Malaysia PM YAB Datuk Sri Najib: “Abolish NEP”

Malaysia PM YAB Datuk Sri Najib said: “Abolish NEP”

On his maiden trip to Singapore yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was on a charm offensive, touching on his plan to dismantle the National Economic Policy (NEP), a sore contention point in Malaysia’s race-relations.

najib in pattaya thailand asean summit 10409In an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times, Najib (right) said that the ethnic quotas had damaged Malaysia’s competitiveness and ran counter to global trends.

He added that the long-term benefits of ending the scheme would outweigh the “pain”.

 

Launched in 1970, the NEP has remained one of the most divisive aspects of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic society. The affirmative action programme uniquely favours the Malay majority over the Chinese and Indian minorities.

Among the benefits, the NEP allows Malays to buy homes at a discount, privileged access to scholarships and higher education and employment in certain sectors.

Expect anger from Malays

Najib’s comments were made to reporters in Chinese-majority Singapore and analysts said his words might have been bolder than they would have been at home.

If Najib abandons the policy completely, the Straits Times said he is certain to expect anger from the Malay community, which provides the bulk of support for his ruling Umno party.

By contrast, his actions might prove attractive with Chinese and Indian voters, who largely support the opposition led by Anwar Ibrahim, and have long denounced ethnic quotas and advantages as racist, the Straits Times reported.

He framed his move in combative terms, describing himself as a “warlord” who would face down opposition from smaller chiefs in his party.

Since coming to power in March, Najib has surely and slightly altered the system by removing the 30 percent Bumiputera equity rule for firms in the 27 services sub-sectors.

 M Krishnamoorthy in Malaysiakini news

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