" ...Maybank has come under fire from MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek for its requirement to law firms that it must have at least three bumiputra partners, one of whom must have a 50% stake, before these firms can do any business with the bank. Describing the move as discriminatory, he said many Malaysians had expressed their disappointment with the bank for its decision. “On one hand, we are talking about racial integration but on the other hand, we are adopting such positions which are racial in nature,” he said.
"MCA is the SECOND most important partner to UMNO in the coalition of political parties GOVERNING this country.
MCA MUST therefore be seen acting pro-actively and decisively as a Political Party-in-Government , to prevent further dismantling of an already unstable socio-political and economic fabric of this country, especially on racially discriminatory policies of Government and tax-payer funded/subsidised institutions.
Public statements of 'regret' and 'disappointment' and the 'wishy-washy' attitudes displayed by MCA and MCA Youth leaders are NOT sufficient to allay the concerns of Malaysians, coming from a Political Party -in-Government."
"..There is NO legal basis for such a condition and its certainly in breach of the spirit of the Federal Constitution."
Chairman, Malaysian Bar Council
Maybank, which is a government-linked company, issued a letter recently requiring all newly appointed legal firms to meet the requirement, with effect from July 1, while the deadline for existing firms was a year after the new ruling was implemented.
“The move shows that we are moving backwards and we hope that the bank will reconsider its decision,” it said. Bank Negara said there was no specific requirement for legal firms appointed by financial institutions.
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Response from the Bar Council
".... The Bar Council has cried foul over the conditions set by the banks. Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan described the requirement as "totally discriminatory".
"There is no legal basis for such a condition and it’s certainly in breach of the spirit of the Federal Constitution.
All our lawyers should be judged on merit. That is the correct basis for selection.
Most of all, we are concerned that such preferences will give rise to tokenism and that it will affect the quality of the legal services provided.
We don’t stipulate how law firms should be run, we leave it to the lawyers themselves.
"We will be following up on this matter with Bank Negara Malaysia."
Ambiga said the Bar Council had written to the banks in the last two days expressing concern and asking them to review their policies.
It was reported that the requirements would take effect on July 1 while the deadline for existing firms was a year after the new ruling was implemented.
It is learnt that at the moment there are no specific requirements for legal firms to be appointed by financial institutions.
"...The time is drawing near when we will have to boycott certain banks if they are not careful. Only a boycott will wake some of these bankers up from their sleep in their cushy offices breathing rarefied air...."
"..There are many banks in Malaysia. If any particular bank imposes such condition, don't do any business with that bank. Market forces will then determine whether such condition is business-friendly or not..."
"...Our firm received that letter as well. We were going to accept our fate as we are not going to adhere to the requirement for the sake of getting the work.
Other commercial-friendly firms would have gotten themselves salaried partners in order to continue getting work. We, lawyers must have the integrity to avoid making such compromise.50% is even more than NEP's 30%.
Can the Bar Council do something before it is too late? Recently, our firm received another shocking news from another bank. It seems that our firm cannot handle islamic loans even though we are in their panel. There is another panel within the panel to handle islamic loans. I am flabbergasted and astonished! ..."
"...DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) members have threatened to close their accounts with Maybank if it failed to retract the ruling in the next two weeks.
DAP Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching Chong Chien Jen yesterday tried to move a motion to debate the matter in the Dewan Rakyat. However, Speaker Ramli Ngah Talib rejected it it, saying that it was an internal matter of the bank.However, Chong disagreed with the decision, saying the Speaker had taken the easy way out.
“All banks in Malaysia are subject to the directive and policies of Bank Negara. The Speaker’s decision only shows that the government condones practices that are discriminatory on a racial basis.
Previously, this has been done in relation to government procurement procedures. Now it has sipped into procedures of government-linked companies."
MP Lim Kit Siang challenged Maybank to be a model of CSR and make public the top 25 legal firms on its panel which have been given the most bank business each year for the past 10 years.
Mr. Lim said:
“I call on Maybank to be a model of corporate social responsibility and make public the top 25 legal firms on its panel which have been given the most business each year for the past 10 years.
This is to allow the public to judge whether the firms given the most business are the politically- connected ones rather than those (who receive work) based on meritocracy or other criteria.”
"...Every now and then some jackass will wake up one morning and cook up some regressive idea. Didn't the rakyat not too long ago had to grit their teeth over some internal memo from another bank?
The board of directors of Maybank should answer whether the bank is an international conglomerate, or a national bank, or a race-based bank.
If national, shareholders and account-holders who are non-bumiputras should sell or close. If race-based, it should withdraw any advertisement it will be putting up on tv come merdeka day, for people will scoff when they see it.
Maybank is a public-listed body; its shareholders and account-holders come from a cross-segment of the populace. By its discriminatory action, it is saying to everyone that its management has the right to waive their weighted interpretation of how social responsibility should be exercised..."
"...Please disclose the other bank too. I will close any and all accounts with MAYBANK and if affected the other culprit. This is absolutely unacceptable. even if they "undo" the decission, everyone should close any and all accounts. Do not provide business to banks who act like this..." (A reader on Screenshots said the 'other bank' is AMBANK.)
"..During the compettitive times recently , most banks actually allow any lawyer to do the loan documentation if they can bring in any customer to take end financing from them, which is good, as the more hardworking you are, the more you earn.
