicked more dust into the air than she demands in her anti-pollution drive?? Is that why she’s living in a dust free environment in some far distant land?

    Could she be right that the stipulation about the 50% bumiputra participation in the equity of legal firms seeking to do business with the Bank, is only a cover or at best a lame attempt to hoodwink their political masters that they are complying with government policy?

    A word with my Malay brothers and sisters in the legal fraternity tells me that even they feel that they are being marginalized in their attempt to serve MayBank.

    So where lies the truth? Could the truth be found not in the policy but in the practice? This is a legitimate question to ask.

    Would it be better if MayBank does not make any policy announcement at all? They put Messrs Ludicrous Wong & Associates or Autar Singh & Co.. on their list and then they give away their business to Sayang & Associates – or worse Hisham, Keris & Associates. Who is to say anything about anything?

  33. #33 by Godamn Singh on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 8:23 pm

    Why 50% bumi participation? Why not make it to reflect the ratio of race to total population?

  34. #34 by cherasusie on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:01 pm

    nothing u can do….

    50 precious years gone…

    malaysia is ruled by devils…

    they are sent by the satan to destroy…

    we are doomed…

    idiots still say we are ok…

    but idiots are right! until we see ‘end’ is near, we can not say we are not ok…

    hope we can last atleast 2020 as malaysian…

    certainly bye bye 2020 dream…

    pray not 5 times a day but 50 times, till allah hears us…


    satan, go away!…

    amen! lamo omitofo! we cite…

    satan, go away!…

  35. #35 by Tai Lo Chin on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:52 pm

    To Gerald – Thanks for the tip. If true, I am surprised cos I have never controlling shareholder and Chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim to have racial trait so I don’t understand why his management should impose such a rule.

    ToAhkok1982 – I agree with you it is stupid for Maybank to ciome out with such a thing. But this could be due to some one in legal department letting the cat out of bag without board/directors being conferred with.

    The suggestion of ploy is imaginative possible but not probable. The discriminatory policy has been in place for more than a decade but not exposed precisely because it was not in black and white.

    To Darkhorse & Diaperhead

    Please don’t get me wrong. Maybank’s policy of discrimination is wrong in principle and nothing changes that. When I said it was wrong that it officially articulated it, I meant it in this restricted sense:-

    If Maybank does not officially and formally articulate a discriminatory policy but still implements it (discrimination) in a quiet and sly way using other excuses as camouflage, its ruling, through wrong, is not easily proven against it and exposed. It means the bank does something wrong, it knows about it, and hence keeps it unofficial to have flexibility in manoeuvres when challenged.

    But if the bank declares it formally, then its out in the open, and I guess it’s an open effrontery to non malays which the bank does not even bother to cover the shame of doing so. In that sense, it is even more wrong for the bank to have done so blatantly without heed of sensitivities of others.

    So in response to question : “The wrong is not in the practice but in the articulation, you say??”

    No that’s not what I said. Practice is wrong even in quiet not ruffling sensitivities of others. In articulation, it is not only wrong but very wrong because its brazen and nonchalant of others sensitivities.

  36. #36 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:10 pm

    “So where lies the truth? Could the truth be found not in the policy but in the practice? This is a legitimate question to ask.” Godamn

    The truth is out there ladies and gentlemen is the truth we all deny. What can you do about it? This is the way Bumiputras do business, which ever way it go doesn’t matter but one thing for sure they will get you one by one, and the reason does not matter. The truth is we are migrants, sons of migrants and great grandsons of migrants, you were lucky if you are second class Malaysian citizens. The truth is the worst is yet to come.

  37. #37 by greenacre on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:12 pm

    melayu mudah lupa mahathir said and I would add semua mudah lupa! why? sometime ago, one boss of the takaful insurance company stated it is haram for muslims to greet non muslims. This takaful insurance company had been given exclusive rights to collect insurance premiums from all malaysian students. This necessarily includes chinese schools and Tamil schools who are non muslims ,who should not be greeted but money can be collected. am i forgetting something?

  38. #38 by alltheway07 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:01 am

    Greenacre, if I read you correctly, this takaful insurance company is obviously part of this Maybank, or should I say “Melayubank”. Correct me if I am wrong. I’ve been also made to understand that they now have prayers aired over the PA system of this bank every morning. If this is true, this only augments the current management’s discrimination towards non-bumis or shall I say the independent Malaysians, who fight for every right to what they enjoy rather than depending on this ridiculous NEP policy. Maybe instead of being known as New Economic Policy, it should be relabeled as Never Ending Parasites policy. As a commercial institution, it should be run professionally and grown as a global institution, not by shallow minded parasites. If there is no public clarification or apology from the bank, I would strongly urge everyone to consider terminating your accounts with them. It is simply much easier to deposit your money in our neighbouring country with large banking houses who welcomes your money rather than spending hours trying to think of discriminating policies!!! To the management of the bank, please grow up and expand your horizon, the world is flat now and the only ones deserve to be protected are the animals going through near extinction!!!

