Former Umno veteran Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzil says the BN government was the cause for the widening economic gap between the races.
The Ikatan president said cronyism and political discrimination practised by the ruling coalition were major factors influencing the latest government statistics showing worsening income disparity between the country’s ethnic majority and the minorities.
He said that a majority of the non-Bumiputeras are doing much better due to the abuse of race-based affirmative action policies and the systematic economic isolation of pro-opposition Bumiputeras.
“The Bumiputeras already form the majority of the country’s poor… about 80%. If you look at the latest statistics the [economic] gap is widening between the Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras.
“And this is happening because of political vengeance and corruption. They have been intentionally left out of the country’s development current,” Kadir said at his party’s official launch.
Stringent centralisation means the federal government has economic means to stifle its political opponents as in the case of the ongoing legal tussle over oil royalty in PAS-held Kelantan and the water supply impasse in PKR-controlled Selangor.
“Our founding fathers had laid down a beautiful foundation. To destroy it is a sin to those who have died,” he said, referring to the what he said was a “gentleman’s” political system of fair play practised by Umno’s founders.
The former federal minister left Umno after he came under media attack following his criticism that the Malay party was racist, corrupt and no longer adhered to its original struggle.
He claimed Malaysia is now more racially polarised and corrupt and blamed it on the current administration, saying the 2008 national polls result that saw Barisan Nasional lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority reflected voters’ “revolt”.
BN maintained enough majority to continue its lead but the popular vote favoured the opposition bloc Pakatan Rakyat and this signalled a yearning for change, Kadir said.
“Change or be changed. That was what [Prime Minister] Najib Tun Razak said. But he was telling it to the wrong crowd. He was telling that to the ordinary Umno members. They have done nothing. What needs to be changed is not them, it’s the leadership,” he said.