The setting up of a new unit to strengthen Bumiputera economic participation has dimmed the bright prospects of NEM, says DAP.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s launching of a new unit to strengthen Bumiputera economic participation has nullified his own New Economic Model (NEM), said DAP publicity chief Tony Pua today.
He said that the introduction of Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju) is against the NEM’s supposed spirit to induce merit-based affirmative action programmes that will benefit the bottom 40% of all income earners instead of just the Bumiputera race.
“Najib is now proving to be a failed reformer,” Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said in a statement today.
“His much vaunted ‘Najibnomics’ is turning out to be nothing more than an endorsement of the controversial NEP, which favours the influential elite, and a copycat of Mahathir’s mega-projects and privatisation policies of the 1990s,” he added.
He said it is most unfortunate that Najib has chosen to pander to vested political interests of race-based extremists groups such as Perkasa.
When launching Teraju yesterday, Najib said that the unit will lead, co-ordinate and drive Bumiputera economic participation via new and existing initiatives, and propose institutional reforms to increase effectiveness.
It will also act as the secretariat for the Bumiputera Agenda Supreme Council (MTAB) that oversees Bumiputera economic development.
Najib criticised heavily
While acknowledging that liberalisation is key to repair the economy, Najib had promised in the past that any reforms will not abandon the needs and interests of the Bumiputera community.
Things were looking bright for investors when Najib did away with regulations requiring a 30% Bumiputera stake in 27 service and financial sub-sectors while limiting the power of the Foreign Investment Committee that oversees Bumiputera equity.
Bumiputeras account for 73% of the 2.4 million households in the lowest 40% income bracket, according to Najib.
But Pua said Najib had darkened the bright prospects of the NEM by introducing Teraju while extending the race-based New Economic Policy (NEP) without any clear timeline.
He also pointed out that Najib’s reform plans were heavily criticised by a member of the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof, and a former US ambassador to Malaysia, John Malott.
Zainal Aznam said yesterday that the Najib government has little political will to push through real reform.
Malott has warned against delaying reform plans, saying it would risk dampening the country’s competitiveness.
The 30% Bumiputera stake in the national economy – a policy which analysts said has damaged Malaysia’s economic attractiveness – has been the NEP’s target since its implementation in 1970.
Thirty-four years later, official statistics state that Bumiputera-held equity in the country stood at 18.7% or close to 11% below the target.