Day 21

Posted On August 11, 2007

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The government cited the May 13 incident as the main cause of its more aggressive affirmative action, i.e. the New Economic Policy (NEP). NEP was a 20-year plan launched in 1971 to bridge the economic gap between the Malays and the non- Malays by ensuring the former a 30 per cent equity participation in the nation’s economy. Within this period, NEP did successfully create a Malay middle-class and make Malay millionaires. It had also helped to diffuse racial tensions.
The 20-year plan is now approaching its 36th year. Growing discontent in the recent years was evident among the Malays themselves as a new divide emerged between the small elite and majority rural poor. Some argued that it had become a tool for certain groups to increase their wealth. Others claimed that the policy strayed from its original purpose and became a new source of disunity in the country. Still others criticised that the quotas had allowed corruption to fester.
Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister, recently called it an old obsolete thinking in the economic policy and said that it would not benefit Malays in today’s competitive world.
At the same time, the poor Chinese and Indians complained of being marginalised. Orang Asli communities continue to be the poorest in the country.
While the Prime Minister claimed that “the implementation of NEP cannot be seen as a racial issue,” it was in fact built upon a race-based paradigm. At the Dewan Rakyat in March, he said that the goal of 30 per cent equity for Bumiputera “must be pushed until it is achieved” (NST, 23/3/07).


1. Praise God for
a. Those who drafted the original NEP with the noble intention of helping the less privileged.
b. The policy which had helped some of the people intended.
2. The government to
a. readily accept and recognise the flaws in NEP, and sagaciously1 revise it to benefit all citizens.
b. be bold in making new and just policies, free of discrimination, that will benefit the less privileged of all ethnic groups.
3. Against the spirit of envy, strife, deceit and wickedness, particularly those who intentionally abuse government policies.
1 Sagacious: Having or showing keen discernment, sound judgment, and farsightedness.


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