NEP not sustainable, says Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim says if the government needs to help through affirmative action, it must be through need-based policies.

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim tonight said the race-based New Economic Policy (NEP) must go, saying this was not sustainable in the long run.

“After 60 years of independence, we recognise clearly the provisions of the constitution, of Malay privileges, Islam as the religion of the federation, the status of the national language and the sovereignty of the (Malay) rulers.

“But we know that the country must progress as a big family.”

Anwar explained that this means “if at all we need to help through affirmative action”, it must be through need-based policies and not race-based policies.

“I remain confident that it (this change) will augur well for Malaysia,” he added.

Speaking at Sogo’s 25th Charity and Business Partners’ Appreciation Nite 2019 at Shangri-La hotel here, Anwar said he had been calling for NEP’s dismantling since 2007.

He said the NEP was not sustainable.

Sustainability means protecting the environment and having compassion for the plight of the common man, regardless of race or religion, he said.

“A poor person who needs assistance must be assisted, whether he is Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban or Kadazan,” Anwar said.

“But having said that, we must show enough empathy to make sure that people realise that the dismantling of the NEP does not mean that the poor… those in the rural areas or the urban poor… will be (neglected).”

The NEP was an affirmative action programme formulated in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 riots. It was adopted in 1971 with the stated goal of poverty eradication and economic restructuring so as to eliminate the identification of ethnicity with economic function.

It was also aimed at having 30% Bumiputera equity.

The government had stated that the spirit of NEP was continued under subsequent policies, such as the National Development Policy, the National Vision Policy and the New Economic Model, to achieve the aim of socio-economic equity and national unity.