PM Adullah owes all Malaysians an explanation on why NEP must not be discontinued. Media statement by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew , DAP CEC member and NGO Bureau Chief on Thursday, November 09, 2006 in Petaling Jaya
The Life Advisor of DAP Dr Chen Man Hin has rightly pointed out that “the true colours of New Economic Policy is now exposed”. His comment came soon after the Government’s reply in the recent Parliamentary sitting. Deputy Minister Awang Adek, in his reply to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Umno-Gua Musang), admitted that the bumi corporate equity has reached 36.64%, which has clearly surpassed the targeted level set by the NEP, i.e.30%. Earlier, the Asli think tank has proven that the 30% bumi equity was surpassed. Another report by Universiti Malaya asserted that the 30% was achieved way back in 1997, even if the par value methodology was applied.
In Dr Chen’s opinion, the NEP has created a big Malay middle class besides making Umno elite filthy rich. Figures from Asli report indicate that the elite group earned about 400 billion out of the total valuation of 700 billion of listed stocks. However, NEP has done little to improve the lot of working class Malays. Malay poverty remains a major problem.
From the speeches of Umno leaders beginning from the Prime Minister, the intention of Umno is to perpetuate the NEP – probably until doomsdays. Dr Chen warns that if NEP continues, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and Malays in the grassroots will be totally marginalised.
“They will become the hewers of wood and drawers of water for the country”, he said.
We also agree with academic Dr Lim Teck Ghee that the government must review the NEP and focus on the distribution of bumiputera wealth, rather than the size of it. Dr Lim was among the main authors of a study on corporate equity distribution by Asian Strategic Leadership Institute’s (Asli) Centre for Public Policy Studies.The study challenged the government’s assertion that bumiputera corporate equity ownership had stagnated at 18.9 percent, drawing heavy criticism from Umno leaders in the process.
Dr Lim told Malaysiakini that “the report was not merely about bumiputera racial shares – whether 18.9, 36.6 or 45 percent.”
“It was more about the need for the government to rescind or revise race-oriented policies – in this case on corporate equity distribution – that have long achieved their purpose and are no longer necessary or defensible,” he added.Despite the government’s latest figures and attempt to explain the methodology employed by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Dr Lim said many questions pertaining to wealth distribution still warranted answers.
“In my opinion – and I may add that of many independent scholars – the methodology of poverty and income estimates are even more flawed; the present poverty line for example, is based on household rather than individual income. “Thus, we look good on our so-called poverty alleviation record. But we – I mean, those in charge – are only fooling themselves,” he added.According to Dr Lim, this and the EPU methodology to determine bumiputera equity ownership, among others, were no longer applicable today as it was when the NEP was formulated three decades ago.
It’s an open secret that share ownership is only concentrated in the hands of the very few, the Umnoputeras. All Malaysians regardless of ethnic background must demand the Government to stop using the 18.9% figure as an excuse to perpetuate NEP to 2020 and beyond.We must not allow the Umnoputeras and their cronies to amass wealth for themselves at the expense of national unity.