The NEP and the downfall of Malays

Mariam Mokhtar
September 2, 2011

The NEP may have caused an increase in the wealth of the Malay urban middle class but on the whole, many Malays remain poor.


Dr Mahathir Mohamad came to the defence of the New Economic Policy (NEP) when economist Ramon Navaratnam and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim condemned the NEP for discouraging foreign investment and for promoting corruption.

However, Mahathir failed to note that the NEP, like many of the government’s other programs with catchy, meaningless acronyms are only publicity stunts which fail to address the underlying problems that face many Malaysians, principally the Malays.

He said: “There may be corruption involved in some cases but the charge is not warranted because in most cases, the benefits of NEP have been enjoyed by almost every Malay and bumiputera. In fact, indirectly and, in some cases, directly it has benefited the non-bumiputera as well.”

The former prime minister’s selective amnesia serves him well. The NEP’s short-term benefits may have impressed his Cabinet colleagues but in the long term, the NEP has disadvantaged all other Malaysians.

The warped policies have destroyed racial harmony and in East Malaysia, the bumiputeas are more desperate than ever. There is increasing resentment against the Malays who many believe, have squandered the benefits they have been given.

The NEP may have caused an increase in the wealth of the Malay urban middle class but on the whole, many Malays remain poor.

Despite the housing privileges and discounts, how many Malays can afford to buy houses? How many possess the business acumen to sustain a business without going bust in the first year?

Undeniably, those who benefit the most are Umno cronies, whilst the majority of Malays remain marginalised, hoping that things will get better, only because Umno says so.

Thus, many live in hope and some shun jobs because one day, they hope to become rich without putting in any effort.

The business incentives may have given the Malays a kick-start in life but many did not use them wisely. They did not reinvest the money in the company but instead spent it on the teak desk, the gold watch and the Mercedes car.

It was not just his work that was a sham. His private life was just the same. There was no personal responsibility and those Malays who entered into polygamous marriages with two or three families to support, invariably ended up with dysfunctional families. The kids would be feral, without a father figure and no rôle model in their lives.

Many of the children do not have a family life to speak of and education is not an important factor in their lives. Many grow up lacking aspiration and become adults who are just as irresponsible.

There are some decent people amongst this lot, but they are trapped in the system, with no way out.

Moving forward together

Mahathir claimed that under the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) scheme, the settlers were much better off with higher incomes and children who were better educated.

He failed to note that there were serious issues that have cropped up. Few of the children of the original Felda settlers want to make a living off the land like their grandparents or parents did.

The social problems are many and Mahathir may have praised the businesses and jobs that the children and women have gone into, but none of these are to do with the land.

They are things like tailoring or aircraft maintenance, which are totally unconnected to Felda.

It would have meant more if some of the children had diversified into the downstream oleo industry like soap making, bio-diesel fuels or some other small-scale cottage industry from the palm oil that they produce on their farms.

Mahathir said: “The settlers have much higher incomes while their children are much better educated. All these are due to NEP”.

Like the NEP, Mahathir has not addressed the problem of what happens to the small holding of the Felda settler as his children have no desire to carry on the tradition and many farmers resort to hiring foreign workers to make a success of the land.

Projects like the NEP are doomed to fail. Most important of all, the Malays will get a hammering from the other races and very few people will appreciate the efforts of the Malays who have struggled on their own to achieve their ambitions.

How many more stupid acronyms must the Malaysians endure? When will this government realise that helping only one section of the community is detrimental to the nation, as a whole?

As a society, the Malays must accept that we must move forwards as one nation. That means that we include the other races in our policies.

The system that our leaders have implemented for us isn’t working.

Not if making it easier for the Malays means never having to learn to do things the hard way, never having to take responsibility for themselves and not having to follow the rules that most of us have to go by.

  1. #1 by Loh on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 2:41 am

    ///Not if making it easier for the Malays means never having to learn to do things the hard way, never having to take responsibility for themselves and not having to follow the rules that most of us have to go by.///–MM

    The objective of NEP to UMNO is to get votes to stay in power forever. With gerrymandering, Malays’ votes alone can put UMNO in power. What easier way to buy Malays’ vote than making them believe that they vote for their interest? Thus Malays are made to feel that non-Malays are their enemies, and that UMNO is their hero to discriminate against non-Malays. NEP serves that purpose and is seen to be doing it.

  2. #2 by cintanegara on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 3:06 am

    Sounds like ‘The Fox and Grapes’ story….No wonder Aesop’s Fable is still relevant in the modern world.

