THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY – "NEP"
THE NEW DEVELOPMENT POLICY – "NDP"
I fully support the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced by the BN Government in 1971 to promote growth with equity with the objective of fostering national unity among the various races. The main noble objectives of NEP were:
1. To reduce and eventually eradicate poverty by raising income levels and increasing employment opportunities for all Malaysians, irrespective of race; and
2. Accelerate the process of restructuring Malaysian society to correct economic imbalances so as to reduce and eventually eliminate the identification of race with economic function.
The NEP was supposed to have expired in 1991 (after 20 years). However, the above objectives have not been strictly adhered to by the BN government.
The NEP recognized that the restructuring of society to correct imbalances was to be achieved by undertaking "within the context of a rapidly growing economy which offers increasing opportunities for all Malaysians. This was considered essential for ensuring that the distribution of income, employment and ownership would be implemented smoothly, without making any particular group feel a sense of loss or deprivation.
Obviously, the NEP has failed miserably because less than 10% of the Bumiputras benefited from the NEP. To put it bluntly, only the UMNOputras or those connected directly or indirectly to the UMNOputras are the beneficiaries of the NEP.
In 1991, after a good 20 years the BN government had failed to eradicate poverty as intended under the NEP, the BN Government had to come out with another policy called the New Development Policy (NDP), which was actually an extension of the NEP. The NDP was supposed to build upon the so-called achievements during the NEP (i.e. 1971 – 1991) "to accelerate the process of eradicating poverty and restructuring society so as to correct social and economic imbalances".
According to the spirit of NDP, "National unity remains the ultimate goal of socio-economic development because of a united society is fundamental to the promotion of social and political stability and sustained development."
The NDP further stressed that "Development policies and strategies under the NDP take cognizance of the diversities of Malaysians – ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious as well as regional – so that harmonious, tolerant and dynamic society could progressively created."
It is also the policy of BN Government that the "NDP will continue with the efforts to correct economic imbalances to create a more just, united, peaceful and prosperous society. To this end, more effective effort will be made to reduce poverty, irrespective of race, as well as to restructure society so as to achieve an equitable distribution in the context of a healthy and sustained economic growth."
It is most unfortunately that eradication of poverty was never the priority of the BN, especially UMNO, the BN leaders have lost focus and poverty in the Malay community or the Chinese or Indian community for that matter was not eradicated as originally targeted.
In fact, in year 2008, some 27 years after the inception of NEP and 17 years after NDP, the poor Malays, Chinese and Indians remain poorer. The rich and powerful UMNOputras got richer and more powerful. In short, the NEP and NDP have been abused by the UMNOputras at the expense of the ordinary Malays. I would go further to state that the above noble spirits and objectives of the NEP and NDP have been rendered meaningless by the UMNOputras.
We need not go further to illustrate the abused of the NEP and NDP. Just look at these three classic cases below:
i. where a young Malay boy of about 30 years, who was known to be unemployed but with strong political connections with high ranking UMNOputra, was known to have owned RM200 million worth of shares in a company;
ii. the "AP Kings" cases where several hundred thousand of APs were given to a few Malay individuals, who were closely connected to the UMNOputras; and
iii. the late Zakaria Md Deros, who was just a gate keeper for Kerataapi Tanah Melayu, and after joining UMNO he became super rich and he was able to build a "palace" with 21 toilets in Klang without Majlis Perbandaran's approval.
The lists of the abused of the NEP and NDP by the UMNOputras are in exhaustive.
When it suits the UMNOputras, they we will just wheel out the NEP/NDP and make their battle cry that our Malay brothers and sisters needed to be protected. If one were to carefully examine the current economic cakes and one will come to the conclusion that more than 30% of many economic sectors are dominated by a less than 10% of Malays, who are either UMNOputras or directly or indirectly connected with UMNOputras. For example, 95% of the financial institutions have been owned and controlled by only a few percent of Malays, who are the UMOputras or connected to the UMNOputras.
It is clear that the NEP/NDP have failed totally and the majority of the Malays have now realized that the NEP/NDP have been abused by the UMNOputras to benefit only a handful of politically connected individuals.
Our Malay, Chinese and Indian brothers and sisters have spoken out loud and clear in the recent 2008 12th general elections, which have resulted in the BN losing its 2/3 majority in Parliament and control of Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Wilayah Persekutuan.
I call upon the BN government to review the NEP/NDP by setting as new condition whereby qualification for assistance under the NEP/NDP is by way of mean test and not based on race. Mean test is the best yard stick to determine whether or not a person is entitled to receive the assistance and benefits under the NEP/NDP and this will no doubt put an instant stop to the abused of the NEP/NDP by the UMNOputras. Thereafter, we will see the actual eradication of poverty in all communities and real restructuring of Malaysian society to correct the economic imbalances, without making any particular community feel a sense of deprivation.
Wee Choo Keong