  39. #39 by Count Dracula on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:02 am

    Readers here in some cases seem to react to the policy ruling as if it is something new! If we are talking about policy ruling by the government for foreign investors to have 30% in industries catering for the domestic market. There is nothing new.

    Even the policy ruling by businesses, majority owned by MoF Inc., requiring major bumiputera in the equity participation of its distributors and dealers, even of its auditors, doctors, dentists etc is nothing new.

    Certainly the requirement that legal firms show significant bumiputera participation is nothing new.

    So what is new?? The 50% figure? Let’s see if it stands to analysis.

    The requirement is not deemed controversial before. In fact it has been welcomed by the business community – foreign and local. The difficulty has been the availability of suitable bumiputera partners. A Japanese company wanting to do business in Malaysia catering 100% for the domestic market has to play by the rule. They understand and accept it. Why should local companies be exempted?

    Why are we singling out Maybank? Why is there no mention about Chinese-owned banks and their practice? Why don’t we pause, take a deep breath and look at the broad picture?

    The government has been encouraging not only lawyers to go into business with non-Malays, that non-Malay lawyers work together at the partnership level with Malay lawyers – but also doctors, dentists, accountants etc. This has gone on for several decades now. This policy is meant to instill and promote unity among the races and not divide them.

    So what is different today than say 10 years ago?

    There are a lot of legal firms with Malay partners today. Fewer have taken to doing business on their own. Is that good or bad? How many legal firms owned 100% by Malays, have an all Malay and Muslim staff are on the panels of public listed companies or GLCs. What we are seeing are the workings or dictates of the marketplace. The government may make any policy it deems fit but it is not going to work out quite that way.

    It is the keris waving. It is the drum beating. It is the process of increasing marginalization of communities based on race.

  40. #40 by Count Dracula on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:16 am

    “ToAhkok1982 – I agree with you it is stupid for Maybank to ciome out with such a thing. But this could be due to some one in legal department letting the cat out of bag without board/directors being conferred with.” Tai Lo Chin

    That is very unlikely. Such policy directives cannot be put under wraps. It is common knowledge. Once upon a time there was this very academically talented Chinese legal manager with a first class honours from an elite university in the U.K. who chooses to waste all that talent in the service of an organization like Maybank. He would have lost his job in a heart beat had he so much as questioned the practicality of any policy.

    It is more likely to be somebody higher up, a Malay who somehow feels the need to dance to the tune of the song being played by UMNO Youth – probably to meet his own private agenda.

  41. #41 by kelangman88 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:23 am

    Any reason why the other bank name is not disclosed? Weird lar.

  42. #42 by Godamn Singh on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 1:07 am

    “I remember someone once said of Malaysia. You do not need to seek out discrimination in Malaysia it seeks you out every which way you turn and slaps you in the face.” Jan

    Yes. In my case it has not just slapped me in the face, it has wrestled with me, threw me to the ground, did a hold on me with bits of my anatomy that I cannot even begin to describe here.

    It has re-arranged the symmetry of my anatomy.

  43. #43 by hermes on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 1:07 am

    All the whinning and angry screams are of no use. Each and everyone must decide what he /she/it can do to disabuse maybank of their immoral policy.

    After all, maybank is a business and depends on the public to carry on their business. If maybank is only interested in one section of the population for their business so be it. There are other foreign and non-glc linked banks.

    What if all the non bumis withdraw all their funds from maybank at the same time. It will create a run on the bank. It will then serve maybank right. Maybank did hava a bank run in 1966. What about it now. It appears they have still not learnt any business sense.

    Other industries here and elsewhere in the world have been punished by the public, customers and advertisers for immoral policies. What are non bumi malaysian waiting waitng for. I have cancelled all my with maybank years ago because it is no more than a government department. I used to work in maybank and I know of their discriminatory policies and their obedience to UMNO and their financial contributions to UMNO for the elections.

  44. #44 by hermes on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 1:16 am

    Jan Says:

    “May 9th, 2007 at 1:08 pm
    What’s the use of closing your accounts. Some say most banks practise the discrimination anyway.
    I remember someone once said of Malaysia. You do not need to seek out discrimination in Malaysia it seeks you out every which way you turn and slaps you in the face.
    Some of the banks are also practising this discrimination in healthcare, are you going to stop going to clinics?”

    You are a defeatist. If you are a slave you will be happy or satified to die a slave. You will be happy or accept that your wife and children will slao remain slaves for ever?

    If that is your ambition in live then you can carry on with your happy life!

  45. #45 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 2:14 am

    I believe Maybank is still the industry leader today. No matter what indicators you use. Be it total assets, total loans and advances, total deposits etc.

