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Explorations in the Tradition of Thomas E. Weisskopf

Hwok Aun Lee

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Hwok-Aun Lee and Lumkile Mondi

Malaysia and South Africa present two outstanding case studies of affirmative action in corporate development. Both countries promote representation of politically dominant but economically disadvantaged majority groups – Bumiputeras in Malaysia, blacks in post-apartheid South Africa – in the management and ownership of state companies. This chapter compares and contrasts the policy contexts, designs and outcomes across these countries. Malaysia has reconfigured the programme’s primary instruments over time, from state-owned entities to privatization to renationalized government-linked companies, while South Africa has maintained state-owned companies fully under government control. The Malaysian and South Africa cases demonstrate the policy’s imperatives, opportunities and pitfalls. State companies can be vehicles for affirmative action, particularly when operated based on capability, transparency and accountability, with effective governance structures and checks against political capture.