KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launched the second edition of the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap to improve the wellbeing and income levels of the country’s largest ethnic community.
Najib stressed that efforts to uplift the Bumiputera community should extend past economic measures, when introducing the roadmap dubbed “Transformasi Kesejahteraan Bumiputera” or Bumiputera Wellbeing Transformation.
“More important and going further, this Bumiputera Wellbeing Transformation, will cover all aspects of wellbeing such as education, health, social and culture, living in comfortable and dynamic environment,” he said to a 1,500-strong crowd at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here.
Najib listed out five key transformations for the Bumiputera community under the roadmap, including a shift from only measuring the community’s absolute stake in the economy.
The PM said the benchmark for Bumiputera wellbeing must evolve from the New Economic Policy’s (NEP) focus on Bumiputera equity size in the corporate sector to more diverse factors such as their average monthly wages and the number of qualified professionals.
The new benchmark was also more in line with the government’s planned shift under the National Transformation 2050 (TN50), he explained.
“For example, the government’s diligent efforts all this is bearing fruit, where the average Bumiputera household income has increased from RM3,624 in 2009 to RM5,548 in 2014, which is 53 per cent (improvement),” he said.
Another transformation for the Bumiputera community would be strengthening their human capital to be the top contributor of Malaysia’s economy and global achievers in every field.
“It is my hope and dream to see we produce world class sportsmen, more world class scientists, artists, novelists and InsyaAllah, one day, a Nobel Prize winner,” he said.
Najib also envisioned the Bumiputera community climbing the social and economic ladder, with improved economic status and living standards.
He singled out the Digital Free Trade Zone that he launched on March 23, expressing hope that it would create a “level-playing field” for the Bumiputera community to compete with others.
The two other key transformations required are the enhancing of the Bumiputera community’s ability to compete as well as helping small Bumiputera firms to grow in stature and reach.
Najib launched the first roadmap on November 26, 2011 and the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda on September 14, 2013.
The NEP was launched by second prime minister the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who is also Najib’s father, in 1971 to close the income gap between ethnic groups by implementing affirmative action for the Bumiputera community.
Speaking to the media later, Bumiputera Action Steering Unit (Teraju) chief executive officer Datuk Husni Salleh confirmed that the initiatives and pilot programmes introduced under the first Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap would not be discontinued, but expanded and replicated.
“This is realignment of the Bumiputera agenda, will take into account of the wellbeing of the people; not just about the economy, about making people richer and stuff like that; but we look into the overall quality of life,” he said.
Husni did not provide any specific figures for the targets and goals for better Bumiputera wellbeing under the second roadmap, saying that these will be released from time to time.
“Income, property ownership, number of professionals… these will be the new targets coming up, so we will release them from time to time what will be the new targets for each one of them after we have actually gone through.
“This is the concept, this is the roadmap; so whatever programmes that we do will be within the boundaries of this new roadmap. The last time we came out with BETR 1.0, we also didn’t put specific targets,” he said, referring to the first roadmap by its initials.