Ibrahim slams Budget half-measures for bumiputeras

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PETALING JAYA: The Malay rights group Perkasa has criticised the government’s 2017 Budget for only going half-way towards empowering bumiputeras in its Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda.

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali said there was no mention of carrying out high-impact programmes for bumiputera economic development, nor of any efforts towards ensuring a fair distribution of the economic cake.

“This reveals the tendency of the government to create ‘need-base’ policies instead of focusing on a fair division of the economic cake among all,” he said in a statement today.

More aggressive affirmative action should be taken to empower the bumiputera economy, he said, recalling that Prime Minister Najib Razak had spoken of a special end-financing scheme for home ownership.

He wondered why a similar scheme was not introduced to allow bumiputeras to own commercial properties as well as business and office premises.

“The majority of bumiputera entrepreneurs are operating in premises leased from non-bumiputera capitalists,” he said. The government should also create a loan fund to help entrepreneurs pay advances.

Ibrahim urged the government to consider the interests of bumiputeras and to not erode affirmative programmes and policies in the National Transformation Strategy for 2050.

“The government must give its commitment and guarantee without apology that TN50 will protect and sustain bumiputera socio-economic sovereignty through serious, clear, coherent and holistic affirmative policies,” the statement said.

He questioned the RM2 billion budget allocation for Mara in the face of a growing number of students as well as the lagging level of education among the bumiputeras.

Ibrahaim also demanded an explanation whether the country’s future was threatened by question marks about the legitimacy of its top leaders, and whether negative perceptions of corruption and abuse of power would affect the confidence of foreign investors.

He advised the government to have stronger anti-corruption policies and activities to ensure that the country’s millions would not flow into the pockets of the corrupt or political elites.