The government has no plans to amend its policy based on the spirit of the New Economic Policy (NEP) which is aimed at improving the socio-economic lot of not only Bumiputeras but also Malaysians of Indian origin, the Orang Asli and minority groups in Sabah and Sarawak, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz said the government would continue to undertake its commitment to implement NEP-based strategies, that is, eradication of poverty regardless of race and restructuring society to remove racial identification with economic functions.
“Should the objectives of the spirit of the NEP be successfully realised, especially in terms of a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth among and within the ethnic communities, states and between the urban and rural areas, this will speed up efforts to ensure a fairer balance in participation among all levels of society in Malaysia,” he said when replying to Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) during Question Time.
The successful realisation of the aims of the spirit of the NEP will contribute towards solidifying national solidarity, which is the most vital asset for a complex society like Malaysia’s in continuing the march towards further progress beyond 2020.
Amirsham explained that the NEP was drawn up in the early 1970s with the main objective of bringing about national solidarity and nation-building through a two-prong strategy of eradication of poverty irrespective of race and restructuring society to remove the identification of race with economic activities.
He said the NEP spirit was later incorporated in subsequent economic policies – the National Development Policy, National Vision Policy and the National Mission under the Ninth Malaysia Plan – to narrow the socio-economic gap between ethnic communities as well as between urban and rural areas.
According to him, the restructuring of society, especially in protecting the poor, represents affirmative action that is undertaken in many countries including the United States, India and South Africa.
“The government will continue with its commitment to implement the NEP-based strategies, that is, eradication of poverty regardless of race and restructuring of society to remove ethnic identification with economic functions,” he added.
Asked about the statement by the Penang Chief Minister pledging that the state government will dump the NEP, Amirsham said: “I feel that statement is not accurate and shows a complete miscomprehension of the NEP’s objectives.
“The NEP is in fact a just policy, is good and has contributed towards sustainable development of the nation until today.”
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