Five decades of helping the Bumiputeras have not achieved the desired results, and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has decided to set a new direction and approach that is more fair, equitable and inclusive.

In January, the government will host a Bumiputera economic congress to empower the community and address their failure in acquiring 30% equity ownership in the economy.

The emphasis will shift from focusing on selected companies to programmes that will involve more entrepreneurs, including small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim is to create a middle-class category of Bumiputeras who can “build their business and increase their income, instead of relying on wages”.

Anwar previously indicated that the affirmative action policies should shift from race-based to needs-based. If that were the case, why can’t a Malaysian economic congress be held instead of the one for Bumiputeras?

Ten months after the unity government came to power, there are still doubts that many promised reforms will actually be carried out.

Isn’t Anwar the prime minister of a multiracial, multireligious nation? Don’t struggling non-Malays deserve help after many decades of neglect? What programmes have the government in line for them?

Has Anwar forgotten the strong non-Bumiputera support given to him throughout his journey to become PM?

We should reject the creation of yet more Bumiputera millionaires who piggyback on the NEP, take advantage of the affirmative action policies and enrich themselves at the expense of their poorer cousins.

As we have seen, some super rich had to stash their wealth overseas, away from prying eyes. We only get to know about this hidden wealth when the western media reveals them in exposes like the Pandora Papers. Or when we read reports of their luxury lifestyles and collections of multi-million dollar gems and designer handbags.

What has happened to Anwar’s original plans of reformasi? To some, he appears to be like one of those he once criticised and condemned when he was in the opposition.

Perhaps the fault lies with Anwar’s supporters, who misread him. He appears not to have shed any of his Umno-Baru DNA and is looking more like the politician he once was, when he was former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s right-hand man.

Now that Anwar has achieved his ambition to become PM, is he abandoning all desire for reform?

Last August, asked at a get-together with students, Anwar admitted that Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional will lose all future elections if the unity government were to abolish Bumiputera quotas in higher learning institutions.

In other words, he “confirmed” that it’s all about votes.

Malaysians need not hold their breath for meaningful reforms, as they continue to ask if they are on Anwar’s list of things to do for the next four years.

The 30% equity of Malays in business has not been reached, but the government still wants the NEP to continue in some form or another. The nation cannot sustain this need.

Instead of a Bumiputera congress, why can’t we have workshops to teach the Malays how to be self-reliant? Is the idea of a Malaysian economic congress too difficult to accept? Pakatan Harapan supporters will continue their pledge to support PH and Anwar, despite his failure (so far) to fulfil a number of election pledges.

However, there is one ray of hope.

If the bureaucratic red tape was done away for Tesla to set up their company in Malaysia, then, perhaps, this is a signal that this government has the ability to initiate the promised reforms.

So, will the people see more reforms? It is possible, judging from the Tesla experience, but there must be political will.

Source : FMT

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