  3. #3 by yhsiew on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 6:43 am

    Hear what Idris Jala has to say about NEP, NEM, brain drain and inviting foreign talent at a BBC interview.


  4. #4 by yhsiew on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 6:56 am

    The NEP has been misused by UMNO as a powerful political tool to win Malay votes. UMNO is telling the Malays that if they vote for other political parties, they will not have the NEP and they will remain poor forever.

  5. #5 by monsterball on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:02 am

    The fox is mamak.
    The grapes are his cronies…puppets and relatives.
    How can cintanegera compare the Aesop’s fable with a message to teach children how to be honest compared to crooks…using the said fable?
    And as usual….Mahathir at his best to twist and turn…facts to fiction and fictions to facts.
    Malaysians know him so well…yet he keep on trying to fool the people.
    I guess….he thinks..he can keep on fooling the half fast sixes he created.
    What a sinful man he is.

  6. #6 by ShanghaiBund on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:37 am


  7. #7 by undertaker888 on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:37 am

    Mamak is like the evil Sith lord. Forever pretentious in the front while scheming at the back for total control. At the end it is his own evil creation that will destroy him. This evil mamak sith lord.

  8. #8 by drngsc on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:44 am

    Of course the NEP only helped selective cronies, to plunder our country, under the protection of the Mamak-hathir goumen.
    Where shall we start? MAS, RM4 share being sold at RM8, now no more case against Tajuddin? Where is the justice. IPP? AP to cronies to mint money? PLUS contracts, Pharmaniaga scams, Bakun ( you know how much forest-irreplaceable has been cleared off and sold?, one small city with disconnected rail system to feed all the cronies? We have a car industry protected, so that we all pay through our nose to own a car, so that some crony could ripped us off producing our local car that crumbles upon impact. We pay Augusta millions, to re-sell at RM1, so smart. Should we mention the RM12.5B PKFZ ripped off? Where shall the list end?
    It is possible that some of these ill gotten gains were spend in Malaysia, so some of us did get some crumbs. There are some cronies, who are so afraid and ashame of their ill gotten gains that they park it out of the country, and spend it out of the country, from which foreigners gain, and not us.

    No sir, the NEP did not benefit us, unless crumbs have to be counted. That Mamak had taken the country for a ride.

    We need to change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is our best chance. Failure is not an option. Work very very hard.

  9. #9 by Godfather on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:44 am

    Cintarambutan got it wrong again. It’s not The Fox and the Grapes. It’s The Fox in the Henhouse scripted by Bolehland’s best writer Mamakthir.

  10. #10 by wanderer on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 8:46 am

    Downfall?…never heard of such word. UMNO ketuanan Melayu only concern is to stay in power… by all means and, korek, korek till the cows come home! What is the problem, everyone in Bolehland own these SOBs a living…so their motto, “Do worry, be happy”

  11. #11 by drngsc on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 10:43 am

    . When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

    What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

    The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else

    We must change the tenant at Putrajaya. GE 13 is our best chance. Failure is not an option. Please let us all work very very hard.

  12. #12 by limkamput on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 11:44 am

    We can’t deny that NEP helps to uplift the economic status of many Malays. My concern, however, is not just confined to this policy causing disunity or marginalising other races. I mean if majority of the Malays are poor and deserve help, so be it.

    My deeper concern is the inefficiency and incompetency this policy has impinged on the Malaysian economy. Yes, we create lots of high paying jobs for bumiputra. But are these jobs creating values and making a difference to the Malaysian economy? We have lots of them in the civil service, statutory bodies and GLCs, but what do they do other than causing disservice to the economy by creating more hindrance, bottlenecks and wastage. Think about it, if somehow, we could move half of the civil servants to more productive work, the GDP of country would increase without additional inputs (no wonder we experience so much shortage of manpower in the country because so many of us are actually not working). This is the first reason why our economy is not efficient.

    We also created so many bumi professionals – doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, architect, valuers, land surveyors, accountants, degrees in sciences, arts, humanities, physiotherapy, counselling, and whatever – thousands of them. But have we examined carefully their professional standards. With their professional qualifications and degrees, they now hold positions of importance. But my question is what expertise and what value add can they bring to their professions or positions? How many bumi doctors, engineers and pharmacists are doing “real jobs” in the private sector (by implication, i am saying many of the jobs in the public sector are fake)? This is the second reason why our economy can not be as efficient and effective as it should be.

