A Malaysian Economic Agenda for Penang


When the new Chief Minister of Penang, Sdr. Lim Guan Eng, said that the NEP/DEB has “ended” in Penang, his statement hit the front page of UMNO’s Bahasa Malaysia mouthpiece, Utusan Malaysia (March 12, 2008), thereby giving room for UMNO nationalists to launch a vicious attack against the new coalition government.

The Utusan failed to highlight the reality that under Gerakan-UMNO rule for a number of decades, the Malays have been marginalized and remain poor and, except for parts of Balik Pulau, they no longer have land that they can call their own on the island itself. From a society with land, the Malays have been confined to pigeon hole type public flats. In short, the NEP/DEB ended in Penang a long time ago when UMNO failed the Penang Malays.

The NEP/DEB is an affirmative action policy which was introduced in 1970 to eradicate poverty and restructure the economy. Over the years, the UMNO-led BN government used this policy to create an entrenched system of political patronage which benefits a small section of the UMNO connected bumiputra community. It also led to the creation of an “ersatz Malay capitalism” based on patronage, cronyism and nepotism.

KeADILan’s position on the NEP/DEB is clearly stated in our manifesto (KeADILan Manifesto, 2008: A New Dawn for Malaysia): “…the National Economic Policy must be replaced with an economic agenda that seeks to assist and affirm all poor Malaysians, regardless of their race. In this way, in stead of rich elites abusing existing policies to make themselves even richer, Malays who make up the majority of Malaysia’s poor will be fully assisted along side with poor Orang Asli and Orang Asal, Ibans, Kadazan-Dusuns, Indians, Chinese, and so on.

…Affirmative action based on race such as espoused by the New Economic Policy, has been shown to be too vulnerable to abuse and a poor reflection of the reality facing all Malaysians. There are rich Malays, and poor Malays, rich Chinese and poor Chinese, rich Indians and poor Indians and so on”.

Our Economic Agenda’s central principle is that “the right opportunities must be made available to every single Malaysian—opportunities to learn, opportunities to make an honest living, and opportunities to achieve our dreams”. We will defend Article 153 and also the rights of all Malaysians as guaranteed under our constitution.

For the Utusan to play the racial card at this juncture after the severe loss incurred by the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional in the March 8 General Elections is indeed irresponsible and mischievous.—Din Merican

_______________________________________________________

Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia Buat Pulau Pinang

(Diterjemahkan secara bebas oleh Najwan Halimi)

Sebaik sahaja Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng mengumumkan bahawa Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) tidak akan diguna pakai lagi di negeri tersebut, akhbar milik UMNO, Utusan Malaysia (edisi 12 Mac 2008) menyiarkan kenyataan beliau sebagai berita muka hadapan, lantas membuka ruang buat pemuka-pemuka UMNO untuk menghentam kerajaan Barisan Rakyat yang baru dibentuk itu.

Utusan Malaysia sebetulnya gagal untuk mendedahkan realiti sebenar yang berlaku bahawa bangsa Melayu sebenarnya sudah pun lama dipinggirkan dan berada dalam kemiskinan yang teruk sepanjang berada di bawah pentadbiran Gerakan-UMNO. Kecuali di kawasan Balik Pulau, bangsa Melayu sebenarnya sudah tidak punyai tanah yang boleh dianggap milik mereka. Daripada sebuah masyarakat yang memiliki tanah, bangsa Melayu kini hanya mendiami rumah-rumah pangsa yang sempit. Hakikatnya, DEB sebetulnya sudah menemui ajalnya di Pulau Pinang lama dahulu iaitu apabila UMNO sendiri gagal berfungsi sebagai pembela hak Melayu di negeri tersebut.

DEB merupakan polisi tindakan afirmatif yang dilancarkan pada tahun 1970 dengan objektif untuk mengurangkan kemiskinan serta membina semula ekonomi negara. Sepanjang tempoh pelaksanaannya, rejim UMNO-BN telah menggunakan polisi ini untuk mencipta sistem politik naungan yang memberi kelebihan dan keistimewaan kepada beberapa kerat Bumiputera yang memiliki jaringan dengan elit kuasa dalam UMNO. Kesan daripada penyalahgunaan DEB ini juga kemudiannya melahirkan “kapitalisme Melayu ersatz” yang diasaskan melalui sistem naugan, kronisme dan nepotisme.

