Some Malays want the NEP to end


I spoke to many of these Malays and asked them whether they could have gone to university or come to the UK if their parents had to pay for it and almost all admitted that it would not have been possible. Without the NEP they would have had to forget about going to university.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Actually, there are some Malays who would like to see the end of the New Economic Policy or NEP. I have met quite a number of Malays who expressed this sentiment. They feel that after 45 years maybe it is time to call it a day.

Of course, this is the sentiment of even more non-Malays. All you need to do is to read the comments in the Blogs, Facebook, news portals, and so on, and it is very clear that the non-Malays feel that the NEP should come to a halt.

No doubt the reasons given are varied but amongst the more popular arguments are that the Malays are backward and will always remain backward because of the NEP. The NEP makes the Malays lazy, complacent and unable to compete. The Malays must be taught to fish, not given a fish. The NEP benefits a few rich Malays and not the less fortunate and poorer Malays. The NEP is unfair and unjust because it favours one race above another.

There are some other arguments as well but I suppose if you want to argue an issue you can always find points to use in defence of your stand. You can even debate with the Pope that God does not exist if you know how and the Pope would be hard-pressed in countering your arguments if you use plain logic without the help of quotations from the Bible — which you can shoot down with just one point: prove that the Bible is God’s word.

Anyway, there are Malays who do agree that the NEP has outlived its purpose and should no longer be around. Some of these Malays are actually nationalists so their reasons for wanting the NEP to end are not quite noble. They feel that if the NEP ends this will upset many Malays who will then rise up in anger and channel their frustrations to the non-Malays.

So these people have ulterior motives for wanting to see the end of the NEP. It is not that they feel that the NEP is unfair to the non-Malays or is counter-productive and actually makes the Malays worse off. It is that once the NEP ends Malaysia will have a very large disgruntled Malay population who can then be exploited for political gains.

This is akin to setting off a few bombs and then blaming the non-Malays like what the Nazis did when they burnt the Reichstag and the Communists got blamed for it. Hence these Malays want to burn the NEP so that the non-Malays would suffer the backlash.

Actually it is a very clever strategy and one that worked for Hitler. And what makes it even cleverer is that it is the Chinese who are screaming the most for the NEP to end. Hence if the Malays end the NEP it will not be the Malays who get blamed for it but the Chinese.

But that is politics I suppose and as they say: everything is fair in love and war. I would not put it past politicians to bomb their own skyscraper or shoot down their own plane if that can mobilise the people into uniting under a common cause against what they perceive as an enemy.

Then there is a second category of Malays who want the NEP to end. These would be Malays who have more or less already made it. I meet them here in the UK: students studying here, graduates who have already completed their education whether in Malaysia or in the UK, Malays with successful careers or businesses, professionals who have settled down in the UK and whose children were born here, and so on.

In short, they no longer have any need for the NEP. Through the help of the NEP they have already made something of their life and even if the NEP still continues it no longer benefits them. Even their children have graduated or are about to graduate. Anyway, they have enough money to pay for their children’s education from their own pocket.

Many of these people have property in London and in many other countries. They could have been originally sons and daughters of fishermen, farmers, land settlers or junior civil servants. But that was in the past. Today they no longer have any financial problems because what they already possess can last two generations or more.

So when you talk to them they would agree that the NEP is no longer relevant, at least to them. They have no problems if the NEP ends. The NEP is not going to make their life any better than it already is.

We cannot say that the NEP is a total failure, of course. What many would not tell you is that an estimated five million Malays received a university education locally and overseas because of the NEP. We cannot always measure the success or failure of the NEP based on how many businesses or stocks and shares the Malays own. The number of Malays who went to university because of the NEP is a far greater achievement.

I spoke to many of these Malays and asked them whether they could have gone to university or come to the UK if their parents had to pay for it and almost all admitted that it would not have been possible. Without the NEP they would have had to forget about going to university.

And some of these Malays who admitted that they would never have been able to go university without the NEP do not mind if the NEP ends.

I have never yet been able to meet the large number of Malaysian fishermen, farmers and land settlers in the UK. None of them seem to come to the UK for their Christmas holidays. They do not travel to Manchester to visit the MU stadium or drop in to my kopitiam to spend RM500 for lunch or dinner.

I am not sure why I never bump into any of these fishermen, farmers and land settlers but if they do happen to holiday in the UK and if they visit the MU stadium and drop in to my kopitiam to eat, I would also like their opinion regarding the NEP. I am most curious to know whether they, too, feel the NEP should end. Then this will give me a better picture of the true sentiments rather than get feedback just from people who already have money in their pocket.