Why the bumiputra agenda is still a priority

(The Star) – The economic pie of the country is to be shared by every Malaysian – that is the main agenda of SPV 2030.

Yet, many question why the bumiputra agenda is still being given prominence in the new vision.

According to statistics by Institut Masa Depan Malaysia (Masa), the bumiputras are at the bottom when it comes to ownership of wealth and income levels.

Current statistics show that 71.3% of the Bottom 40 or B40 households nationwide are bumiputras.

The industries in which bumiputras are involved in are mostly low value-added industries.

The states which are far behind in terms of development also have populations with a bumiputra majority.

Bumiputras constitute nearly 60% of the country’s population, but the gross domestic product contribution per capita of bumiputras stands at 46%.

According to research conducted by Masa, it is found that of that 46%, the real contribution is only at 28% when the government-linked corporations are excluded.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad lamented at the SPV 2030 launch the main reasons stunting the development and distribution of the country’s economy are corruption and abuse of power.

“This has become cancerous and the only cure, as a doctor, as I see it, should be to amputate and eliminate it, ” said Dr Mahathir.

“What we should get rid of is the corruption and abuse of economic policies (meant to uplift the poor bumiputras) and not eliminate the bumiputra agenda. The agenda is blameless.”

He further stated that SPV 2030 will be very strict when it comes to those who intend to sabotage the bumiputra agenda by using “Ali Baba” methods or abusing the contracts meant for those needing it to uplift their impoverished economy.

Under SPV 2030, there are six main strategies to ensure the marked uplift of bumiputras.

The first is to emphasise equal results to ensure that there is fair socioeconomic development which is on par with the development of other ethnic groups.

Second, existing policies, strategies and initiatives will be further improved and strengthened.

The bumiputras will have better access to training and education, proper access to capital funds

for businesses, research and development as well as commercial and innovation.

There will also be the implementation of initiatives to ensure that there is more bumiputra participation in government procurements.

More steps will also be put in place to curb the abuse of support mechanisms given to sincere entrepreneurs.

Lastly, the sixth strategy intends to develop the attitude and productivity of bumiputras to be a more competitive community.

SPV 2030 also intends to address the issue of monopoly in the supply chain, to ensure that there are more opportunities for the bumiputras to compete in a healthy manner in business and entrepreneurship.

Development of policies and strategies in major urban areas also need to take into account the bumiputras’ ability to own properties in the area.

Likewise, rural economic centres need to be strengthened to boost the economy and create new jobs.

In addition, economic development should focus on less developed states with high bumiputra population. These states include Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak.

Rapid development in the states will indirectly provide more economic and employment opportunities to the bumiputras.

The bumiputras’ achievements must be also prioritised and systematically applied in each core strategy and capability to achieve SPV 2030 goals.

In this regard, the bumiputra community needs to take the initiative to drastically change their mindset and attitude by showing a strong commitment to increasing their productivity.