Bumiputera or Bumiputra is a Malay term widely used in Malaysia, embracing ethnic Malays, Javanese, Bugis, Minang and occasionally other indigenous ethnic groups such as the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia and the tribal peoples in Sabah and Sarawak. This term comes from the Sanskrit word Bhumiputra, which can be translated literally as "son of earth" (bhumi= earth, putra=prince) or prince of the soil. Economic policies designed to favour Bumiputras (including affirmative action in public education) were implemented in the 1970s purportedly to defuse inter-ethnic tensions following the May 13 Incident in 1969. These policies have succeeded in creating a significant urban Malay middle class but have been less effective in eradicating poverty among rural communities and have caused a backlash of resentment from excluded groups (such as the Chinese and Indian Malaysians).
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