Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bumiputera Preferences, is it still necessary?

Parties like MCA, MIC, Gerakan, SUPP, PRS, and SPDP have to explain the Malaysian public their stand in supporting UMNO all these years their reasons in supporting UMNO to allow 30% equity to bumiputera under the New Economic Policy (“NEP”) to go on and on and not for a more balanced equity for all races. These Parties also have to explain their stand on the imbalance in civil service recruitment ratio of 4:1 between bumiputera and non-bumiputera, yet, bumiputera seems to favour one bumiputera race only. This imbalance in recruitment had over the past 50 years seen Malaysia Civil Service being occupied by one race only. At the same time, they also need to explain their stand on the issue of meritocracy and quota system in entry into public universities and this left only about 20% of public university places to Chinese and Indians in the country.

Although NEP which implemented into effect the bumiputera preference in business, education, licences and recruitment in the civil service has officially ended in 1990, UMNO leaders have in 2005 called the restoration of NEP and yet parties MCA, MIC, Gerakan, SUPP, PRS and SPDP never until now officially declared their stand on the matter. This shows that these parties were subservient to UMNO and PBB.

Ong Ka Ting was also a lame duck, only voiced his personal stand against it in the 55th MCA General Assembly in October, 2008 , that is, when he was about to vacate his Presidency in MCA.

In Sarawak, SUPP leaders must understand that the people of Sarawak voted for them to voice the plight of the people and to seek justice and equality, but, not to elect them to become Sarawak useless people party. At least DAP had in the past years voiced much concern over the implementation of the NEP, the equity and quota system.

MCA, Gerakan and SUPP being in the government should also point out to UMNO that preferences in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which gave rise to the implementation of NEP should not go on and on without ending. This is because the system has been subjected to abuse as not all bumiputeras benefited from the preferences. SUPP should also be told and be reminded of the Reid Commission which drafted the Federal Constitution in 1957 had stated that “in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should be ultimately ceased”. SUPP also need to understand that even Tunku Abdul Rahman had in 1980s and later Abdullah Ahmad Badawi voiced much concern of the adverse effect of the 30% equity in NEP. Even Khairy Jamalludin, who was then the UMNO Deputy Youth Chief, in a televised debate with Chua Jui Meng in 2005 had agreed that a committee be set up to review the NEP. This was because NEP had created economic set-backs in the country as many overnight millionaires had not the skill to further develop their business with their new found wealth.

The government’s move on 23 April, 2009 to liberalize the 30% bumiputera equity policy in 29 sub-sectors although a welcome move, but, will not cure the ailing Malaysian economy as the damage has already been done. Foreigners had long lost business confidence in this country by consistently questioning the bumiputera equity in their investments here. The matter will not be solved until action been taken by the present government to implement the recommendations of the Reid Commission to completely cease the preferences given to bumiputeras in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

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