Dr M: NEP didn’t fail, Malays just didn’t use it fully

Danial Dzulkifly
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malays failed to make full of the opportunities presented through the New Economic Policy since its implementation in 1971. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PETALING JAYA, Aug 17 ― The government’s Bumiputera affirmative action policy is not the problem for why Malays are still lagging economically 47 years after its introduction, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Instead, the prime minister said the main problem was because the Malays failed to make full of the opportunities presented through the New Economic Policy (NEP) since its implementation in 1971.

“You cannot say that the NEP has failed completely. It has not. The position of the Malays today is much better than it was before we implemented the NEP, and many things were done to correct the imbalances.

“Unfortunately, the Malays did not respond correctly to the opportunities given to them,’’ he told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview published today.

As example, he said that Malay businessmen chose instant gratification and easy money by selling off the government contracts awarded to them, causing them to lose out on bigger contracts in the long-term.

“If you are a good contractor, you will get more and bigger contracts, but instead, they would always opt for quick money by selling the contract,” he was quoted saying.

The 93-year-old said that unless the Malays are willing to change and adopt better financial management, discipline and ethics, they should not blame anyone else for their economic stagnation.

“While you may blame other races, the fact is the Malays are not really oriented towards doing businesses at the moment. They do not handle money well.

“You give them a job where they are in charge of funds, for example, they don’t manage it well. Sometimes, they even take the money for themselves. This is the reality of the situation.”

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