Dr Mahathir claimed the majority of Malay entrepreneurs could not compete with their non-Malay counterparts. — file pic
JITRA, March 5 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that Malays still needed affirmative action policies as their businesses were still weak and failing.
The former prime minister said that it was not the time yet for the government to stop helping Malays as these policies had not met their goals.
“This crutch is the only power that can help them for now,” he told the Kedah Association of Malay Contractors last night.
The government recently said that the Bumiputera corporate equity now stood at 22 per cent, still short of the New Economic Policy (NEP) target of 30 per cent.
Even though the NEP ended in 1990, the government has continued to implement much of the pro-Malay policies.
Several United States-based newspapers said this week that these entrenched affirmative action policies were causing racial strife, and standing in the way of reforms to spur economic growth.
Recent calls for the designation of race to be dropped have also been met by opposition from the likes of right-wing Malay group Perkasa, of which Dr Mahathir is the patron.
Dr Mahathir said last night that even though a few Malay entrepreneurs were successful, the majority could not complete with non-Malays as they were still weak in financial management.
Dr Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years, said that this was why they still had to rely on the government as most private companies including other Malay businesses were reluctant to give projects and tenders to Malay contractors.
“They fail because they are unskilled in managing their finances,” he said. “Those who manage their businesses well will get large returns and those who don’t will even end up losing money.”
He said that some Bumiputeras who obtained franchise opportunities still failed even though they just had to follow the guidelines to make easy profits.
The Malays needed to improve on their weaknesses to ensure that Malay enterprises would not end up with a bad reputation, he said. - Malaysian Insider