Pendirian Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) berkenaan dengan DEB telah dinyatakan dengan jelas di dalam manifesto pilihanraya yang bertemakan Harapan Baru Untuk Malaysia:

“…Dasar Ekonomi Baru haruslah digantikan dengan agenda ekonomi yang berhasrat membantu dan mengembalikan maruah semua rakyat yang miskin, tidak kira kaum atau latar belakang mereka. Dengan ini, golongan elit yang kaya-raya tidak lagi akan boleh memperguna dasar yang sedia ada untuk lebih memperkayakan diri mereka lagi – sebaliknya, orang Melayu yang sememangnya merupakan majoriti golongan miskin Malaysia akan mendapat bantuan sepenuhnya, bersama-sama saudara mereka dari kaum India, Kadazan, Cina, Iban, Orang Asli dan lain-lain.

…Dasar afirmatif yang berasaskan sepenuhnya kepada ras dan bangsa, seperti yang diterjemahkan melalui Dasar Ekonomi Baru, telah terbukti kelemahannya yang ketara dengan penindasan yang dialami oleh sekalian rakyat Malaysia. Masih ada Melayu yang kaya dan Melayu yang miskin, Cina yang kaya dan Cina yang miskin, India yang kaya dan India yang miskin, demikianlah seterusnya.”

Prinsip asas Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia ialah “peluang yang saksama perlu disediakan untuk setiap rakyat Malaysia, peluang untuk belajar, peluang untuk memperoleh hidup yang senang, dan peluang untuk mencapai impian”. PKR akan turut mempertahankan peruntukan Artikel 153 dan juga hak semua warga Malaysia sebagaimana yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Apa yang dikesalkan ialah tindakan tidak bertanggungjawab serta berniat jahat dari pihak Utusan Malaysia yang mula memainkan sentimen perkauman sebaik sahaja rejim UMNO-BN menerima kekalahan teruk dalam pilihanraya umum baru-baru ini.

8 thoughts on “A Malaysian Economic Agenda for Penang

  1. Dear Din, Utusan Malaysia probably forgot that they contributed a great deal to the failure of BN ! They should have included in their theme “Penyebar Fikiran Rakyat dan Pemimpin” instead of just “Penyebar Fikiran Rakyat”. Just look at their headline on 4th.March 2008, just 4 days before the poll – ” Sokongan BN Meningkat”. What else need to be said ? How worthy is Utusan as penyebar fikiran rakyat when they dont even know what is going on in the mind of the rakyat. Sometimes I pity the PM, he must have mistakenly believed in Utusan’s reports.

    If there is anybody that needs to resign, I think all the Chief Editors of the mainstream newspapers and their counterparts in RTM and TV3 should be the ones. I do not believe that they do not know the mood and thinking of the rakyat. The fact that they continue to spin their “Emperor’s New Clothes” tale means they should take responsibility and resign. They insulted our intelligence enough to cause misery to their own bossess – the BN !

    If BN is thinking of remodelling the party – let me give free advise, get rid of all the editors and the bosses in the mainstream media. Start fresh !

    Din Ahmad,

    Yes, we should change—fire is a better word—all the Editors, especially Kalimullah Hassan (NST) and that Wong character (The Star), in the mainstream media. I feel sorry for the journalists with the NST, the Star, Utusan Malaysia, and others who attend the PKR press conferences; they tell me that when they file in their reports, these ” ampu bodek” editors either substantially edit and put a spin on them or just do not publish them.The editors forget that in 21st century Malaysia, there is civil society (the 5th Estate) with internet savvy leaders and followers who are offering the public alternative views of what is actually happening on the ground. When the Anwar Ibrahim tsunami swept away UMNO-Barisan in 5 states and denied Badawi his two thirds majority, civil society was not caught by surprise.

