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New Economic Policy must be based on need, not race, says Azmin

KUALA LUMPUR — Putrajaya’s review of the New Economic Policy (NEP) will ensure that the affirmative action is dispensed according to need rather than racial considerations, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Tuesday (July 24).

Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali says the New Economic Policy (NEP) is being reviewed to be more merit-based.

Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali says the New Economic Policy (NEP) is being reviewed to be more merit-based.

KUALA LUMPUR — Putrajaya’s review of the New Economic Policy (NEP) will ensure that the affirmative action is dispensed according to need rather than racial considerations, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Tuesday (July 24).

Malaysia disclosed on Mondayy that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will review the technically defunct policy as part of a larger examination of previously introduced measures.

“We are still discussing the review because we strongly believe Pakatan Harapan’s economic policies should not be based on race,” Mr Azmin told reporters in Parliament. “It should be based on needs instead."

However, the minister insisted that any new economic policies would not jeopardise Bumiputera rights.

“Bumiputera needs are guaranteed. We want to make sure they get their rights but we must also be fair to all Malaysians,” he added.

Two years after 1969 race riots that left hundreds dead, Malaysia's second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, initiated the NEP, giving ethnic Malays cheaper housing and quotas for college scholarships, government contracts and shares of listed companies.

It sought to raise the share of national wealth to at least 30 per cent for Malays and indigenous groups known as Bumiputera, or "sons of the soil," which currently account for about 70 per cent of the population.

While the NEP was only supposed to last 20 years, successive Malaysian premiers have made some tweaks but kept much of the affirmative-action concepts intact.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Najib Razak said the PH government must not make amendments to existing policies just for the sake of making changes, pointing out that it would affect investors' confidence.

“I hope the new government will not make amendments for the sake of making changes. If you want to make an amendment, it must be an improvement of what was done,” he said.

“If there is any uncertainty, it will affect the market confidence on the Malaysian economy.” AGENCIES

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