Is the New Economic Model (NEM) a myth or a reality – is it still at “trial balloon” stage?

Recently news headlines on the New Economic Model (NEM) have suddenly dominated the media like “IMF asks Malaysia to take ‘decisive‘ action on reforms” and “Najib tells Chinese to lead reforms under NEM, 10MP” in the past 24 hours.

References to NEM appears to have come into vogue again, coming out from the shadows from where it had been banished when the Tenth Malaysia Plan was unveiled in June in Parliament.

These beg the question whether the New Economic Model, announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on 30th March this year is a myth or reality.

The NEM has been described as one of the four critical pillars of Najib’s National Transformation of Malaysia, representing the ambitious Economic Transformation Programme to transform Malaysia by 2020 into a developed, competitive and high income economy with inclusivity and sustainability.

The fourth pillar, the Tenth Malaysia Plan, which was adopted by Parliament in early July, is to operationalise the NEM in the five years from 2011-2015.

However, strident objections from rightwing extremist groups to the NEM, particularly to its biggest idea to begin the dismantling the New Economic Policy (NEP) with the implementation of transparent and market-friendly affirmative action, which will transition from ethnic considerations to emphasize the lower-income 40% of households have led to Najib distancing and even dissociating himself from the NEM.

This was why before he presented the Tenth Malaysia Plan in Parliament in early June which is to operationalise the NEM, Najib made the shocking statement that the NEM is not the Government’s “final stand” but merely the “trial balloons” of a group of experts from the global market’s perspective.

Is this why when the DAP National Publicity Secretary and MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua made the proposal for the removal of bumiputera discounts for luxury homes and commercial property to improve competitiveness and restore investor confidence while retaining the seven per cent discounts enjoyed by Malays and other bumiputeras for homes below RM500,000 – which is fully in line with the Biggest Idea in the NEM for needs-based affirmative action policies – Najib’s Umno Cabinet Ministers were in the front line among Tony’s critics and detractors.

The time has come for Najib to declare unequivocally whether the NEM with its Biggest Idea to replace ethnic considerations with needs-based affirmative action policies is still a myth or reality – whether it is still at the level of “trial balloons” or whether it has the full and commitment of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 12:10 pm

    This is typical Mahathirism. Divide and rule. Promise the sky to everybody. Tell MCA the country needs the Chinese. Tell MIC the country needs the Indians. Tell Perkasa the Malay “benefits” will remain.

    Grow the economic pie ? Are you kidding me ? This is no chicken-and-egg issue. Reforms come first, then the pie can grow. Rhetoric isn’t going to grow the pie – only actions can.

    We were promised NEM details late last year, then early this year, then middle of this year, and now – nothing. If you wanna bluff people, at least get those with brains to help you cook up your story – not Ibrahim Ali.

  2. #2 by Godfather on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 12:14 pm

    MCA lauds Najib as being fair when announcing that all students with 9As or better would get scholarships. Helloooooo Chua Soi Lek, do you know that Najib was referring only to PSD scholarships ? The MARA scholarships, the Petronas scholarships, the TNB scholarships, the Telekom scholarships will all be 90 pct allocated to bumiputras.

    Fair ? Are you referring to the complexion of Najib’s skin, Chua Soi Lek ? Do you think that the Chinese don’t understand what is “fair” ?

  3. #3 by Godfather on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 12:33 pm

    It isn’t a trial balloon yet. Mamakthir and Ibrahim Ali are vying very hard to blow their hot air into the balloon, and so are many UMNO ministers….and the balloon is destined to burst anytime now…..

  4. #4 by Loh on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 1:25 pm

    NEP should have ended twenty years ago. After 40 years of NEP, Najib should have allowed his father’s name to be disassociated with the taint of NEP. But Najib chose only to reduce the intensity of NEP damage through the so-called NEM. Perkasa and the Mamak group opposed NEM, and now Najib chooses to capitulate and declares that Malays’ “benefits” should remain. Najib has clearly mistaken that the way NEP is run is beneficial to ordinary Malays. Najib has conveniently turned the blind eyes to how NEP has been hijacked by the like of Mamakthir. The only interest accrues to Malays is the feeling of ketuanan Melayu where Malays could own home at a discount, get into university with sub-standard qualifications and obtain paper qualifications easily but not equivalent to employment. Political powers that Malays give to UMNO leaders allow the leaders to swindle the people, legally. The wealth owned in the name of Mamakthir’s children shows only that Malays could be half proud of Mamakthir, because Mamakthir has two spoonfuls of Pakistani blood which make him not a full Malay.

