I have been watching from the sideline on the heavy issue on Nazir Razak who believes that the NEP was ‘bastardized’ for the advantage of a few privileged. I am saddened that everyone is talking on issue which is non-existence. NEP was totally disbanded in 1990 20 years after it was launched.
We are witnessing a vicious quarrel between Ibrahim Ali (PERKASA) and Nazir and the quarrel between Chua Soi Lek and Ibrahim Ali. If everyone reads and follows their articulations on the issue debated one will be totally confused as the NEP does not exist any longer.
I am not sure what Nazir was trying to say, but if he was saying that the NEP was bastardized during the tail end of its existence, than there are some relevance and logic to his comment. Since mid-1984 until the end of NEP in 1990, the policy was ruthlessly bastardized.
Let us recollect from the start of the NEP until it was disbanded by Dr Mahathir in 1990. In practice Mahathir was quite allergic to the NEP and he called on the Malays and that Bumis to throw away their ‘tongkat’.
NEP was well thought policy where it benefited everyone directly or indirectly. NEP had spelt a clear intention of its formulation and the intention was only one; that was National Unity.
This holistic intention was agreeable by all races when Tun Razak was able to convince every race in this country that National Unity was the only way to ensure the nation’s security and the people’s well being be taken care of, and live in togetherness in civil and harmonious nation.
To achieve this ultimate (National Unity) the nation had to go through an affirmative action, that was via the following;
Firstly was to eradicate poverty irrespective of races. This was the main agenda actually. Tun Razak and friends believed that poverty can ruin a nation. The Malays were poor, the Indian were trapped in a poor living environment in the estates and rubber plantations while there were also poor Chinese in the sub urban areas even though the nation’s economy was controlled by them.
In reality the economic ownership of the Chinese was less than 25 percent during that period. The main chunk of the economy was in the hands of the foreigners. So there was nothing racial about the policy.
Tun Razak or anyone would believe that if most of the people were poor than that could be a very serious political destabilizing factor that could lead the country into political anarchy and the 13 May incidence was the living example where economic disparity could cause chaos.
Secondly in order to achieve the National Unity the country and the government had to reduce the income disparity between the haves and the have not’s and the diparity between the incomes of the urban and the rural population. The rural people were too far behind in income and opportunities and the government felt that this issue must be addressed holistically without affecting any other race or quarter.
In order to reduce the disparity of incomes the government wanted to do away with recognizing races by their economic functions. We didn’t want to recognize Malay as farmers in the padi fields and small holders. We wanted to do away recognizing the Indians as plantation or as workers of gigantic estates that were mostly owned by foreigners, like Harrison and Crossfields, Sime Darby, Guthries, London Tin (now MMC), Tradewinds and many others.
That was why Tun Razak instructed Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to bring back all these companies back to Malaysia from their head quarters in London. All these companies were finally brought back to the nation and to implement the exercise it needed a person with nationalistic sensitivity and had a strong political will.
The last of the big corporation that was brought back was Guthries and that happened on Monday the 7th of September 1981 after a lengthy and tedious preparation years before that date.
The brief narration above needed to be actualized and the government were very serious of uplifting the wealth of the Bumiputra to the 30 percent equity by 1990 without taking away the ones owned by the other races.
Hence within the sphere of NEP they holistic goals where the Bumiputra were given the target of 30 percent wealth and equity holdings, the Non Bumi was given the target of 40 percent and the rest for the foreigners who were looking at this country as the potential centre of economic vibrancy.
As the NEP was to increase the Malay capitalization and equity, it was agreed that the Bumiputra should not take away the portions that were already owned by other races. The formula to the plan was to enlarge the nation economic cake. So the 30 percent allocated for the Bumis were through the enlarged cake of the nation’s economy.
Everyone was happy to implement the policy. As far as I remember every economic development project both the Bumi and Non Bumi worked things out in a very cordial and cooperative atmosphere.
The non Malays were most of the time enjoying the early fruits of any social engineering projects. For example the Felda, then Called LKTP (lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan) which was then busy opening up lands for plantations in the scheme made the Non Bumi the first group to enjoy clearing the land and the supply of fertilizers and other needs of the scheme.
The Bumi had the land the non Bumi had earlier enjoyed the clearing jobs that were worth in hundreds of million of ringgit. Everybody was happy and the busiest department in co-coordinating all NEP projects was the Implementation and Co-Ordination Unit of the PM Department (ICU).
Those days everything was transparent and could visually saw the focus of the implementers were at the peak without thinking of making personal gain and greed.
The Non Malays respected both the Malay politicians and the government implementers as they witnessed the most outstanding episode of nation building was implemented with pride by everybody.
Even the Non Bumi were happy to assist the Bumi to prosper together with them as they accept the fact that prosperous Bumi will make them more enjoyable undertaking businesses in the vibrant economy.
In short the real economic impetus for the country was the NEP. BUMI and Non Bumi enjoyed living in the most cordial as far as history can reminisce.
Bumiputra’s stake in commerce and Industry and the equity ownership increased tremendously from 2.7 in 1970 to 18.2 in 1984.
But when the change of guard in the Ministry of Finance happened in June 1984 anything surrounding the NEP was slowly neglected. Daim made many changes that was detrimental to NEP.
From then on we saw leaders in power were also interested to become rich themselves. From then on the leaders in power were competing with the ordinary Malay businessmen and that was the time when the Bumi special rights shifted to a very small and exclusive members who surrounded the PM and our great Daim.
The Bumi special rights which were meant for Malay and other indigenous were transferred to names like Vincent Tan, YTL, Halim Saat and many other names that were familiar to everyone in the country.
All these new Malay Bumiputra exclusive cronies were actually the Bumis, not for people like you and me anymore.
This was the period when the whole NEP was ill treated and pitilessly bastardized and I agree with Nazir Razak at this point.
To be continued……………..