If the NEP goes, what will replace it? The Malaysian Economic Agenda? Unlike the NEP, the MEA calls for providing assistance to all those who need it, irrespective of ethnicity.
Fine, but PKR, DAP and Pas leaders must realise that the people voted for more subsidies and greater government social spending. This is what they were promised. They did not vote for “free market”, “business friendly” policies. Neither did they opt for neoliberal policies (privatisation, corporatisation and policies favouring the corporate elite), which have actually widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
Voting for greater democracy does not mean support for “free-market” policies. Actually, what we often have in Malaysia is a situation, as economist Charles Santiago puts it, “where you had subsidies for the rich and a free market economy for the poor. While you subsidise the rich on one side, the debt of the country is being borne by the middle-classes and the poor”.
So true – just think of the billions of ringgit in gas subsidies dished out to the lucrative Independent Power Producers, who are raking in the profits.
Remember, ordinary Malaysians voted in droves for people-centred development (projects that really benefit the ordinary people) rather than corporate-driven development (mega projects that primarily benefit the corporate elite while ruining the environment).
Power shift to the provinces
by Anil Netto
PENANG, Mar 18 (IPS) – Malaysia’s race-based affirmative action policies have come under the spotlight in the aftermath of a pivotal general election which saw opposition parties making sweeping gains.
Opposition parties captured the ‘rice-bowl’ state of Kedah and the industrialised states of Penang, Perak and Selangor in addition to retaining power in the Muslim heartland state of Kelantan on the east coast in the Mar. 8 general election.
The three industrial states will be ruled by coalition governments made up of the multi-ethnic — but largely ethnic Chinese — Democratic Action Party (DAP), the multi-ethnic People’s Justice Party (PKR) and the Islamic party PAS. The opposition parties won 82 of 222 parliamentary seats while the ruling federal coalition Barisan Nasional (BN), or National Front, clinched 51.5 percent of the popular vote.
The new state governments now have their work cut out for them to make good on their opposition campaign promises of ending the New Economic Policy in favour of their ‘Malaysian Economic Agenda’. The NEP was introduced in 1971 to uplift the economic position of the majority ethnic Malays and remove the stereotyping of race with specific occupations. Full article