    Even if NEM is implemented now, it is too little to ameliorate the sufferings of non-Malays at the unfair NEP policies. NEP should be removed, if BN ever hopes to remain in government, i.e non-Malays could be fooled once again.

    Razak said that NEP was to be for 20 years. If Najib was not the son of Razak, he had not the filial duty to ensure that his father reputation is not associated with the way the country has been turned into a failed state. Najib is bin Tun Razak, and he is in a position to do the right thing. If he does not know what is right, then his brother Nizar knows better. Tun Razak cries in his grave if his son chose to ignore the worth of Razak to the wellbeing of Malaysia as a nation in order to keep his position as UMNO President. Najib would be a lazy person if he considers the only way to remain in power as UMNO president is through the race-card which he played since 1987 when he wanted to soak kris with Chinese blood. He has not proven otherwise even with the proposed NEM.

    If Najib is afraid of Mamakthir doing AAB on him, he should charge Mamakthir for misleading the cabinet to wasting public funds, similar to the charge against LLS, for not accepting the cheaper approach to acquire the PKFZ land through land acquisition act 1960, as recommendation by the AG office back then in 2001(?). That would have allowed the government to save 60% of the land cost in addition to savings on the compound interest at 7.5 per cent per annum. The records are certainly available, if the Najib wishes it.

  5. #5 by k1980 on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 1:51 pm

    NEM is to cover up the failure of 1malaysia, which has failed to grab back Selangor and Penang from PR. By making empty promises to mca and mic, jib hopes to obtain the non-bumi votes for the coming 13 GE. He doesn’t even has RM100 to offer to the senior citizens of his 1malaysia!

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 2:12 pm

    Is NEM a myth or reality?

    What is myth and what is reality, and how to differentiate reality from its imposter is (traditionally) one of the most fundamental questions in philosophy – and of late very much so in politics as well!

    We have never come so in grip with these questions until now when we have to ask even more fundamental questions about what is Malaysia or the true meaning of Malaysia.

    Is Malaysia 1 Malaysia or 2 Malaysia; is 1 Malaysia the same as Malaysian Malaysia? No is it Malay Malaysia is it Islamic Malaysia?

    See there is no consensus regarding what is true meaning of Malaysia.

    Lets take a look at one other perspective just recently offered – from Mingguan Malaysia’s columnist Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who was reported by TheMalaysianInsider [Aug 15 2010] as “saying today that minorities who cannot respect the special position of Islam and the Malays should return to their homeland”.

    According to the report, “the Muslim convert also sneered that Malaysia should be renamed “Cinasia” or “Indiasia” if every demand by non-Muslims was accommodated when commenting on Centre for Policy Initiatives CPI columnist Helen Ang’s recent piece “Enforcing NEP on minority religions ”..

    Ahh now we know why this national state formed in 1963 as a federation consisting of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah, and Singapore (the latter seceded in 1965) was first called “Malaysia” – it is that part of Asia or South East Asia belonging to Malays, following the drift of what the Mingguan Malaysia’s columnist said. Otherwise it would have been another name – if not “Cinasia” or “Indiasia” then at least Macindiasia!

    That is why this question what is myth and what is reality becomes important – for would Sarawak and Sabah have joined the federation if they had then been told what the name Malaysia in reality meant?

    Even those in Peninsular are puzzled. In 1988 the Federal Court pronounced in 1988 in Che Omar bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor that Malaysia was a secular state….until Tun Dr Mahathir declared otherwise that Malaysia was an Islamic State!

    It looks like everything here is up for grabs and what something means as described by words is not dependent on a reality having independent existence but an interpretation according to who has an agenda and power to interpret what he wants and back by force his interpretation. This is well depicted in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass (1872) in which Humpty Dumpty discusses semantics and pragmatics with Alice. “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you…. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”

  7. #7 by ktteokt on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 2:14 pm

    How can Najis expect to win at both ends of the spectrum? Whilst maintaining KETUANAN MELAYU, he wants to woo back the Chinese to support BN. This is equivalent to having the best of both worlds!!!!