I am now wondering why our local banks now are going backwards.Perhaps a change of board of directors is imminent to change from the mediocre to a better one.
If I am a foreign fund holding shares in MBB, I would definitely query the bank as it is making the bank less competitive and put the bank at risk with lawyer of race instead of lawyer of calibre.
This is where prominent foreign investors like Marc Faber etc can give comments on CNN or CNBC and put pressure on the bank on some half baked ideas.
"..... Don't only talk, close all your accounts with them, however favourable their terms and conditions. .."
".... We cannot just lie back, play dead and allow them to commit such racist policies...without fighting back. And more pertinent to Maybank, our money (what little there is left with us)! I say that apart from closing our business account with Maybank, we can take out our money there like FDs, savings, etc. And when we do so, make it a point ot tell the bank's officers to relay the message to their bosses-We refuse to have anything to do with Racist companies and this is the easiest way for us to hit back at them! With WTO, there are plenty of other foreign banks where we can put our money with, without having to suffer the ignominous racism imposed by a Malaysian banking institution..."
"... For those contemplating withdrawing monies from Maybank... Please understand the basic banking business, which is cash deposits are liabilities, whereas loans are assets; so, to really teach Maybank a lesson is to close all loan & credit cards accounts but deposit huge amount of monies into it...."
"...I have closed my account. Its not difficult - just move your money to another bank. Its good to do this NOW within the next 2 weeks. This shows Maybank that there is a huge OBJECTION to their corporate objectives. The people do not bank with Maybank ANYMORE until it apologises and makes transparent its dealings.
JOIN ME. Lets make a difference in Malaysia. It may be difficult with fixed deposits - though Maybank rates are not good anyway. But, at least move all your savings somewhere else...."
"... Why threaten to close your accounts with Maybank if it failed to retract the ruling in the next two weeks? I am doing it NOW whether they are retracting it or not. We must send a message to other business entities that ideas like this should NOT even cross their mind.
Threats will not work as other companies will try to impose ideas like this and hope that we will not find out. Even if we are find out, they can escape easily by retracting them..."
"... We can and should do something in our own small ways to send a message to Maybank that such practices are untenable. All we need to do is to stop having any link with such a bank. The first thing I'm going to do tomorrow is to close my accounts with the bank and I will never approach it for any loan.
Banking is a very competitive business in a globalised world. There are so many other banks in the country. We only have to choose one that is more efficient and professonal in its dealings with fellow human beings...."
"... I have been a customer of Maybank, for both banking and credit card services, for more than 25 years. Since Maybank has decided to openly practise discriminatory policies, I have also decided to take steps to terminate my accounts with Maybank, and I shall definitely let them know my reason for terminating my accounts.
I have (also) stopped patronising Petronas service stations because of Petronas' discriminatory policies . If only all non-bumiputera Malaysians stopped patronising Petronas service stations, then perhaps the Petronas management will rethink their discriminatory policies. I used to buy petrol from BP service stations but since BP has been bought over by Boustead, I have stopped patronising them. I don't even know what they are called now. The reason is that I found out Boustead's property division also practised discriminatory policies when appointing consultants.
In the early eighties, when Sime Darby's property division was headed by a non-bumiputera (an Indian gentleman), I was appointed to provide professional services. As soon as bumiputeras took over, my services were no longer welcomed and required.
Also in the early eighties my company was a customer to bumiputera company. This company was an associate company of Island and Peninsula. However when I approached Island and Peninsula with the intention of getting my company registered as a provider of professional services, I was told clearly that my services were not welcome because my company did not have any bumiputera partners.
I then did some research and discovered that generally the so-called GLC property companies being run by bumiputeras practise discriminatory policies. Since then I have never considered buying any property from such companies.
All the above are facts which I am aware of. All these GLCs may well be practising other discriminatory policies which I am not aware of and which I shall not speculate on.
I believe that if all non-bumiputeras let all these GLCs know how they feel about their discriminatory policies, by way of action and not just words, then perhaps they will not be so arrogant..."
"...I have only this concluding opinion to say - BOYCOTT Maybank. This is NO longer an issue of bread and butter but one of human dignity.
If the nexus of Malay business and party politics - read Umno - is unable to work in the non- racial interest of the general public, let the market punish Maybank the way the New Straits Times was punished.
Why do we need such a bank? Let it fail. I will shed no tears...."
"... If this happened in my country, other Banks would have an advertisement in the papers the next day with titles such as "Bank with us, we have non discrimination policies" or "Bank with us, a bank that respects ALL Malaysians" or "Are you concerned about the policies of your bank? Bank with us, we will not discriminate with your money".
"...Yes, Maybank should be told in no uncertain term that it cannot practise discriminatory policy, the same applies to other GLC corporations. The question is whether these GLCs belong to all citizens or just one section of the citizenry?
Those who now bank with this bank should consider very careful. The money belongs to you and you are free to bank with any other banks which do not praticise such dsicriminaroty policy.
The problem this country faces is that each and every one institution is trying its level best to better others with NEP policy..."
"...I don't even bother to have an account with Maybank, because it is a known fact Maybank had been behaving like a Malay Bank rather than a Malaysian Bank. I do my banking with foreign banks, at least you don't have to cringe at racist policies when you put your money in there...."