Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider
Non-Malays do not oppose pro-Bumiputera affirmative action as long as it is fair and transparent, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday.
The prime minister also said at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Switzerland yesterday that the government was moving towards an affirmative action policy on the basis of needs instead of race.
“By and large, the non-Malays in Malaysia, non-Bumiputeras in Malaysia don’t actually oppose affirmative action,” said Najib at an interview with CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria at the WEF yesterday.
“But what they want to be seen, is the way you implement the policy (that) should be done in a more transparent and fairer way. And what they deserve as Malaysians, the non-Bumiputeras, they should also get what they deserve,” he said at the forum that saw the participation of some 3,000 international leaders from government, business, civil society and media.
Najib pointed out that entry to universities was now based on merit.
“That has increased the percentage of Chinese Malaysians into universities. But interestingly, the Malaysian Indians have fared badly. So they want a quota system.
“Because (in) the previous system, they got 7 per cent, but now, it’s down to 3 per cent. But that goes to show that it’s based on merit,” said Najib, who is also the Barisan Nasional chairman.
Asked about government contracts, Najib said: “But even government contracts, quite a bit of it is based on open bidding. Some of it, of course, there’s some preference for Bumiputera.”
As the 13th general election draws near, Najib said last week that the best way to protect Malay and Bumiputera interest was to expand the economic pie and ensure equal distribution of wealth by merit.
He stressed that non-Malays could accept merit-based wealth distribution and called for an end to the rent-seeking culture.