Malays not sidelined in economic policies, says Azmin

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali says while the government strives to be fair to all races, there is still a need to focus on Malays and Bumiputeras who are still lagging.

SHAH ALAM: Malays and Bumiputeras have not been sidelined in Putrajaya’s quest to reduce income and social disparity, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said today.

Azmin said while the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s economic policy was to be fair to all races, there was a need to still focus on Malays and Bumiputeras who were still lagging.

“It is not fair to accuse us of abandoning the Bumiputera agenda. Because what we have done, even though our economic policy is to be fair to all races, we need to accept the fact that in terms of available statistics and data, those who are far behind, those who are in the B40 group, many of them are the Malays and the Bumiputeras.

“Of course our focus is here. We want to ensure that those who deserve to be cared for, must be cared for, and a majority of those are the Malays and the Bumiputeras,” he said during a forum organised by Sinar Harian here today.

Azmin said the people also needed to remember that within those groups, there were those of other races and the government also had the responsibility of getting them out of poverty.

“What I wish to tell the Malay community not to be worried with the policies of the government. When we say the economic policy is based on needs and not race, it does not mean we sideline the Bumiputeras.

“At the same time, the community needs to have high self-confidence, and the ability to compete. The government will help them, but not in terms of ‘Ali Baba’, easy permits or contracts with political support,” he said.

“Ali Baba” refers to the practice of subcontracting government jobs awarded to Malay businessmen to the ethnic Chinese.

Azmin said the government has also identified the states of Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis to be developed, as they also deserved a share of the nation’s wealth.

“The affirmative action policy we carry out is not a zero-sum game. It does not bring down another race.

“The success of affirmative action is when we can increase the nation’s wealth and this can subsequently be shared by all Malaysians,” he added.