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Anwar’s dilemma with race-based reform: Are Chinese, Indians, Iban, Kadazan still his children?

Publish date: Mon, 04 Mar 2024, 04:18 PM

AFTER 53 years and nine premiers later, little has changed insofar as race-based economic policies are concerned in Malaysia. The country is not just tightly embracing a policy which gives preferential treatment based on race - not needs - and there is no sign that this is going to go away anytime soon.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) launched in 1971 under second prime minister (PM) Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was supposed to help rid the nation of identification of race by economic function as well as bridge the wealth divide. While the policy officially ended 20 years later, different iterations of the policy continue to this day.

Last week, PM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced a whopping RM1 bil to kickstart a Bumiputera entrepreneurship fund.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Bumiputera Economic Congress 2024 (BEC 2024), he said the fund is aimed at encouraging and promoting growth in the high-value industry among the Bumiputera community.

While it is true that many Bumiputera still lag behind economically, hence needing policy interventions to level the playing field, there are also many equally deserving non-Bumiputera who could also use a leg-up.

Those who had thought that the “reformist” Anwar would tinker with a policy which has been in place for over five decades because its goals have not been reached are definitely in for a disappointment.

This coming from a man who in the past proudly proclaimed before the last general election that “the Chinese and the Indians are also my children”.

But after the polls, he chastised a teenager Indian student who questioned the quota system during a townhall.

Even his strongest backer in the unity government, the DAP is silent on Anwar’s obvious political posturing, including the RM1 bil grant which can only be taken as a tacit support for the policy. This is a far cry from the DAP’s strong opposition to such policies in the past.

If the expressed goals of the policy have not been attained after over five decades, shouldn’t the government look into alternative solutions to achieve the same? Nobody is asking Anwar to ditch this policy overnight as that would be politically suicidal.

The MADANI administration did not make any efforts to change course but has made even greater strides and hastened the pace in the direction that has been in place since 1971.

There must be reasons why the goals of the NEP which purportedly includes 30% Bumiputera ownership of corporate equity has not been achieved after such a long time. The very least the Anwar government can do is to have an honest assessment of where the policy has gone wrong and look at ways to remedy it.

But doing that is not politically expedient and may even chip away more support from the Muslim-Malay electorate which the unity government badly needs now.

So, Anwar would rather pander to the right in order to bolster his Malay-Muslim credentials although doing so may hurt the country in the long-run in terms of fostering a less competitive economy and driving the wedge further between the different ethnic groups. - March 4, 2024

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PMX and all\polticians should emphasize more on the words Bangsa Malaysia or Malaysians to unite Malaysia...rather than saying Malay, Chinese, Indians, Kadazan, etc.... the words Malaysian to resonate the whole world...

1 month ago


Think twice with whatever he promises and talk. History and chronology of events are the evidence. Some people can say whatever they want to get to the top.

1 month ago


I can understand where POV of Anwar with regards to reform of the NEP, whatever you want to call it. He can't afford to rock the boat pushing a revolution to the policy. Only gradual evolution, slowly chipping away at the bad parts and retaining the good parts. What's the point of a revolution that will break this government only to be overthrown by PN who will immediately reinstate NEP or even make it worse. So gotta be smart, first the economy then reforms that is the way.

1 month ago


Simple - Enlarge the pie, first. (small piece of curry puff- how to share??)

1 month ago


All people must work hard. Economic growth will follow. Korup can’t be tolerated, or else no investors coming… Don’t always give additional subsidies. Train our people to be better and better and at last can help themselves.

1 month ago


Investors will not come just because of corruption but even due to discriminative policies and subsidies.

1 month ago


putus harapan

1 month ago


Yup, from Pudar Harapan to Putus Harapan

1 month ago

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