Sunday, September 16, 2007

nation’s ex-leaders want nep abuses to stop...

to those who wants to read the full interviews with the nation's ex-leaders... i suggest that you get the latest the edge newspaper.. i got mine few hours ago and reading it half way, i must say it's pretty interesting point of views fm them...

p/s ; it'll be more interesting to hear wat the CURRENT leaders got to say, esp the umno bunch...

Nation’s ex-leaders want NEP abuses to stop

Sep 3, 07 6:30pm Malaysiakini

The time has come to end the abuses of the New Economic Policy (NEP), said former top Malaysian leaders as they debated over the policy’s relevance.

While their views on whether the NEP should be scrapped were divided, the quartet - Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Musa Hitam and Anwar Ibrahim - who were interviewed separately by financial weekly The Edge, agreed that the policy should be refined.

“You have to be more selective. You cannot give (these NEP benefits) just because he is an Umno division head,” said former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Let’s have the names out. I showed the names of those who got licences or contracts. This government says it wants to be transparent, let’s see how transparent it is,” he added.

However, he rebutted the argument that the policy, which favours the bumiputeras, hindered national unity and development.

“If it is a hindrance, then how come Malaysia is the best developed of all developing countries?” asked Malaysia’s longest serving premier who stepped down in 2003 after 22 years in office.

Nevertheless, he admitted to having ‘blamed’ the Malays for not snapping up the opportunities offered to them and conceded that the policy had been distorted to help the rich get richer.

Citing an example, he claimed that approved permits (APs) for imported cars were previously given out to Umno headquarters’ staff to be sold at RM8,000 each but it is now given to others in huge numbers to be sold at RM60,000 each.

“These people have huge houses and even helicopters. This is not the NEP, this is abuse of the NEP. The government must put a stop to this,” he said.

Ku Li: NEP will remain another 50 years

Acknowledging the existence of abuses in the implementation of the NEP, former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said one has to be “realistic” that the policy will remain for another 50 years or more.

“I know people are very much against it. But to me if there was no NEP, it is going to be very difficult for the country,” he told the financial weekly.

Razaleigh however called for the economic policy to be refined.

“You cannot go Robin Hood-style taking from some and giving it to others. That is unfair and we cannot be unfair,” he said.

Former deputy premier Musa Hitam said with or without the NEP, there will be groups who will get more than what they deserve.

“At the moment, everything is blamed on the NEP. Every non-Malay says the government bocor (leaks) here, bocor there, corruption… Malay-lah. It’s a racist sort of thing.

“But my point is, you mean to say that if there is no NEP, it would not happen?” he asked, stressing that questioning the NEP should not be seen as questioning the special rights of bumiputeras under the Federal Constitution.

‘It’s obsolete’

Mahathir’s former deputy and ex-finance minister Anwar Ibrahim struck a different cord and reiterated his contention that the NEP had become obsolete.

“Don’t get me wrong - I am very Malay and I am very concerned with the problems that affect the Malays. I don’t need to be apologetic about that,” said Anwar, who now leads opposition PKR.

“Being very Malay and a committed Muslim does not mean that I aspire for the same visions and goals of the NEP which I supported in the 1970s, given the context of the period,” he said, adding that the country has to “move on.”

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was also featured in The Edge’s 50th Merdeka special edition but he did not touch on the NEP.

The NEP was enacted in 1970 - in the aftermath of the 1969 racial riots - as part of a bold blueprint to reduce income disparity among different ethnic groups. This included a wide range of measures such as the 30 percent bumiputera equity target.

It was given a shelf life of 20 years but the policy continued after 1990 under a different name - the New Development Policy - to be implemented up to 2000.

The National Vision Policy was set to be implemented between 2001 and 2010. However, the government in the Ninth Malaysia Plan unveiled last year, revived the NEP targets.

A heated public debate on the NEP took place last year when two academic studies revealed that the 30 percent bumiputera equity target had been exceeded. The government however rejected this claim.


No comments: