Najib has tough fight against NEP ‘cancer’, says report

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak is taking “an unprecedented gamble” by pledging to dilute the system of Malay patronage that has kept Umno in power, said a foreign report yesterday.

The Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) — an Australia-based think tank — said that the large support for the status quo and Umno’s current vulnerability meant that “Najib will have a difficult task convincing his colleagues to ‘risk all’ for the sake of Malaysia’s long-term future.”

Its foreign policy research fellow Dr John Lee also questioned the prime minister’s capacity to introduce economic reforms as the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 has cultivated a “vast and deep network of rent-seeking and patronage.” While acknowledging that the New Economic Model (NEM) introduced by Najib last year was “enormously significant,” Lee said that the decades of pro-Bumiputera affirmative action was now a “millstone around the neck of the struggling Malaysian economy and the cancer behind the country’s growing structural problems.”However, the public policy think tank backs Najib’s gamble as an opinion poll by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research in 2008 found that 71 per cent of Malaysians — including 65 per cent of Malays — believed that affirmative action needed to be reviewed.

Lee’s paper, “Malaysian Dilemma: The Enduring Cancer of Affirmative Action,” said that the NEM has the potential to win back disaffected Chinese and Indian voters to Barisan Nasional (BN).

But the researcher, who was born in Ipoh but migrated to Australia, added that there has “been few initiatives aimed at reducing the role of the state in the Malaysian economy—which is essential for cutting back rent-seeking opportunities by Malay elites in the name of affirmative action.”

Calling steps such as relaxing Bumiputera equity requirements in 27 service subsectors “piecemeal,” the paper noted that Najib has had to placate pro-Malay groups including senior Umno figures who are “far from unanimous in their support of Najib’s gamble.”

The largely Malay civil service with its deeply entrenched ‘pro-Malay’ culture means it will be difficult to effect genuine reform, Lee added.

Commenting on the paper, local libertarian think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) believes that it is time to debate the policy of affirmative action.

Project manager Afif Abdullah said that “the evidence against affirmative action is now clearer. The prime minister must not succumb to demands from far right groups, be they Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak, or anything else.”

Established in 1976, CIS states that it supports a free enterprise economy and a free society under limited government where individuals can prosper and fully develop their talents.

  1. #1 by Godfather on Friday, 25 February 2011 - 12:31 pm

    Why can’t all these writers, many with PhDs, understand that Najib has ZERO intention to do away with the NEP ? The NEM is another wishy-washy version of the old NEP.

    You think that those who have been getting free fertilizers for their rambutan trees can accept that they now have to pay full market price for their fertilizers ? These recipients of government largesse will not even entertain debate as to whether we should continue to give free fertilizers for a certain racial group. Where do these so called commentators get their brains from ?

  2. #2 by dawsheng on Friday, 25 February 2011 - 1:08 pm

    Lee’s paper, “Malaysian Dilemma: The Enduring Cancer of Affirmative Action,” said that the NEM has the potential to win back disaffected Chinese and Indian voters to Barisan Nasional (BN). – ST

    We are talking about 90 to 95 percent of disaffected Chinese, even MCA members that I know will vote for Pakatan Rakyat this coming general election. The case with Najib, UMNO and BN is that we have lost trust in them completely. How can he regain our trust when no actions talk only? Once bitten twice shy, what more when we were bitten so many times? The mainstream medias can spin all the good things about Najib’s government but that’s not going to change anything, the Chinese’s votes are for Pakatan Rakyat. I don’t know about the Indians though.

  3. #3 by dagen on Friday, 25 February 2011 - 1:30 pm

    Yeah. Very true. Why cant these authors see that genuine intention to do away with nep is absent? Completely absent. The pledge to undo nep is nothing but an act of fellatio performed in public by he-who-has-tower-power. It is disgusting and revolting. Despite the fact that everyone in the country knows the truth, he-who-has-tower-power continues with his public orgy. What audacity.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Friday, 25 February 2011 - 10:18 pm

    How he got his tower-power?Why still many malaysians like to perform fellatio act on him and reversely willing to be performed as well?Is that what you meant dagen?All these are supported by ill-gotten money they have secrectly accumulated over the months and years.I,for once,will never wish to have any public orgy with him.Kick him out and we can have bang bang or ‘bunga bunga’.

  5. #5 by Loh on Saturday, 26 February 2011 - 11:51 am

    Ghadafi uses his tribe to control Libya. What do you think UMNO uses to stay in power after having lost 2/3 majority in 1969? How would Najib give up NEP when he treats Malaysia as a corporation to satisfy his desires, rather than as a nation he could be proud of?

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