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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dr M's take on NEP nothing more than a series of half-truths - a litany of lies


Dr M's take on NEP nothing more than a series of half-truths - a litany of lies
Former premier, or as many now call him de facto prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, has a disingenuous take on the New Economic Policy (NEP 1970-1990). This is not surprising at all since the man is not only a pathological liar, but in a world double first, also a congenital one.
To know about Malaysia, the Malay-speaking communities, Umno and Mahathir, follow the Money Trail and keep an eye on the money, most of it allegedly stolen from the Public Treasury if not from the non-Malays and Malays alike.
Mahathir claims, in response to criticisms by Kelantan Umno chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, that the NEP benefited everyone including non-Malays. As proof he cites a few non-Malay billionaires apparently more than close to him.
This is the first time that we are being told by anyone in “authority” that one objective of the NEP, no doubt hidden until Mahathir decided to blab, was to help create non-Malay billionaires.
The public perception is that these so-called non-Malay billionaires are his nominees and that of his kind. In return for their modest "cut", these nominees ensure that a large part of his wealth and that of the fat cats remains securely away from the poor Malays.
For obvious reasons, he doesn’t want the Malay-speaking communities in particular to wise up to the fact that he and his kind have been virtually stealing from the Public Treasury at their expense and the nation at large.
Billionaire friends
Robert Kuok Hock Nien, 89, coming from old money in Johore, was reluctant to remain a crony of the ruling elite for long and fled to Hong Kong many years ago although he still remains a Malaysian. He's probably waiting for Mahathir to die before he returns home to rescue and re-build his Malaysian assets and secures them away from the Umno Supreme Council.
Kuok had to pay a heavy price in the meantime when he reportedly lost his Sugar Empire in Malaysia in the process to Felda, while another Mahathir crony Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary recently took over Proton for a song, prompting rumors that the real buyer was Mahathir himself and his sons . It would be poetic justice if Mahathir goes bankrupt running Proton although he may be as rich as Bill Gates, if not richer, at the moment.
Mahathir did not mention the super duper wealthy Malays despite Razaleigh pointing out that the NEP was not meant to create a Malay capitalist class. The NEP pledged to increase Malay participation in the economy, points out Razaleigh. One way was to ensure that the Malays as a community owned, managed and controlled 30 per cent of Malaysia's corporate wealth -- that publicly listed -- by 1990.
Nothing of that sort happened.
Ripe for a people's revolution?
The Umno Government, like Mahathir, likes to include GLCs as part of the 30 per cent. The GLCs belong to the state and hence the people and not just one community.
If it’s true that nine million Orang Asli, Natives of Sabah and Sarawak and Malay-speaking communities in Peninsular Malaysia own shares through Permodalan Nasional Berhad, so what? It is said that these are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Ninety per cent of these nine million shareholders have less than a few hundred ringgit in their account. Again, the main hindrance is the lack of access to credit and/or excessive interest which prevents unit trust holders, for one, from building up their portfolios.
Mahathir claims that 500, 000 students obtained a higher education through PNB. These could have been educated anyway, with or without the NEP, through the PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional) or National Higher Education Fund Board.
He didn't mention government scholarships.
Most of these opportunities were monopolized by the children of the elite i.e. from the families of the war lords and mini political dynasties who run Umno branches as Sdn Bhd with the party functioning as a Holding Company.
Even the families of the Sultans have been left out unless they own, control and manage Umno branches. Is it any wonder therefore that Razaleigh is up in arms, literally urging a Malay, if not Malaysian, Spring. Malaysia is ripe for a People's Revolution, perhaps peaceful, but a bloody one cannot be ruled out.
Ali Baba and Shahrizat-style contracts
There are shades of the old feudalistic English Class System combined with the ancient function/work-based caste system of ancient India in this. In India, those who remained permanently at the top irrespective of grey matter and energy were known as Brahmins. The caste system, like the old English Class System, is rigid and does not provide for upward social mobility.
Umno is a feudalistic caste/class-ridden party divorced from the masses and with little evidence of democracy and egalitarianism. In short, the worst exploiters of the Malay-speaking communities are other Malays themselves who have come to form a permanent exploiting class, squatting on Malay and non-Malay alike.
The NEP also pledged to eliminate the identification of race with economic function and place of residence. The reality is that the civil service -- including the Judiciary and Diplomatic Service --is composed 90 per cent from members of one community who make up 55 per cent of the population. More accurately, nepotism ensures that the bulk of these 90 per cent are from the elite.
This is not what Article 153 in the Federal Constitution is all about. The 1st Prong of Article 153 reserves a special position for the Orang Asli, Natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the Malay-speaking communities of Peninsular Malaysia in four specific, i.e. limited, areas by way of a reasonable proportion: intake into the civil service; intake into institutions of higher learning owned by the government and training privileges; government scholarships; and opportunities from the government to do business. On this last score, Umno politicians literally continue to steal from the Public Treasury through Ali Baba and/or Shahrizat Abdul Jalil-style contracts.
Article 153, under its 2nd Prong, pledged to respect the legitimate interests of the non-Malay communities. The fact of the matter is that the NEP, which takes of from Article 153, did not benefit the people it was designed to help.
Compare with Brunei and Singapore
Eradication of poverty irrespective of race, colour, caste or creed is one of the three tenets of the NEP. Fifty-five years after the British colonialists left, the rural population still hover just above and below the poverty line, bogged down by the dependency syndrome which has them in Umno's vice-like grip. Most of them have nothing more than the proverbial shirts on their backs and eaking out a hand to mouth existence. The main element missing is access to credit which would have greatly assisted them to emerge as small, independent farmers and free them from Umno’s clutches.
Elsewhere, in both rural and urban areas, 450,000 Indians remain in a legal twilight zone as stateless people. These, the worst of Hindraf Makkal Sakthi's underclass constituency, are deliberately kept by the powers that be as a readily-available local source of cheap labour to do the most difficult, dangerous and dirty jobs.
Sabah and Sarawak, supposedly equal partners of Malaya under the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, are the poorest states in the Federation, according to the World Bank. Their fates are a stark contrast to that of neighbouring Brunei which stayed out of Malaysia at the 11th hour and Singapore which was expelled in 1965 after two years.
Can there be better proof that Mahathir's take on NEP is nothing more than a series of half-truths - a litany of lies
Malaysia Chronicle

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