Chua makes his case for change

By Ken Vin Lek, Free Malaysia Today

MCA president Chua Soi Lek today laid out the party’s stand on the economy: he wants preferential treatment to be based on needs rather than race. Speaking at the MCA-organised Chinese Economic Congress here, he said the Malaysian Chinese have been and still are loyal citizens who cannot remain globally competitive unless the country heads towards a merit-based direction.

And to make his case for change, he quoted Confucius: “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change and for one to know what is right and not to do it, is the worst type of cowardice.”

Chua added: “Failure is not an option for the government and we are one with an intent to change for the better and do what is right.”

In his candid speech to the 500-strong crowd, he said, “We must promote a caring society in which the poor must be looked after. It is clear that preferential treatment must be given according to needs rather than race,”

Chua also urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to be more flexible in implementing the 30% Bumiputera equity in other sectors of the economy.

“Rather than enforcing the 30% Bumiputera equity requirement across the board, a more flexible system in the form of a margin of preference system should be implemented on a sector-by-sector basis,” he said.

Chua said Malaysia is heading towards a knowledge-based economy, and as such entrepreneurs must be given assistance to carry out their business.

Earlier this year, Najib relaxed the 30% Bumiputera equity requirement for initial public offerings when he tabled the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Chua praised the initiative but urged further relaxation of the race-based policy.

On government-linked companies (GLCs), he said, “It is important to open up the companies’ board of directors to include more non-Bumiputeras…”

“In Malaysia, GLCs make up nearly 40% of the value of Bursa Malaysia and they dominate the private sector in the economy.”

As such, he urged the GLCs to take a bold step and venture regionally.

Open tender system

Chua also called for greater transparency in the government’s tender system.

He said the closed tender system has been associated with corruption and kickbacks and thus compromising the quality of projects in Malaysia.

“By having an open tender system, it will help lower costs besides removing accusations of corruption.”

“Public procurements should also be open to all small medium enterprises (SMEs). All SMEs must be given equal access and opportunities. Procurements should not be given based on race or equity requirement,” he said.