    Other commercial banks cannot compete with it in terms of interest rates. Its base rate is the lowest in the industry because it has the bulk of the country’s treasury deposits parked there on a long term renewable basis at low rates of interest. Other commercial banks, especially foreign banks who are in dire need of long term funds to finance their loans and advances and willing to pay higher rates of interest cannot compete with Maybank.

    Someone mentioned the 1966 bank run on the then Malayan Banking Bhd. The bank was not owned by MoF Inc. then but by private shareholders but was rescued by the government, saving a huge loss to its depositors who were Chinese.

  46. #46 by Tai Lo Chin on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 5:22 am

    “Once upon a time there was this very academically talented Chinese legal manager with a first class honours from an elite university in the U.K. who chooses to waste all that talent in the service of an organization like Maybank. He would have lost his job in a heart beat had he so much as questioned the practicality of any policy.” – Count Dracula.

    And based on Maybank’s policies, he wouldn’t have occupied that position at helm of legal at such relatively young age if it was not other than Datuk Rafiah Salim (then Head of Human Resource, Maybank, now Vice Chancellor of MU)’s patronage. Were you in his batch in MU law faculty?

    No doubt however he was “academically talented” (with a tinge of impatience for those less quick on uptake). He had however moved out of Maybank long ago.

  47. #47 by accountability on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 5:52 am

    I Bernadette,

    you have the right to your thoughts, but i’m concerned that you are tolerating and condoning racist discrimination by a corporation that has a social responsibility.

  48. #48 by Tai Lo Chin on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 6:43 am


    This Maybank, besides enjoying country’s treasury deposits parked there, has over 350 branches countrywide, the bank with most branches due to govt’s patronage. This means innumerable current accounts at zero cost because it could use the free float to lend at commercial rates.

    But lets not talk about Maybank specifically. If I don’t trust a bank, I would borrow from it and not lend to it. The reason is obvious isn’t it?

  49. #49 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:02 am

    “I agree that the whole point is being missed here. The issue here is not ’small’ vs ‘big’ or politically connected vs not so connected firms. It is the ‘pre-qualification’ of getting on the panel of lawyers.”

    Do not be naive. There is more than meets the eye here! The issue has been politicized.

    Soon their legal department will make changes. Even the 50% requirement will be put on hold. The MCA will claim credit for it. Memories fade only to re-emerge another day and on another occasion.

    The truth is there are too many applications and they need to do something to stop the flood of applications.

    Lawyers who managed to get on their panel still have to work to get the work they need. Even 100% owned bumiputera firms of four or five partners with the right mix of experience, qualification etc do not get the work they sought.

    What about the role corruption plays in the issue? The firm with enterprising Chinese partners who grease palms along their way do so and get the work. Some Malay branch managers avoid having to deal with Malay lawyers because they would lose a lucrative source of income. The end result? The policy ruling supposed to help them get the work comes to zilch.

    Some of them exhibit no shame in asking for kickbacks from their own kind. According to them why should they stop asking or expecting kickbacks just because they are lawyers?

  50. #50 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:32 am

    Page 2 of The Sun today reports : Maybank will pick legal firms based on performance, efficiency and merit. Moving forward and with imediate effect, all solicitor firms, whether with Bumiputra or non bumiputra equity ownership, are elgible for consideration. All other revised criteria for emplacement of solicitors firms pursuant to our annual review, remain unchanged. It said decision was made after reviewing issues and concernss raised by various parties… We wish to reaffirm our commitment to serving all segments of the community and in building valued relationships with customers, shareholders, employees and the public”.

    It is further reported Deputy PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak asked the people not to misinterpret the government’s policy of encouraging government-linked companies to give business to both bumiputra and non bumiputra companies. “there should not be any hard and fast rules but theer should be efforts to help both,” he said when asked to comment on Maybank’s earlier ruling.

    “In KL, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng sent a memorandum to Bank Negara, asking it to intervene in the ruling….”

  51. #51 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:32 am

    “But lets not talk about Maybank specifically. If I don’t trust a bank, I would borrow from it and not lend to it. The reason is obvious isn’t it?” Tai Lo Chin

    No we’re not talking about MayBank specifically. We’re here talking about policies requiring majority bumiputera equity participation as a precondition to anything – a facet of the NEP.

    MayBank could afford to articulate and dictate its conditions for doing business with them in the way it does because of their position as industry leader – both in terms of deposits and loans and advances, and total assets and as you say the wide network it has not just domestically but also internationally.

    The same way MAS does when it negotiates the terms of financing for its fleet of Boeing 747s etc with foreign banks, leasing companies. The same way Petronas conducts itself when it is negotiating to nominate an agency as its sole fund manager for the massive holdings of its US dollar currency which it keeps offshore.

    So what is all this talk about boycott?? If it is to register disgust and disdain it has happened before.

