KUALA LUMPUR: While the government has admitted failures and weaknesses of the New Economic Policy, a PPBM leader has expressed concern that some politicians are “exploiting” the controversial affirmative action policy along racial lines.
PPBM strategist Wan Saiful Wan Jan said he welcomed the frank evaluation of the NEP by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his keynote address for the Bumiputera congress yesterday.
Mahathir said while the NEP had not met its target, the government’s affirmative action policies had brought results.
Wan Saiful agreed that there were some who really benefited and built on it, as said by Mahathir.
“But there were also those who abused it,” the former chief of think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs told FMT.
“The idea is still the same. Those who need help should be helped. The key is to do it in a transparent, fair and accountable way, then it should be good for the country,” he added.
Wan Saiful said his concern was that “Malay and non-Malay nationalists” were exploiting the issue to divide the country.
The Malay nationalists, he said, were trying to discredit the current government by claiming it was trying to remove a system meant to help the community.
“Clearly that is not what we’re doing,” said Wan Saiful.
He said some non-Malays were pushing “a little bit too hard and too quick” on something considered sensitive to the majority population.
He said such actions would lead to further disunity.
He said there was a need to acknowledge the faults of the NEP and fix them.
“There’s no point in saying we should help all Malays just because they are Malays. There are some who swindled for personal gain, they don’t deserve assistance.”