In theory, wealth generation and accumulation are based on the premise of equal opportunities and the distribution of wealth should be proportionate to the effort expended.
But that is not the actual case in real life as there are intervening factors that cause uneven opportunities in wealth creation and accumulation resulting in the emergence of the privileged class.
As a result, the top echelon of society owns most of the country’s wealth.
In Malaysia, they are designated as having political power, hereditary lineage and the politically connected corporate cohort.
It is a norm in most countries of the synergy between corporate captains and politicians.
In developed countries, they control politicians through financial support.
But in the developing and third world, they exist at the behest of the politicians through the award of lucrative government projects and other privileges. They in turn would serve the needs of their political masters.
In countries with a feudal past, the hereditary privileged groups own a wide spectrum of properties, land and corporate ventures.
Their wealth was inherited from the time they were absolute rulers of their states when they owned everything, including the people.
By virtue of their position, they have unrestricted access to almost everything and have priority in any social or business enterprises.
Politicians solicit them to serve their agenda and businessmen seek their aid to facilitate business ventures. And these people express their gratitude in more ways than one.
The common people like the wage earners, small businessmen and petty hawkers bear the brunt of this disparity in wealth distribution.
This pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of this group which could barely put food on the table let alone accumulate wealth.
In fact, there has not been proper and concerted planning to engage and address the plight of the lower-income groups. As during the pandemic, planning has been reactive rather than proactive.
This reflects the failure of the government to address the needs of the disadvantaged group, for the government is perennially in a state of denial, unable to see the forest for the trees.
The disparity in wealth distribution is starkly visible between the urban and rural areas as reflected in the nature of housing and personal transportation as well as the lifestyles.
Even within the urban areas there is the juxtaposition of the wealthy and the poor.
The urban poor are worse off than their counterparts in the rural areas.
This disparity is blatant in Sabah and Sarawak where wealth is confined to the urban areas of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching where the rich and politically connected privileged class reside.
And the interior lacks proper housing, electricity and water supply, health care, not to mention proper roads.
In peninsular Malaysia, this disparity in wealth distribution is still a cause for concern but not as pronounced as the East Malaysian states.
Kelantan fares the worse. Except for the privileged hereditary and politically connected, most of the Kelantanese are in the B40 group.
This is due to the incompetent management of Kelantan’s economy.
To ensure equity in the distribution of the country’s wealth, there needs to be a restructuring of political governance, the management of the economy and social reengineering.
Political governance must be altruistic with moral and ethical imperatives as its guiding light. Economic opportunities must not be based on patronage and the privileged class.
Social reengineering must dispense with the racial, religious and privileged equation.
To realise these, there must be a paradigm shift in the mindset of the people to ensure political and economic governance that realise their hopes and aspirations and ensure equitable opportunities for wealth creation and distribution and not manipulate the system to serve their own ends.
This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.