Pakatan vows to keep pro-Bumi policies

(FMT) – But there’ll be improvements in their implementation to prevent abuse, says PPBM’s chief strategist.

Pakatan Harapan has pledged to improve the implementation of pro-Bumiputera policies if it comes to power.

Rais Hussin, a member of the Pakatan presidential council and the chief strategist for PPBM, told FMT the coalition would continue with the affirmative action policies but would revamp the methods of carrying them out to prevent abuse.

“These policies have been abused and misused by certain strata of the administration to benefit just a very few selected Umnoputras up the food chain, while many Malays have been ignored,” he said.

He was commenting on remarks by Centre for Global Affairs Malaysia (Icon) president Abdul Razak Baginda that the New Economic Policy (NEP) had yielded no benefit to the Malays and had instead been detrimental to them.

Razak also said that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is now Pakatan Harapan chairman, missed the chance to remove the NEP during his 22 years in power.

But Rais said the NEP was a good policy though there were serious gaps in its implementation.

“So it’s important that we address the implementation of affirmative action policies for the Malays to benefit the community as a whole rather than a few leaders in Umno.”

The NEP was introduced in 1971 in the aftermath of the May 13 riots two years earlier. It has been much maligned, but its defenders say it has succeeded in creating a Malay middle class and reducing poverty from 74% in 1970 to 6% in 2016.

In recent times, critics of the Malay-based PPBM have said it would be unable to secure the rights of the Malays. They speculated that the other Pakatan parties – PKR, DAP and Amanah – would not let it contest for many seats in the coming general election..

Rais said Pakatan would also have new affirmative action policies to benefit all races. He said these would address hardcore poverty and sudden poverty in both rural and urban areas.

These policies would serve to liberate people from vicious cycles of poverty, he claimed.

“Many models are available across the world which can be imbued with best practices and good governance measures,” he said. “We can introduce initiatives like micro credit facilities and soft loan facilities that can be tweaked to suit local conditions by eliminating interest rather than just giving them handouts which aren’t sustainable.

“It is our moral duty to help everyone in a productive manner so that they can become contributors to the economy rather than just recipients.”

For Pakatan Harapan, Rais said, it was the prosperity of the man on the street that mattered, not simply growth rates or credit ratings that paint a rosy picture of the economy.

“We will focus on the diligent implementation of our policies through good governance, best practices and through consistent tracking and monitoring of the deliverables. We will not compromise on this.

“When Pakatan Harapan unveils our policies through our manifesto, the people will see how serious we are in combating corruption, malfeasance and abuse of power.”