Ensure Policies Provide Fair Economic Opportunity to all Malaysians

The Centre for Public Policy Studies does not share the view of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s assertion that the government’s drive for restructuring the country’s economy will not be to the detriment of the non-Bumiputera communities. The government’s redistribution policies have always been predicated on the principle of an expanding pie, but in practice, the gains stemming from government intervention in the economy have gone overwhelmingly to a limited segment of the Bumiputera community.

Non-Bumiputera participation in the government’s economic agenda is by default overwhelmingly limited by policies that explicitly or otherwise limit the expansion of non-Bumiputera businesses. The awards of government contracts (both closed and negotiated), licenses and permits are overwhelmingly skewed in favour of Bumiputera firms presently. This limits the opportunities non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs have to expand, especially in industries where government demand is a major factor. The ultimate result is that while the pie may expand, only certain favoured individuals and organisations — mainly Bumiputera-dominated — truly see significant gains.

The government’s commitment to eradicate socio-economic inequalities as stated by Najib can be achieved by fair and equitable access to economic opportunities. The procurement process for government contracts should be transparent, ensuring the government can be held accountable for policies which unduly benefit any party. The government could be working to increase the limited opportunities of the majority of non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs, acting without fear or favour towards any community or individual.

The Centre for Public Policy Studies calls on the government to review current policies limiting fair and equitable economic opportunity to all Malaysians, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss and refine such policies in a constructive approach. These revisions need to be consistent with changing times and globalisation 50 years after independence, and 37 years after the introduction of affirmative action policies. These positive and constructive policy revisions and improvement of implementation processes will contribute greatly to enhancing national unity in the country.

Tan Sri Ramon V. Navaratnam, Chairman; and
Tricia Yeoh, Director,
Centre for Public Policy Studies
Kuala Lumpur
1st July 2008

For more enquiries, please contact:
Tricia Yeoh: tricia_yeoh[at]cpps.org.my
Tel: +603-20932820/20934209
Fax: +603-20933078

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