    Then we have bumi businesses whose existence is through preferences (licence, permits etc) or through the largesse (negotiated tenders etc) of the government. Again, this will be a drag on the economy. We support high cost producers and we condone inefficient business simply because they are bumi owned or operated. We have to find a better way to help – help that does not impinge so much on the efficient operation of our economy. If the whole economy is saddled with inefficiency, the game is over. Even those who work very hard can see much result.

  13. #13 by dagen on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 12:18 pm

    NEP as an economic concept is neither new nor special nor unique. But it is necessary and is in fact being applied in many countries. All responsible governments would in some ways, directly or indirectly, assist those citizens of their own country who are in dire financial need – typically the hardcore poor. This is always done with the desire the narrow the rich vs poor gap.

    So as a concept, NEP is alright and acceptable. As a matter of fact no malaysians would question it. It is a different matter of course when umnoputras hijacked the NEP for their sole and absolute benefit and re-branded it as “ketuanan privilege”. Even if that is so, no one would bother much if only those umnoputras had done a proper job. Unfortunately they had not. Extreme wastage, corruption, massive costs overrun, poor quality work, etc etc are matters that bothered the people.

    These issues bothered the people because they inevitably are translated into wasted public funds. And to make things worse, (1) the wastage runs into billions of ringgit and (2) the wasteful and corrupt attitude continues unchecked even during these hard times. This is a guaranteed formula – a sure-fire way – to anger the people.

    Can umno and umnoputras complain now that the people are displeased? Logically no! But of course after 50+ yrs umnoputras became totally detached from the people as they grew more attached to money, wealth, comfort, villas, yatchs, ferraris, superbikes, horses, jimmychoos, diamonds etc etc. The end result is they now gain one superbloated arrogance.

    Just check out cintanegara’s remarks for a sample taste of umnoputras’ superbloated arrogance.

  14. #14 by k1980 on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 12:36 pm

    Hey mamak, whatever happened to your protons? Talk big some more.The Brazilian market has been captured by another country.
    JAC’s hatchbacks and sedans, which start at $24,000 and come with a six-year warranty, are outselling some better-known models in the continent’s biggest car market.

  15. #15 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 12:54 pm

    cintanegara’s brain is inbued with so much sloganeering that he could just count his rambutans. He had totally refused to open his eyes to see reaility as by counting his rambutans over and over again, he must have sleepy eyes! So we can’t expect him to see anything with an open mind. Maybe those mamaks have induced him with all the nasi kanda during this festive season with a heavy stomach and a mind focusing on rambutans and his rent from permits, he had all the time to write some of these rebuts. Really, we should just leave him at that!

  16. #16 by k1980 on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 1:17 pm

    Looks like many malaysians are going to have to downsize like their american counterparts. No more the land of milk and honey.,8599,2090997,00.html

  17. #17 by Godfather on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Following on from Limkampu’s comments, the problem now is that mediocrity has spread to the non-Malays especially in public service. This is inevitable as everyone sinks to the lowest common denominator. Witness the senior non-Malay bureaucrat who could not differentiate between “inclusive of interest” or “exclusive of interest” in the PKFZ trial, which will now get Ling Liong Sik off the hook. Then we have the non-Malay chemist in the Anwar trial who was told by a foreign witness that she would have been fired if she had been in a 1st world country.

  18. #18 by ktteokt on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 3:10 pm

    I have said it time and again – EVOLUTION DOES NOT GIVE A DAMN TO MALAY SPECIAL RIGHTS! In fact, Mahathir should begin a suit against Charles Darwin for bringing up this EVOLUTION stuff!!!!!!

  19. #19 by monsterball on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 3:19 pm

    When have any race in the world have been raised up through selective insincere bulldozing to be at par with the successful other races?
    Yes…in sincere and bulldozing with cunning ulterior motives.
    And that can be seen like what Mariam Mokhtar have observed the out-come and the results.
    It must be a Malaysian Malaysia and Mahathir chose race and religion and encouraged corruptions.
    He has the cheek to say minorities benefited through NEP too.
    I guess what he meant was…those rich crooks buy all sorts of things from the minorities…especially from Malaysian Chinese who are expert in businesses…big and small?
    Mahathir can never change and nothing he can say or will say will erase all the sins he did as a dictator for 22 years.

  20. #20 by monsterball on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 3:32 pm

    What Mahathir did was copying the old Colonial British ways…to divide and rule.
    He uses race and religion dirty politics…to the fullest.
    He copied all including ….. Argentina’s last Dictator.
    He read all history books on how evil men became powerful.
    He is an actor…the dirtiest politician you can find in the world.
    He destroyed Malaysia for one race rule over all…including ruling royalties.
    He is a racist pretending…..not one.
    As long as anyone..especially minorities pleases him..then he help that one and he called that helping minorities.
    He never help minorities…unless that Chinese bow down to his wishes.
    This man is very cruel.
    Don’t let looks deceive you.

