Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Najib's brother says NEP punishes talented Malays

Najib's brother says policy punishes talented Malays

KUALA LUMPUR - The brother of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said yesterday the nation's affirmative New Economic Policy (NEP) needed to be reviewed as it was unfair to the majority of the Malays and benefits only a selected few.

Mr Nazir Razak, who is the younger brother, is the chief executive of Malaysian bank CIMB.

When asked if the new generation of Malays are more open to reviewing the policy, Mr Nazir said: "I have met a Malay professional overseas who refused to return to Malaysia because he is of the view that successful Malays are not welcomed in the country. This is because the Malays' success is always linked to NEP. In fact some of them refused to return thinking that the NEP is not for them but only to selected Malay groups, so they are better off working overseas".

In an interview with Mingguan Malaysia published yesterday, he felt that the policy, introduced during the premiership of his father Abdul Razak Hussein in 1971, has deviated from its original objective.

"In the long term NEP is about national unity. But today we have deviated from the original intention of the NEP to achieve unity," said Mr Nazir. "For certain parties, NEP has become the cause of disunity because the policy has been misused by some people for profit".

He cited the lack of transparency in the allocation of bumiputra shares as an example of abuse.

"In the name of NEP, shares of listed companies are given out to bumiputras, but the question is who is entitled and who is benefiting from it?" he asked.

However, Nazir said certain aspect of the NEP such as scholarships allocation should be retained.

Opposition leader Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Chief Minister of Penang, cited Mr Najib's admission last year that out of the RM54 billion ($23 billion) worth of shares allocated, only RM2 billion remain in bumiputra hands.

"Those who have stolen from the Malays must be brought to book," said Mr Lim. If not for the leakages, the 30 per cent target of bumiputra ownership would have been achieved, he said.

Mr Lim added that retaining the failed policy would only make Malaysia stuck in what he called the "corruption trap".

Mr Lim said that while the NEP had noble intentions, it has become synonymous with corruption and cronyism.

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