Malay economic body defends Azmin’s pro-Bumiputera stand

Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.

PETALING JAYA: A coalition of Malay NGOs has defended Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali’s call to focus on the Malay and Bumiputera agenda.

At a press conference, the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) said Azmin’s call should not be turned into a political issue, adding it was the only way to reduce the income and wealth gap between the races.

Azmin had asked the federal government to step up efforts for development of the Bumiputera community.

“Pakatan Harapan must step up efforts to change and be the party of choice for Malay voters.

“Pakatan Harapan must become a source of strength for the community,” Azmin had said.

“All MTEM members and the Bumiputera economic community fully support any leader who does not hesitate to defend and fight for the Bumiputera economic agenda,” MTEM chief executive Ahmad Yazid Othman said.

Pointing out the economic disparity, Yazid said the per capita income for the Bumiputeras was RM16,066 per year in 2014, while it was RM74,067 per year for non-Bumiputeras.

“Bumiputeras only own 26.1% of homes in Malaysia while non-Bumiputeras own 63.3% despite the Bumiputera population being three times larger than non-Bumiputeras,” he said.

He added that Bumiputera small and medium enterprises only contribute 12% to the gross domestic product (GDP).

Yazid, referring to a recent study by Cent-GPS, said that Bumiputeras face discrimination seeking employment in the private sector.

“As an example, the requirement that a job applicant must be fluent in Mandarin is just an excuse to offer jobs to only Chinese.”

He added that the “Ali Baba” practice became more rampant towards the end of Barisan Nasional’s rule, effectively stunting the Bumiputera agenda.