In the words of Khir Toyo, "... Umno will continue to struggle and discuss the need to keep the New Economic Policy (NEP) to ensure the interests of the Malays are protected."
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"It doesn’t need a political pundit to tell the nation that the New Economic Policy (NEP) is the legitimating ideology for Umno’s hegemony and legitimacy.
The party now has trouble weaning beneficiaries off it.
The already capable Malays, after five decades of independence, must NO LONGER be beholden to an ‘affirmative mindset’ that entraps them into an unrelenting ’crutch mentality’ and which prevents them from be truly competent, competitive and enterprising.
We must not repeat our mistakes. Otherwise, it will be ‘the Great March Backward’ for the nation."
- Dr. Dzulkifli Ahmad
Why UMNO Needs NEP
"..The NEP is NO longer serving the needs of Malaysia. The policy is hopelessly one-dimensional and short-sighted.
It may be not be weeded out overnight, but its form can certainly be altered over time.
EDUCATION is probably the best starting point. Children of poor Malaysians, regardless of ethnicity must be given equal opportunity funding for higher education.
Children of wealthy Malaysians and members of the Malaysian royalty should not receive preferential treatment, for obvious reasons.
Until and unless a NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT is written, one that is seen not to align disproportionate wealth to a minority, or unevenly among the races - real change for Malaysia, is a figment of imagination.
Equal opportunity would mean nothing if a new socio-economic philosophy replaces purported Malay economic preponderance with that of any other race."
-Dr. Azly Rahman
Being a race-based political party, without the NEP, in the form being practised by this Government since its inception in 1970, UMNO is irrelevant to the Malays. For UMNO to survive as dominant race-based party in Government, it has to rely solely on the Malay vote.
And for NEP to be of any use to UMNO, the policy contents of NEP must focus on giving only preferences to Malays in all spheres of economic, social and educational activity.
The Non-Malay Voters and NEP
But what does all this mean in this coming General Election to the Chinese and Indian voters, who generally see the implementation of NEP by this UMNO-led Government as racially discriminatory against them ?
What it means in the coming General Election, is this:
- A Chinese vote to MCA (as a member of BN), is a vote for UMNO, and therefore it is a Chinese vote for the continuation of NEP in its present racially discriminatory form.
- An Indian vote for MIC (as a member of BN), is a vote for UMNO and therefore it is an Indian vote for the continuation of NEP in its present racially discriminatory form.
Fortunately for the Malay voters, they now have at least two credible choices in the ballot box: the secular Parti KeAdilan and the religiously-inclined PAS.
For the rural poor Malays, UMNO is becoming less and less the "saviour" of the Malays, with the history of UMNO leaders in recent times being associated more with corruption, nepotism, cronyism and blatant abuse of political power for personal gains.
Without NEP, UMNO as a race-based political party has NOTHING to sell to the Malay masses.
The Selangor Chief Minister's public admission confirms what is generally known among the chattering class in th Klang Valley and among liberal and educated Malays, that continuation of the NEP today is NOT about achieving the noble goals of improving the livelihood of the marginalised and the poor Malays.
NEP is all about the political survival of UMNO. It is about making rich UMNO-Malays richer. It is about creating and enriching a creamy class of rich and influential UMNOputras.
To suggest that the continuation of NEP in its present form is towards helping all the poor Malays, is political hogwash.
Dr. Azly Rahman
(Dr. Azly Rahman has doctorate in International Education Development, Masters in International Education, Masters in Communication, Masters in International Affairs, and Bachelors of Science in Education and a member of Kappa Delta Phi International Honor Society in Education Columbia University Chapter, International Understanding Honor Society Ohio University Chapter, Member of Spring 2007 Oxford Round Table on Diversity in Society. Dr Azly has published morethan 150 papers on Malaysia and has taught more than 40 courses in a variety of fields. )
The New Economic Policy (NEP) owes it genesis to a vision that sought to redistribute wealth among Malaysia's races and create a Malay middle class.
The NEP has also overseen the growth of a larger class of poor across all ethnic groups too, with Malaysia witnessing the rapid growth of an urban poor who live below the poverty line.
The NEP was quite ill conceived to begin with, although in fairness, it was NOT meant to continue indefinitely unlike what one observes today.
The state of Malaysian politics continues to worry. Even the Malay middle class - products of the Mahathir development philosophy are now in a state of confusion and contradiction. On the one hand, they have benefited from the policy of affirmative action.
The nature of Malay nationalism is reaching a frightening apex with Malay leaders resorting to Malay nationalism as the panacea of choice when faced against anti-NEP sentiments.
- The perception of mass dissatisfaction will continue to grow,
- Those marginalised by the system will continue to heckle and the middle class, especially the Malays will continue to protest.
- They want to see a government that serves the people and not one that makes the people modern slaves.
- They want to see corrupt politicians brought to justice.
- They do not want a government that is run by arrogant politicians who see politics as a dynasty-building vehicle and a conduit to build up a personal fortune.
The government-driven Iskandar Development Region project may well be more important for Malaysia than ordinary Malaysians envisage. As the laboratory of a "no-affirmative action" special economic zone, its success may well be critical for a thorough review of the NEP, especially if Malay Malaysians do well there.
At heart ultimately in the fight to banish the NEP to the annals of history is a culture of insecurity that Chinese and Indian Malaysians need to appreciate too. As argued by Malay nationalists, the real reason the NEP was implemented in the first place was the economic under-representation of the Malays in Malaysia.
-Dr. Azly Rahman