PETALING JAYA: Umno veteran Tajuddin Abdul Rahman says affirmative action for the Bumiputeras, including those who are well off, should continue as there are still more rich Chinese than rich Malays in the country.
“(For every) one millionaire Malay, (there are) 100,000 rich Chinese. That is a fact,” he told FMT.
He was responding to Umno Youth vice-chief Shahril Hamdan, who said it was time that rich Malays stopped reaping benefits from the government.
Instead, Shahril said, the aid should be channelled to those who are really in need.
However, Tajuddin who is Pasir Salak MP said affirmative action for the Bumiputera is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Giving the example of the housing discount for Malays, he said the 7-10% reduction should continue regardless of income bracket as the community at large was still earning less than the Chinese.
He said if housing discounts were removed for rich Malays, it would disrupt national integration as only the Chinese would buy homes worth RM1 million and above.
As a multiracial country, he added, Malaysia’s politics should encourage the different races to live together.
“We should not have the Chinese living in one place while the Malays live in another.”
He added however that Bumiputeras should not abuse the rights accorded to them in the constitution.
To Shahril’s statement that Bumiputera benefits should be channelled through a needs-based approach, he said this had always been the case even before the change in government.
“The Barisan Nasional government’s affirmative action was for fishermen, farmers, single mothers and small-scale entrepreneurs, so what is the problem?
“It has always been on a needs-based approach. Rich people are not given priority.”
He denied that rich Malays were taking advantage of the scholarships provided under the affirmative action plan, saying such families spent their own money sending their children overseas to study.
He also urged the Chinese to stop accusing the Malays of taking advantage of affirmative action, saying, “We too are taxpayers.”
However, he advised the Malays to emulate the Chinese in helping the poor.
“The rich Chinese help the poor Chinese. The few Malays who are rich should also help the poor Malays.”
The New Economic Policy was introduced by then-prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 racial riots. Its aim was to increase the share of national wealth among the Malays and Bumiputeras to at least 30%.
Bumiputeras account for about 64% of the population.