There are not just two, but three, separate economies in Malaysia-bumiputera, non-bumiputera and foreign

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the opening of the two-day DAPSY National Workshop at Port Dickson on Saturday, 11th January 1992 at 3 p.m.

There are not just two, but three, separate economies in Malaysia-bumiputera, non-bumiputera and foreign

In his opening address at the Third Bumiputra Economic Congress, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahathir Mohamed, called for the integration of bumuputra and non-bumiputera ecnomies, and said that the country could not afford to have separate economies.

In actual fact, Malaysia had not just two, but three separate economies-bumiputera, non-bumiputera and foreign, with the non-bumiputeras denied the favours, advantages and opportunities enjoyed by bumiputeras and foreigners.

The holding of the Third Bumiputera Economic Congress after the 20-year New Economic Policy, and in the second year of the 30-year Vision 2020, shows that Malaysia is still a very divided country and divided economy.

What the Prime Minister should be addressing is not the Third Bumiputera Congress, but a Malaysian National Economic Congress, where the problems of the bumiputeras are given important attention-but not the sole attention.

If Malaysia is to achieve the Vision 2020 of becoming a fully developed nation in 30 years time, then Malaysia must be able to harness and mobilise its entrepreneurial resources and enhance its competitiveness to compete in the international economy.

However, up to date, the Government had never shown any interest or concern to promote and develop the entrepreneurial skills, talents and resources of Malaysians to enable to country to compete in the world market, and this is why the Government has allowed three separate economic- bumiputera, non-bumiputera and foreign-in Malaysia to continue to exist.

Has the Government set aside any funds to promote the creation of Malaysian entrepreneurs regardless of race to enable Malaysia to compete in the world market?

By all means, the Government should do all it could to promote bumiputera entrepreneurs and the creation of a Bumiputera Industrial and Commercial Community (BICC), but what has the Government done to date to promote the creation of more entrepreneurs-both bumiputera and non-bumiputera-to enhance Malaysia’s competitiveness in the world market?

The Government has allocated $805.6 million under the Sixth Malaysia Plan to the Ministry of Public Enterprises to create bumiputera entrepreneurs. But has the Government set aside any funds for the promotion for Malaysian entrepreneurs regardless of race to promote Malaysia’s international competitiveness under the Sixth Malaysia Plan?

The 20-year New Economic Policy had been the most divisive nation-building policy in creating distrust and suspicion among Malaysians

In fact, it had been the chief cause of brain drain and capital flight in the 1970s and 1980s, which had severely retarded Malaysia’s economic growth-and may be the main reason why Malaysia did not become the first Little Dragon ahead of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore although Malaysia was placed in a better economic position than these countries.

It is precisely for this reason that the DAP had called of the end of the policy of percentages and quotas.
In his speech, Dr.Mahathir said it was not impossible to have achieved the 30 per cent target of bumiputera ownership of corporate equity as set out in the New Economic Policy, “but 10 per cent of that was sold back to non-Bumiputeras because the Bumiputeras wanted quick profits.”

In fact, as I had pointed out in my speech on the Sixth Malaysia Plan in Parliament in July last year, if the government had no manipulated statistical data, it is clear that the New Economic Policy target of 30 per cent bumiputera corporate equity ownership had been over-achieved.
Infair to balme the failure of NEP on the non-bumiputeras

It is most unfair for the Prime Minister yesterday to blame the failure of the NEP on the non-bumiputeras. If anyone is to be blamed for the failings of the NEP, it must be the government itself.
For instance, Dr.Mahathir said that business and industry require good ethics and conceded that there are businessman who became rich through cheating. He mentioned international examples like Robert Maxwell, Charles Keating Jr., Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken. Why didn’t he mention the Malaysian examples like Tan Koon Swan, Kee Yong Wee and others who were proteges of UMNO leaders and Government?

For instance, Malaysian are still waiting for an explanation from the Government as to how Bank Pertanian Malaysia, which lost $305 million in 1988 and 1989, could sell its subsidiary, KPN Holdings Sdn.Bhd, to a company of its former Chief Executive, Agoes Salim Holding Sdn.Bhd., purportedly for $8 million in 1982, but which had not been paid at all apart from the down payment!

Dr.Mahathir is right when he said that one important reason why Soviet Union communism failed is because for seventy years the Russian Communist Party fooled itseld in refusing to admits its own mistakes and failures.

Is the Barisan Nasional Government prepared to admit that there are many bumiputera ‘captains of commerce and industry’ who are presently millionaires or multi-millionaires not because any contribution to the competitiveness or productivity of the national economy, but solely because of their favoured positions and connections?

Although the opening up of the Third Bumiputera Economic Congress to non-bumiputeras is a welcome, it would have been even better if the conference is a Malaysia Economic Congress rather than a bumiputera economic congress.

If the Government is sincere about Vision 2020 to create a Bangsa Malaysia, where all Malaysians will identify himself as a Malaysian first and his race second, then let us take the courageous steps towards such a direction now itself-by having Malaysian Economic Congresses instead of Bumiputera Economic Congresses.