    Anyway, by calling themselves “ME-LAYU”, they are already destined to LAYU anytime now! And when they do so, this country known as TANAH MELAYU will also become tanah me-layu!

  8. #8 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 2:20 pm

    All these talk and no one has pointed out that the part II of the NEM which was suppose to come out a couple of months after part 1 was presented is still missing.

    Najib must come clean what the status of NEM and either push through with a plan or he should just resign and let someone else do the job.

  9. #9 by frankyapp on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 2:32 pm

    Is NEM a myth or reality?
    Frankly speaking I think it’s neither one of them.I think,it is like a kind of pretty old sweet and sour wine being reproduced again and again for more than four decades and now under a new owner who wished to re-brand it and hoping it will market well in the 21st century malaysian market. However the bad news is,I know it’s pretty true the international market has rejected the “NEM” brand for malaysia. Surprising too local so-called hero aka perkasa too has aggressiely rejected the launching it.

  10. #10 by vsp on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 2:56 pm

    Najib is the biggest security risk that the country is facing now. His association with the Atuntuya murder case has put the country in a very delicate position:
    • Any military purchases from the French will see that the submarines will not dive and jets will lose their engines in midair.
    • Any negotiations with Singapore will see more capitulations in land and other sovereign matters.

    The Atuntuya case casts its shadow further into diminishing Najib’s authority: There will be continuing strident cries from Perkasa and other extremists:
    • to kill off the NEM;
    • to continue to create May-13 bogeymen;
    • to parade cow heads and to throw pig heads into mosques;
    • to burn churches and temples.

    Even though Najib is the most powerful man in theory but his scandalous past has put him in jeopardy and ransom under the triumvirate control of three evil top civil servants who knew his infamous secrets: the Attorney General, the MCCA and the IGP. We will see the Musang back at the chicken coop for the third consecutive time. Ling Liong Sik’s trial will be short-circuited by an incompetent prosecution team and his case thrown out but the AG will not go for an appeal.

    Since Najib have no control, he will continue to waffle like a snake in the grass, wobble like a crab on the beach, zig-zag like a car on a slippery road and flip-flop like a turtle in a ninja movie. If he were to have the probity of a Hussein Onn, people like Ibrahim Ali and Muyiddin could not have mocked his precious ‘1Malaysia’ with impunity; Mahathir would have quietly ridden off into the sunset instead of trying to revive his dynasty; and foreign and local investors could not have fled with their money to less fertile grounds like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

    In conclusion: as long as Najib is still the PM the country will see a slow slide into irrelevance and replace the Philippines as the sick man of Asean.

  11. #11 by Dap man on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 3:14 pm

    Myth. That’s why the Najib, Nazir speeches were not given space in Utusan and Berita.

    Their speeches were for Chinese consumption and boost MCA flagging image.

    I hope the Chinese won’t be stupid to be carried away by this myth.

  12. #12 by HJ Angus on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 3:32 pm

    trial balloon?
    I thought the balloon got busted months ago.
    This is just make-believe…..

  13. #13 by cintanegara on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 4:25 pm

    Everyone knows (except DAP), NEM will generate benefits for all Malaysians, irrespective of race under its inclusive growth goal and approach. It ensures, no groups would be marginalised and the essential needs of the people will be satisfied, according to the NEM. Under the NEM, inclusiveness would enable all communities to contribute to and share in the wealth of the country.

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 4:28 pm

    ///The time has come for Najib to declare unequivocally whether the NEM with its Biggest Idea to replace ethnic considerations with needs-based affirmative action policies is still a myth or reality/// – YB LKS.

    Which is reality race based or need based, you judge from his speeches:

    To Bumiputra Economic Congress :

    “It is impossible that I, the son of NEP’s founder, will betray his father’s fight. It is impossible. In my heart, I want to see the Malays rise and prosper.. I hope no one will have doubts or worry that I will not pay attention to the concerns of the Malays. As UMNO president, I will not forsake the Malays who form the majority in Malaysia.”

    To the Chinese Economic Congress :

    Like my predecessors, I recognise that I am a leader for all Malaysians. Your concerns are my concerns – not the other way around.