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 3:39 pm

    YES, lots of Malays hv benefitted fr NEP, many of them now hv fanciful titles in front of n behind their names, jaya kaya raya gaya, semua ada
    Many of them r much better off than lots of nonMalays in terms of economic std
    NonMalays r happy 4 them, successful products of NEP
    Now dat they r jaya kaya raya gaya, they shld give back n contribute 2 d nation
    However, lots of them still want 2 benefit more fr NEP n want their children n their children’s children 2 continue 2 benefit fr NEP
    Never Ending Parasitism – How 2 progress as a nation?

  22. #22 by monsterball on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 4:00 pm

    Putting politics aside….what do you label a man..who ignores his Indian bloodline…his Indian ancestors and his living brother in Sungai Petani…all black…exactly like an Indian and claim to be full blood Malay?

  23. #23 by yhsiew on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 4:43 pm

    ///Projects like the NEP are doomed to fail. Most important of all, the Malays will get a hammering from the other races and very few people will appreciate the efforts of the Malays who have struggled on their own to achieve their ambitions.///

    This could be the reason why many Malays failed to get jobs in the private sector. I think many private sector employers are having the perception that Malays are weak, unable to stand on their own two feet and they need to rely on somebody to help them to succeed. Offering them a job will eventually cause trouble to the company. Decades of NEP have finally created a negative image of the Malays to private sector employers, although in reality, many new generation Malays are capable of competing to scale greater heights in their employment.

  24. #24 by Loh on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 6:11 pm

    The trouble is NEP is taken to be a scheme to allow Malays to gain benefits, rather than a scheme for Malays to move away from the special position which would make them independent of assistance from the state.

    Since Mamak took over, Malays students are categorized into four groups. The top rung were sent overseas on state funds, the second rung gets into pre-U courses, the third rung goes to teaching colleges, and the fourth are sent to sixth form classes. The fourth rung competes with non-Malays for local university places, and by quota, they form 2/3 of university population. Obviously, the fourth rung of Malays cannot compete with the best among the non-Malays, and most of them ended up unemployable.

    Without NEP, those who subsequently became university drop-outs or unemployable graduates would not have entered universities, and later became government servants or teachers. They would however become gainfully employed in the area which suits their aptitude and temperament, and Malaysia does not have to depend on three million foreign workers, and more than half are illegals.

    In the name of helping Malays to be competitive, UMNO government has converted it into a scheme o enrich themselves under the protection of Malay voters who have been fooled into accepting that NEP as operated by UMNO is to their advantage.

    NEP has corrupted the thought of Muslims into thinking that institutionalized discrimination is not against the religion; else how could they accept that participating in NEP is not against their religion when accepting government handouts which were rumoured to have been obtained from gambling taxes was?

  25. #25 by asia on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 9:12 pm

    What is NEP?

    NEP is like a corruption activity using tax money to buy support and vote from one type of Malaysian

  26. #26 by cemerlang on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 9:12 pm

    Pembebesan dari penjajahan mental dan spiritual.

  27. #27 by asia on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 9:49 pm

    It is like a daylight BRIBERY with Malaysian Tax Money to one type of Malaysian to buy their support and vote

    It is like legal BRIBERY with government approval and support

    Support BRIBERY culture among Malaysians from child to adult

  28. #28 by tak tahan on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 10:27 pm

    Once the ‘tongkat’ supply cannot meet the increasing demand..mampoi la Canland.1.3 millions civil workers.

  29. #29 by asia on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 10:39 pm

    If taking BRIBERY it is a big SIN

    Then they are sending those type of Malaysians innocent to …… to serve their master

  30. #30 by shakarul on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 11:10 pm

    NEP, clearly an act of legitimating corruption.

  31. #31 by ktteokt on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 11:13 pm

    Who the hell in this world outside Malaysia is going to accord a 30% handicap to these Princes of the Earth?????? So, which means they will be DEAD DUCK the minute they step out of this protected land! Might as well UMNO apply for “protected species” status for the Malays just like the exotic animals in the world facing EXTINCTION!!!!!

  32. #32 by ktteokt on Saturday, 3 September 2011 - 11:15 pm

    And I think Malaysia is the ONE AND ONLY COUNTRY in the world PROTECTING THE MAJORITY RACE! Everywhere in the world, the minority is accorded protection, only in Malaysia, is the MAJORITY BEING PROTECTED and THE MINORITY BEING BULLIED!

