Changes to Bumi policy among CEP recommendations, says report

Council of Eminent Persons chief Daim Zainuddin.

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya’s advisory body has recommended changes to the country’s Bumiputera policy in order to induce “a positive mindset change” among the community.

The Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), which announced yesterday that it had completed its 100-day mandate, said this was part of its report on the need to improve governance and the well-being of the people, as well as to ensure sustainable economic growth.

“We want to get it right this time,” its leader Daim Zainuddin was quoted as saying by the Nikkei Asian Review.

However, he did not go into detail on what these recommendations entailed, saying only that “any programme proposed and developed should not be to the detriment of economic growth nor at the expense of other social groups”.

The Bumiputera affirmative action policy was introduced in 1971.

In June, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the policy would continue, in part to avoid conflict between the majority Malays and “richer” ethnic groups like the Chinese.

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, however, he added that continuing policies which help Malays did not mean that the government “thinks only of the Malays”.

“Disparity in any society is bad, even if it’s a single ethnic (group). You have the rich, very rich, and the poor, very poor… you are inviting conflict.

“But when the rich belong to one race, and the poor to another race, the potential for conflict is much greater.”

That was why this imbalance needed to be corrected, he said.