NEP and the Chinese


By Zaid Untuk Rakyat

The success stories of the Chinese under NEP are plentiful and are well known. NEP for this purpose means hugely lucrative patronage preference system.

As the Prime Minister’s brother Nazir Razak himself says, the NEP has become bastardised. What he doesn’t say explicitly is that the NEP, which was set up with noble aims of eradicating poverty irrespective of race, has become a system that is opaque, corrupt,  non-accountable and highly secretive.

Through this system which was corrupted by UMNO leaders, there are quite a few Chinese who have made it very big because of the NEP. These include Vincent Tan, Francis Yeoh, the young 28-year-old Jho Low (Low Taek Jho) and Liew Kee Sin of SP Setia fame. How did they do it? We should know so that we can learn and so that other Chinese can emulate them.

Mr Liew who is so happy with the NEP and admits he is one of the NEP’s success stories. He was an officer at a small merchant bank. But he knew how to move in the right circles. He befriended two lawyers – Rashid Manaf and Zaki Azmi (now the Chief Justice). Both Rashid and Zaki did not have any business  history, but they were nice people and friendly.  They didn’t make much from the law practice either. Neither did I. But somehow, as businessmen, they were successful when they became lawyers to UMNO. Their friendship with Mahathir, Daim, Samy Vellu benefitted their business. Wasn’t SP Setia previously owned by SPK which was controlled by Mahathir’s friends Abdullah Ahmad (Kok Lanas) and Ramli Khushairi? And Liew became a shareholder with Rashid and Zaki? Didn’t they say that SPK used to belong to UMNO leaders and civil servants? Yes, Liew is an NEP success story.

Vincent Tan made it big because he was able to convince then PM Mahathir Mohamad in the 1980s that gambling was bad for Muslims and the Islamic Government Mahathir was touting then should not be involved in it. It was a simplistic argument which was acceptable to Mahathir because Mahathir wanted his friend Vincent Tan to make money.

So he privatised Sports Toto and other “haram” activities, such as slot machine licences and sports betting to Vincent. But to be successful, Vincent had to have  a Mahathir relative as his “partner”. Vincent asked a nice gentleman, Mahathir’s nephew, who headed the national news agency Bernama then, to be his partner, with Mahathir’s blessings. But I doubt this nice guy got much in the end as Malay partners dont last very long in this high stakes game. The rest is history. Vincent built his fortunes on these “haram” activities. An NEP success story, certainly.

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