Chamber wants Bumi target put aside to grow economy

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) said today that the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity target should be put aside for now in favour of efforts to grow the economic pie.

“It’s important to create the income. It’s not the share,” ACCCIM president Tan Sri William Cheng said.

“Why don’t we all work together to make sure Malaysia [gets] more FDI (foreign direct investment), more local investment… then you create more working opportunities.

“If you improve the Bumiputera income, automatically their equity will increase.”

He added Malaysia will not progress economically so long as it “went in circles” arguing about Bumiputera equity.

“We are wasting too much time to argue on the 30 per cent,” he said.

Cheng said the government should instead focus on creating the right environment for all races to achieve the New Economic Model’s (NEM) high-income goal.

“If you make all our Malay friends… become a high-income group already – average more than US$15,000 or US$20,000, even US$30,000 a year — don’t need to worry about equity already,” he said.

He explained that if those high-income Malays then saved 30 per cent of their income, they could then directly buy equity in the form of market shares or property investments.

“The end result… can be 40, 50 per cent [Bumiputeta equity]. Who knows?” he said.

Cheng said the government should also provide training to the Bumiputera community to improve their skill set in order to increase employability and average wages.

“To achieve the US$15,000 income is not a dream,” he said.

“You can see a lot of Malaysians who work overseas. To get US$1 million is not a dream.”

Cheng cited CIMB CEO Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who was reported to have earned RM14.5 million last year, as an example of how Malays can succeed by dint of hard work.

“The bank is doing well, extremely well the last few years. That’s why you can see his income from RM2 million to RM4 million to RM14 million,” he said.

“He worked hard for it. He achieved it. [And] not because he’s Malay.”