Bumiputera economic policy will make Malays lazy, says Zaid

Eileen Ng, TMI

Race-based policies like the Bumiputera economic agenda is an “addiction” to the dominant Malay population, which makes them lazy, says former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim (pic).

The maverick politician told The Malaysian Insider that policies to improve the lives of people should not be targeted at just one race but must be based on needs rather than ethnicity.

“I think it is a superficial policy and the idea of helping one particular group is no longer necessary. I don’t see the need for special treatment for Malays only.

“Instead, you should start on the premise that everyone should be treated equally and fairly and help those in need, and not just the Malays,” he said in an interview in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Last Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Council which has a five-pronged thrust to strengthen Bumiputeras in the fields of capital, corporate sector equity ownership, non-financial assets, entrepreneurship and commerce, and service delivery and ecosystem.

The new plan includes a slew of economic programmes as well as cash aid which Putrajaya said was aimed at helping Bumiputeras financially.

Analysts see this as Najib’s attempt to shore up support ahead of the Umno party polls next month, while respected law expert Dr Azmi Sharom said it was a violation of the Federal Constitution which promises equality.

In describing the agenda as “discriminatory” and “unfair”, Zaid, a former Umno minister, dismissed the notion that Bumiputeras cannot compete effectively without it, noting that the affirmative action policy is an “addiction” which makes the dominant Malay population lazy.

“It’s a choice to do something less, no need to strive so much because it is easier not to. However, we don’t need special treatment, but reasonable help based on needs. If you want to help them, help them the right way,” he said.