Under-representation of indigenous peoples in business in Sarawak, Malaysia
The year 1990 not only marks the twenty-seventh year of Sarawak securing her independence within Malaysia, but also signals the ending of the twenty long years of the implementation of an affirmative action called the New Economic Policy. The policy was primarily conceived to provide the indigenous people with a wider opportunity to participate in trade and industry. So far, however, the available statistics do not convince the author that the policy has achieved the desired objective, at least in Sarawak. Scholars are divided on the importance of the influence of culture and structure on the entrepreneurial success or failure of a particular group, and therefore on the varying policy implications produced therefrom. This study explored the problems and entrepreneurial nature of the indigenous businesses in Sarawak, and has shown that their economic backwardness is attributed more to the structural factors than to the cultural ones. This thesis defines its scope through the historical analysis and empirical investigation of the persistent underachievement of the indigenous business as compared to those of other ethnic groups in Sarawak. The study has not only unveiled the problems of Bumiputra small businesses in Sarawak, but has also outlined some policy recommendations. The most important suggestion is broadly the elimination of present inequalities in opportunities and the advancement of preferential measures for the indigenous business. So far, to the best of the author's knowledge, there has been a notable absence of a study of this kind in Sarawak, and this work appears to be the first of its kind. Because of its importance, it is therefore hoped that it will spur further academic interest in the area.