    What is said to the first Congress is scarcely reconcilable with that to the second Congress.

    It is political talk meant to please everyone and different audiences in spite of their conflicting demands.

    The accommodation of one set of expectations will disappoint and repudiate the other. The getting of support of one will forfeit the other.

    The reality is always preserving one’s and one’s party’s hold on power.

    Whether NEM is reality or myth depends on the question of which of the conflicting audience’s support is more vital, in his calculations, to serve this end.

  15. #15 by yhsiew on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 6:17 pm

    The NEM is neither a myth nor a reality but a BAIT to fish non-Malay votes!

  16. #16 by frankyapp on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 6:34 pm

    This Tee fellow is shameless,he’s a chinese,though he converted to Islam,that didn’t make him a malay,right guys. Any intelligent genuine malays/muslim,I think would automatically reject him for doing such shameless sell out of his own roots. I think his convertion is purely for materialism,nothing for spiritalism. Malays and muslim should be wary of him as he can sell you guys out just like he sold the chinese/his root.

  17. #17 by cseng on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 7:33 pm

    Najib pull some hairs (from his head off course), test if those hairs get burned when put near fire. Oouc! they get burned! better don’t play fire with my remaining hair…

  18. #18 by cseng on Sunday, 15 August 2010 - 7:40 pm


    No need to judge from the speech, why you need to have sperate Bumiputra Economy Conkek and Chinese Economy Conkek? That alone tell you is race based.

    If only, bumipura (i.e Malay) and chinese can Conkek the Economy togather, maybe got chance for najib not to burn his hair off by introducing NEM…

  19. #19 by dcasey on Monday, 16 August 2010 - 12:00 am

    trial balloon?
    No, sirrree. It’s jibby’s con-doom blown big by a lot of hot air.

  20. #20 by johnnypok on Monday, 16 August 2010 - 6:26 am

    NEM is meant to garner votes for BN to win with 2/3 majority.

    Unfortunately, it has become a real headache for Najib.

    He cannot afford to play-play anymore. Time is fast running out for him. Looks like he has already lost control, and he may succumb to the pressure. Will he last until GE13?

  21. #21 by dagen on Monday, 16 August 2010 - 8:49 am

    Err sir,

    I propose the Rambutan Tree …

    Ouch, oooh, ah ouch ouch Aarrrgg ggg g …

  22. #22 by boh-liao on Monday, 16 August 2010 - 9:41 am

    D Tee fellow wished he could b like MMK
    MMK kicked out d K, d link 2 his beggar or prostitute ancestors, 2 bcome MM
    Tee too wishes 2 kick Tee out fr his new name 2 bcome a fully sanitised Malay name, no more link n baggage 2 his beggar or prostitute ancestor
    Without Tee in his name, he might enjoy real Malay’s benefits n diskaun under NEP/NEM, rather than limited benefits as a miserable convert, thus he has 2 b more Malay than Malays

  23. #23 by SENGLANG on Monday, 16 August 2010 - 4:02 pm

    BN should make NEP a permanent 1 Malaysia policy as it has successfully enhance the wealth of not only Malay but the Chinese too. As the fact state by Setia Boss he was the major beneficiary under NEP who has make NEP NOT sole policy targeted Malay but the Chinese too. For those Chinese who have so much noice about NEP should look up for this Liew and take up crash course from on how to make billions via the current NEP policy. Chinese are too smart and should not complaint at all. They are so many millionaires who has highly successful under NEP and it should therefore put it into infinity. MCA Chua should use Liew to explain to all those Chinese who has complaints too much about NEP.

  24. #24 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 17 August 2010 - 7:31 pm

    Yes, nonMalays can b filthy rich too under NEP/NEM by taking advantage of d patronage system
    B prepared 2 b privileged UmnoBputras’ mah chai n 2 do d dirty work 4 them
    Make full use of d Ali-Baba system
    Well known mah chai: Liew KS, V Tan, Lee KY, AK, Yeoh TL, etc

    Yeah, sure, Chinese n Indians beh si eh
    Just bersama-sama enrich d Malay masters n their children n relatives, hv them as directors or unnamed nominees
    These rich n politically powerful Malays will keep shouting 30% belum capai, keep NEP/NEM so dat they can bcome richer n richer, with their non-Malay rich mah chai working 4 them

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