  33. #33 by tak tahan on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 12:07 am

    It has become NORM where you see majority not protesting what..thus turned-out short-sighted and indoctrinated society included cintanegara and the likes promulgated by mamak and Umno Baru..syabas.Malu-sia truly boleh and always can boleh punya one..

  34. #34 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 12:14 am

    Let all wait for the EssoMobil-Sam Miguel saga, may be cintanegara can explain better on the claim in the Malaysia Today. What about the cattle project by Shazriat’s hushand, cintanegara? With your ardent support on all these highly successful undertaking by the Malasyian gomen, surely you can share with us such insight inot these prject which will benefit this nation, especially you!

  35. #35 by HJ Angus on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 7:53 am

    someone mentioned Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    The mess we are in clearly supports the idea that only the fittest survive and that is why those who have been pampered are unable to compete as their lives have lacked struggles.
    So don’t despair about the NEP – some dinosaurs will become extinct when the next stage happens – hopefully by the next GE.
    Even the cheating to make it easier to win the polls has resulted in the backlash of the moderates.

  36. #36 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 8:07 am

    It is FOOLISHNESS to listen to a man who has clearly COMMITTED TREASON. Wikileak evidence should leave little doubt the man is perverted politically, without sense of proper proportion. By right, he should be brought to trial. BUT at the very least, he has become Malay’s and Malaysia No. 1 problem and Malays and Malaysian need to put his unfortunate leadership behind.

    Not being able to bring him to justice just says we are unremarkable people. NOT being able to put him behind us, says we are pathetic..

  37. #37 by ktteokt on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 10:56 am

    But then, Mahathir is being UNFAIR to himself and the Malays! This IMITATION MALAY, who in fact is AN INDIAN, has given the wrong ideas to the Malays! And the Malays themselves have been fooled by Mahathir, the Mamak imitating to be a MALAY, making them think that if Mahathir can do it, then ALL MALAYS CAN DO IT TOO!

    Come on! What flows inside Mahathir’s body is the blood of a 5,000 year old tribe, not that of a race which is hardly 600 years’ old!

  38. #38 by asia on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 12:29 pm

    It sound like the MAMA running the country as long as continue the BRIBERY to the one type of MALAYSIAN

  39. #39 by asia on Sunday, 4 September 2011 - 9:11 pm

    He done it

    He made them a slave to NEP

  40. #40 by bush on Monday, 5 September 2011 - 9:57 am

    The article is correct. NEP is a fail product that only provides HANDOUT for Umno putra.

    As to date after 30 years, most of the Malay today cannot do without the NEP (handout).

    The theory is very simple to justify the fail product after the implementation for the past 30 years.

    When you use your NEP methodology to grow up your own child to 30 years that not able to be independent to survive by its own. Do you think that the parent has provided a fail approach to bring up a kid for the past 30 years?

    This product has confirmed to be a “ROTTEN” policy and Govt need to continue to stay in POWER and Malaysia is waiting to become the 3rd world country(all resources run dry and more subsidies needed due to increase in Malay population) before any correction can be done.(like Indonesia)

    I expected by 2018 the Malay will be fighting among themselves to receive the handout when their population keep increasing and all the wealth has been “robbed” by the Umno.

  41. #41 by Mike Tee on Tuesday, 6 September 2011 - 6:56 am

    Do you really believe only all Malays are poor and all Chinese are rich ? Only those people whose eye were covered by pigshait would believe that. That is the kind of plot and myth that Mahatir tried to creat so that himself and UMNO can controlled the lucrative business licences and systematically robbing the wealth of the nation, that nation Malaysia over 50 years had many number one tittle in the world that brought lot of reserve for the country like RUBBER, TIN, PINEAPPLE and later on timber, petroleum and palmoil. WHERE ARE THE MONIES HAD GONE TO ????????????? Swiss Bank and UK Jersey and Gunsey Offshore taxfree accounts plus posh houses and flats in Knightbridge, Highgate and other country like Argentina etc.
    NEP should help ALL POOR PEOPLE IN MALAYSIAN, not just Malay only because Malaysia was built up by Malaysian of all races, it is ONLY FAIR IF ALL MALAYSIAN BENEFITED the fruits of succeess.
    A piece of advice for mamak & his cronies, keep you big smelly mouths shut, as you have done enought damage to the people and bankcupt the country already, just enjoy every penny whilst you lots still alive as the monies you nicked from us will not go beyound your graves and prepared to suffer in hells !!!

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