Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If not for "monstrous hijack", 30% Malay-Bumi quota already met

As Umno and MCA continue to wrangle over the country’s economic pie, Pakatan Rakyat leaders have ramped up calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe if it was true that if not for a “monstrous hijack”, the 30 percent Malay and Bumiputera target would have already been met.

“The real problems for Malaysia are not BN's claims of race or religion but deep-seated corruption, inefficiency, abuse of power, mediocrity and lack of rule of law,” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.

“If the RM52 billion worth of Bumiputera shares still remained in Bumi hands, then the 30 percent Bumi/Malay equity target under the NEP would have long been achieved.”

No need for heated polemics, just do it

Lim was referring to shares allocated to Malays and Bumiputera worth a whopping RM54 billion since the New Economic Policy was launched in 1971. Prime Minister Najib Razak said in June last year that of this amount, only RM2 billion still remained in Malay hands.

“Clearly the RM52 billion worth of shares given to the few Malay and Bumiputera leaders was cashed out and sold off. Stern action and the full force of the law should be unleashed at this open sabotage of the NEP,” Guan Eng said.

PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin said the best way for Umno and MCA to prove to the people that it was not hiding any misdeeds was by agreeing to hold an independent full-scale RCI.

"We have to stand by principles of honesty and zero-tolerance for corruption. It is no point launching into heated polemics and boring everyone in the country to death because they know from the past, it will just be sandiwara. If Najib is sincere, call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry," Shamsul told Malaysia Chronicle.

Protecting cronies

Indeed, the NEP was introduced in 1971 to eradicate poverty regardless of ethnicity. But due to decades of Umno political dominance, the policy has been turned into a symbol of Malay rights and special position to help the party camouflage the gross corruption amongst its top leaders.

Covers for graft, again in the name of Malay supremacy, have also been added to the policy through the years, mostly during the rule of former premier Mahathir Mohamad from 1981 to 2003.

“BN's refusal to take action against these NEP saboteurs and that they return the RM52 billion is an immoral act designed to protect their own cronies who have profited shamelessly from a policy that is supposed to assist the poor Malays and Bumiputera," Guan Eng said.

Calling a spade a spade

At at a recent economic congress, Najib’s brother Nazir, the CIMB CEO, openly described the NEP as having been "bastardized" into its current corrupt form. Najib has tried without much success to replace the NEP with the New Economic Model that strives to distribute economic wealth on a needs-basis - much like the Pakatan's own platform.

As expected, Nazir's comments sparked a furore from Malay rights groups such as the Mahathir-patronized Perkasa and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who rushed to issue stinging warnings to the Chinese not to encroach on Malay rights. But their emotional rhetoric failed to impress.

“So long as the BN government refuses to demand full accountability and action over the ‘lost’ RM52 billion in bumi shares, they are using the NEP to divide and rule by playing racial antagonism against Malaysians,” said Guan Eng.

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