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NEP failure is due to greed
Published on: Sunday, June 13, 2010
By: Tan Sri Herman Luping
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In the opinion of the majority of bumiputra Malaysians, the NEP was and is a dismal failure. The policy to help the bumiputra raise their standards of living and get at least 30 per cent of the economic pie had not materialised nor felt by the people which the policy was intended.

If the policy failed amongst the bumiputra - the Malays - of the Peninsula, it was worse amongst Sabah bumiputra Malaysians.

They benefited very little, if any of the so-called 30 per cent economic pie.

And to the other bumiputra of Sabah, the Non-Muslim, it seems it was never intended for them in any case.

What was the NEP and why was it set up? The NEP was set as a matter of economic policy along with the promulgation of Rukun Negara soon after the debacle of the May 13, 1969 race riots in Kuala Lumpur.

This infamous racial incident is now a blot in the short history of Malaysia, but it happened and we are supposed to have learned a lot from that incident.

We learned, for instance, that we in Malaysia live in a multiracial, multi religious nation and as such we cannot afford to be racist in our sentiments and action. The government of the day - which was the Grand Alliance but was replaced by the Barisan Nasional government soon after the 1969 election was the cornerstone of the governance of Malaysia.

After that racial riots which caused the deaths of hundreds, and some wrote, thousands, of Malaysians - bumiputra and non-bumiputra - our leaders, led by Tun Razak, then still the Deputy Prime Minister, called for a "universal" policy acceptable to all races, all communities.

The first was the Rukun Negara as the country's main objectives to be a democratic and peaceful nation in the region. The second was the inception of the NEP. This latter was to help the bumiputra share the economic pie of the nation - which was seen largely in the hands of the non-bumuputra.

The objective of the NEP then was to give at least 30 per cent participation in the economy to the bumiputra communities within 30 years of the NEP inception.

It is now more than 30 years and the question is whether the government had achieved this noble intention for the bumiputra. In the height of the popular administration of Tun Dr Mahathir, he announced a new goal for the nation and that was to achieve a full developed nation status by the year 2020.

It was called "Vision 20/20". The Government intention was to embark progressively from a purely agricultural economy to manufacturing and industry-based economy and make the nation an industrial developed nation.

Perhaps with this in mind, the current Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced the setting up a new economic model (NEM) or Model Economy Baru. The rationale is that the country must move forward and play effectively in the global stage. It means presenting the country as a stable parliamentary democracy with all the trappings of a fully developed economy and hence a developed nation. It opens the country to international fund players (fund managers) to invest in the country by the billions to open up more oil palm mills and other industries in the country.

The NEM, in turn, effectively brings to a close one of the country's long economic chapters - and that is the NEP. Whereas the NEP was set up as a policy to close the gap between the Non-bumiputra and bumiputra by allowing the latter achieve as much as 30 per cent participation in all economic endevours in the nation, the latter, NEM is an "open" to all policy.

There is no emphasis on bumiputra participation. This new policy is seen by the majority of the population, and more particularly by the non-bumiputra as a logical conclusion of the "old policy - the NEP".

However, many amongst the bumiputra in West Malaysia had criticised the NEM policy. They claimed that the NEP has not fulfilled its targets - not even 10 per cent let alone the objective of 30 per cent.

Members of the Oppositon parties were quick to join in the debate and claimed that for the last 40 years, and in accordance with the dictates of the NEP, various bumiputra individuals and through their companies had benefited greatly. They claimed that the NEP is not just about shares.

It is also not just about government contracts.

It is many things and asked " what about all those Felda, Felcra, Risda, Kada, Mada, Kejora and God knows how many more land settlements and agricultural schemes". All these are the benefit of the bumiputra, they claimed, under the lifespan of NEP.

The Chief Minister of Penang, who is also Secretary General of the DAP, Mr Lim Guan Eng for instance pointed out in a statement that some RM54 billion worth of shares have been allocated to bumiputras in the last 30 years. These "lucky" bumiputras who were either individually or through their companies have been allocated the 54 billion shares sold to them at par value of RM1 per share. He said that out of the 54 billion in shares allocated to bumiputras, only RM2 billion were still in their hands.

"Where are the RM52 billion Bumi shares" he asked and called for the Government to investigate why RM52 billion worth of shares in public listed companies allocated to bumiputra under affirmative action policies were no longer in their hands?"

He said "it was an act of betrayal" on the part of those given the economic bonanza. He suggested a Royal Commission be set up to investigate the leakages and abuses. "The Government has to arrest and take action against people who have hijacked the money", he added.

The former Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Harris Salleh told me that this is shocking.

The lucky bumiputras singled out to receive the bumiputra shares were greedy and only wanted quick and easy money by selling the shares almost the same day of getting them for double or four times the original price. He said the huge profits they obtained were used for "makan angin", "enjoy, enjoy", build multi-million ringgit houses and worse - divest the money abroad. And according to Lim Guan Eng many Malays own expensive properties in other countries, huge bank accounts overseas and one former Minister owns 10 banks!

Harris is of the opinion that more than 90 per cent of those given the privileges of special allocation are Semenanjung Malays. Very little were allocated to Sabah and Sarawak Muslim bumiputras.

None to non-Muslim bumis. I do not know about the Dayaks of Sarawak but I do know that insofar as the Kadsazandusuns are concerned, none have received any of the above mentioned shares nor the land settlements of the Government mentioned above.

Harris added that the statement made by Lim last March is not only worrying but could also signal the "end of the day" in Malaysia as far as the bumiputra is concerned.

The big question is whether the Government under Datuk Seri Najib would take this challenge by the opposition and investigate the bumpiputra shares debacle.

Meanwhile, we are told by the Federal Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Datuk Seri Jala Idris that the Government would abolish all subsidies to save the country from becoming "bankrupt" like "Greece".

Some would agree that the abolition of the subsidies on some food and other essentials is necessary and more than RM 100 billion would be saved.

But the effect of this policy would be felt across the board, by the rich and the poor!

Are there any alternative aid given to the poor people, especially those living below poverty line?







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