    If you are thinking of borrowing they have the best package in town. It pays for its Chinese clients both corporate and individual to keep on dealing with this Bank – and keep politics out of it.

    The way to seek change is through the electoral process.

  52. #52 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:53 am

    “..I would borrow from it and not lend to it. The reason is obvious isn’t it?” Tai Lo Chin

    Don’t know about you. But I would borrow millions if I can secured by overvalued collateral if I knew that the bank is about to go under. Since that does not happen to Malaysian banks because banking industry in this country is over regulated, I may have to look beyond her shores – maybe Hong Kong.

    Putting your money in MayBank? If I were you I’d place my deposit in the money market with a foreign bank to get maximum returns.

    How much does race play in the field of business? Not much.

  53. #53 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 7:56 am

    “..Moving forward and with imediate effect, all solicitor firms, whether with Bumiputra or non bumiputra equity ownership, are elgible for consideration.”

    This is one gigantic step backwards from its position in the 90s. It looks like.

  54. #54 by OnTheFence on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 10:20 am

    I was shock when I first heard the news and at the same time I feel sad becoz a respectable and no.1 bank in malaysia has resort to such uncivilised rule. I personally dont think that the CEO is that naive….

    I somehow feel that higher power are issuing instruction for the bank to issue such instruction and agree totally with the writer that this is all a strategic plan to misdirect the attention of the people in Malaysia.

    I trust that the Bank will get it just reward for following the higher power order..wait and see…

  55. #55 by DarkHorse on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 10:56 am

    Good! A giant of the banking industry brought to its knees. What next?

  56. #56 by Jimm on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:23 pm

    It’s the best public attention issue to remind people of changes to be soon arriving. Don’t say we never warn you.

  57. #57 by k1980 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 3:10 pm

    “The fact that racial discrimination has been ‘cast in stone’ …”
    I would like to remind you that the 10 Commandments were also cast in stone, but Moses smashed the stone tablets anyway. The point is that laws made by man can always be altered or dumped by man, be they cast in stone or in gold

  58. #58 by HJ Angus on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 4:22 pm

    I think Maybank enjoys a similar position as DBS in Singapore as far as government funds are concerned.

    When DBS took over Posbank there was also plenty of noise from the common folks as many branches were closed. Eventually DBS also made some compromises but there were also many changes for Posbank account holders.

    I daresay that most accounts really did not make much money for banks unless you took large loans from them and that is why banks are allowed to charge you for many services now.

    For example if you deposit RM2000 salary each month and then withdraw that during the month, the bank may be happier if you closed the account.

    The effect of any mass boycott is more the harm to reputation or the bank’s good name. In this case it was not a politically correct decision and even withdrawal of the rule may not appease the masses.

    Perhaps the resignation of the Head of Corporate Affairs? Now that would show the Bank is sincere about such a boo-boo.
    Or rather that would show the bank is taking some positive actions to redeem itself.

  59. #59 by Godamn Singh on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 5:32 pm

    He did?? Goddamn it!

  60. #60 by My2cent on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 3:10 pm

    Hmm, don’t just complaint… be proactive and make them hear your voice about the racism things.

  61. #61 by ktteokt on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 9:52 pm

    Why all the sudden upheaval? This has been going on for decades already, since the days when I was working as a legal clerk. Banks would only give conveyancing work to legal firms with sufficient “bumiputra” equity and it has been like that all along.

    I don’t know what sparked off this upheaval but personally, I think it has been an accepted norm in the legal circle all these years. Spoon-feeding these group of “useless parasites” will only drawback on the progress of the nation and I fail to see how such policies are going to help make our nation an “advanced nation” and with such dreams as “Wawasan 2020”!

  62. #62 by Orangutan on Sunday, 13 May 2007 - 11:25 am

    Wawasan 2020 ?? Wawasan 3030 is more like it if they have to continue to be spoon-fed like this.

    They will certainly going to find out very soon that for them to continue this NEP policy, not only will they find the non-bumis standing in their way, they will also have to fight against the mighty waves of globalisation. If the they do not buck up soon enough, I say good luck and may the force be with you.

  63. #63 by i_love_malaysia on Wednesday, 23 May 2007 - 12:15 pm

    Aiyah, very easy only, if u dont like to eat food from certain food stall, u just stop going there. Similar approach should be applied here i.e. if u dont like the bank, u just stop going there, u dont depend on the bank, the bank depend on u for fund, just withdraw all the money from the bank and close all the accounts with the bank, full stop. Best still, tell the bank that u close the account because u dont like their discrimination policies! There are many other banks who dont practice discrmination policies in malaysia, just deposit your money there. U dont have to shout or scream and they will learn from their discrimation actions. Dont playX2 with discrmination policies!! if u can call all those who think the same to follow u, that will be even more cermerlang!!

You must be logged in to post a comment.