So let us debate the NEP


Look at it on the bright side. Those who oppose the government and support the opposition are those who received an education with government help. Those who support the government are the older generation who never went to college or university although their children may have.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

It looks like my previous two articles (Some Malays want the NEP to end and The Pakatoon children) regarding the New Economic Policy (NEP) attracted quite a number of comments.

To be honest, I did not bother publishing probably more than half the comments because they were insulting to the Malays plus quite a few were personal attacks against me without any reference whatsoever to the subject matter: the NEP.

I mean what has your comment regarding how you no longer respect me, I should just stay outside Malaysia and shut the fook up, I am no longer relevant, no one listens to me anymore, I have changed since Najib bought me off, and so on, got to do with the NEP?

Anyway, as we already know, Malaysians have very poor comprehension skills and even poorer articulation skills. But they are fantastic when it comes to insulting, cursing and swearing. That is what they do best and that is how many responded to my articles on the NEP.

Nevertheless, it looks like ‘short’ articles of three pages are too short to get the message across and my articles need to be longer before many of you can understand what I am talking about. So let me write yet another article on this subject and hopefully this time you get what I am saying.

My last article was about the Malay Chamber of Commerce and what it did from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s to try to fine-tune the NEP to make it more viable.

In the beginning there was no dispute that the NEP should end in 1990 but because of the mid-1980s recession that whole plan had to be aborted when not only the Malays but also the non-Malays took a beating and many collapsed.

The main grouse of the members of the Malay Chamber of Commerce was that it was not the Chinese who were making life difficult for Malay businessmen but the government itself. Hence the enemy of the Malay businessmen were not the Chinese but the GLCs (including trust agencies and so on).

In fact, during one seminar held at Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s office, who was then the Trade and Industry Minister, (I presented one of the papers), we told the government they need not help the Malay businessmen.

“We do not need your help,” we told the government. “You need not try to assist us in any way. Just stay out of our way and do not become an obstacle to us doing business, especially the GLCs.”

“The Chinese are not our problem,” we added. “In fact we can work well with the Chinese. It is the GLCs that are giving us unfair competition and are grabbing the business not because they are better or that they deserve the business but because they have the government behind them.”

We said that to Tengku Razaleigh’s face. And because of that I was blacklisted by the government and my business suffered. And with the mid-1980s recession to also worry about, that was a double blow for me.

So you see, there were no anti-Chinese sentiments or rhetoric. It was more anti-government sentiments and rhetoric. And you know what? Tengku Razaleigh stood up and applauded. So in that sense he was a real gentleman. But that still did not stop the Ministry of Finance from blacklisting me. Tan Chong could get government contracts but my travel agency licence was cancelled on grounds that my wife is Chinese.

Now, in the pervious article I just touched on the Malay Chamber of Commerce, the 1980s recession, and about business. But that is because the Malay Chamber is a business grouping. So we just talked about business, just like the Chinese Chamber of Commerce would.

No doubt the NEP is not just about business (and not just about Malays). It is also about education. But we have the education groups to talk about that (not those of us in the Malay Chamber) just like the Chinese Chamber would talk about business and would leave the Chinese education issue to the Chinese education movements and groupings.

Let me put it another way. The Traffic section of the Police Department would only talk about road safety and traffic accidents and fatality statistics. It is not their business to talk about rape, bank robberies, house-breakings, terrorism and so on. There are other units for that. But just because they do not discuss it (because it is not their job to do so) does not mean it is not important.

So you should understand the focus of each of my articles. Two articles ago I talked about education and how the NEP has helped many Malays obtain a higher and/or tertiary education, both locally and overseas.

Now, let us look at that issue separate from the issue of Malay businessmen. How many Malay businessmen are there compared to Malay graduates and Malay professionals? More non-businessmen have benefited from the NEP than businessmen have.

Let me put it another way. Even without the NEP many Malay businessmen can still make it because in Malaysia it is political connections that matter when it comes to business. Chinese and Indians, too, make it big-time through political connections. So this is not just a Malay issue. And corruption is also another way to get ahead and Malay businessmen can be as corrupted and know how to bribe just like the non-Malays.

So do you think Malay businessmen really need the NEP? In fact, the NEP is actually a nuisance because it allows the GLCs to grab the businesses, and many times in partnership or joint venture with the Chinese and Umno people.

Look at those water concessionaires, the IPPs, the toll-highway operators, etc. Who the hell do you think own them? Are they owned by people like you and me or are they owned by Umno tycoons, non-Malay tycoons and GLCs?

There are millions of Malays in Malaysia. But less than 0.1% own the multi-billion businesses. These huge business ventures are owned by Umno tycoons, in partnership with Chinese/Indian tycoons and GLCs.

Now, when it comes to education that is another matter. The Malay billionaires do not need government loans or grants. The children of kampung people, civil servants earning not enough money to pay their bills, farmers, fishermen, land settlers, soldiers, policemen, etc., — basically those struggling to survive — are those who need this help. And this is how the NEP helps them.

Look at it on the bright side. Those who oppose the government and support the opposition are those who received an education with government help. Those who support the government are the older generation who never went to college or university although their children may have.

Hence, by educating the Malays, Umno loses and the opposition benefits. Educated Malays are anti-establishment. Uneducated Malays are pro-Umno (or pro-PAS if they are more religious).

So is it such a bad idea that the NEP has helped five million Malays receive a college or tertiary education since the last 40 or 50 years? The more educated the Malays are, the more they talk about ‘universal values’. Hence what the government is doing is it is providing supporters for the opposition until one day, because there are going to be more educated than uneducated Malays, Umno is going to be out of business.

Come on lah you anti-NEP people. Look at it long term. The reason the European monarchies and empires collapsed in the late 1800s was because in the early 1800s Napoleon set up schools for the masses all over Europe and gave everyone an education. And these educated Europeans brought down the corrupted and oppressive monarchies and empires. But it took more than 50 years for it to happen.