    I single out individuals like Raja Petra Kamaruddin (www.malaysia-today.net), Steven Gan (www.malaysiakini.com), Haris Ibrahim (Peoples’ Parliament), Nathanial Tan (of Anwar Ibrahim’s Office), James Wong wing-on (Claire Street), Atan (Rockybru), Dr. Bakri Musa (Morgan-Hill, California), conservative and ex-NST Group Editor Dato Abdul Kadir Jasin, Jeff Ooi and Tony Pua, young blogger and my associate Najwan Hilmi and others for their hard work. I must acknowledge the roles played by my PKR colleague Zunar (Suara KeADILan) and my good friends in Harakah in spreading the “winds of change” (apologies to the Heavy Metal music group, the Scorpions). Together, these individuals and their organisations brought the message of change to our beautiful land. I must aslo not forget the men and women of PKR, DAP and PAS who contributed their time and energy, going house to house, distributing leaflets and flyers to our fellow citizens during the campaign period.

    I, however, have no sympathy for Prime Minister Badawi. He brought this upon him and his UMNO-BN by squandering the resounding mandate we all gave in 2004. He was “honeymooning” and enjoying the perks of his job, in stead of taking care of Malaysians. He should, therefore, do the most honourable thing: accept for responsibility for this BN fiasco and step down as the Prime Minister and do this duty to the nation. We have rejected his leadership in no uncertain terms. Take Jeanne along with him and enjoy his retirement. We need leaders who are dedicated, honest, and hard working.—Din Merican

  2. Saudara,

    Seingatan saya DS Dr. Mahathir Mohamed pernah menyuarakan dalam Far Eastern Economic Review ( tahun 1980an ) agar DEB dimansuhkan atau pun tidak diteruskan. Ini adalah disebabkan pada penglihatannya orang Melayu terlalu bergantung kepada DEB, lantas tidak mahu berusaha untuk bersaing dengan bangsa lain. Itu dulu.

    Kini rupanya masih ramai lagi orang Melayu yang tidak mahu berganjak dari pegangan yang mensifatkan DEB merupakan tongkat sakti kepada orang Melayu.

    Ada betulnya. Tetapi sampai bila? Dan apakah DEB itu betul-betul menolong masyarakat yang tertindas atau hanya menguntungkan segelintir manusia.

    Menangani masalah sebegini mememrlukan anjakan paradigma. Rakyat perlu menukar persepsi. Isu sebegini perlu dilihat dalam konteks era kurun ke 21 bukan era 1970an lagi.

    Diharapkan rakyat Malaysia dapat melihat isu ini secara kritikal dan rasional.

    Sdr Abu,

    Zaman sudah berubah. DEB adalah ciptaan manusia dan jika dasar itu tiadk adil dan gagal, kita kena berani buat perubahan yang perlu, ambil objektifnya tetapi tukar strategy dan taktik perlakansaan supaya kita lebih adil. Jangan lah takut bayang sendiri. Terima kasih.—Din Merican

  3. Din,

    We Malaysian whether Malay, Chinese or Indians voted without racial basis for a “CHANGE” with a new hope. A New Dawn for Malaysia.

    It is known fact, after dongkey years of implementation of NEP under BN / Gerakan ruling in Penang, majority Malays in Penang still poor or under middle class. NEP only benefits a few cronies like Patrick Lim, Kamaludin Abdullah and etc….

    Yes I agree, KeADILan’s position on the NEP/DEB is clearly stated in our manifesto (KeADILan Manifesto, 2008: A New Dawn for Malaysia): “…the National Economic Policy must be replaced with an economic agenda that seeks to assist and affirm all poor Malaysians, regardless of their race.

    P.Raju,

    CONCERN MALAYSIAN

    Thanks,Raju for your comments. We have no disagreement. We must help all Malaysians. It is that simple and clear. But if we are only thinking about oursleves, our families and cronies, we cannot act on the principle of “justice for all”.—Din Merican

  4. Din Merican,

    Again correction- Tsunami of the “Barisan Rakyat/United Rakyat”. Credit be given when it’s due, remember? You cannot ignore efforts of the other component parties, they have also worked tirelessly throughout campaigning. PKR cannot stand alone without their cooperation and contribution.

    Sorry, Jong. It is Anwar Ibrahim who started this movement for change and he was the crowd puller and the DAP and PAS used him. Credit will go to all partners in Barisan Rakyat. But the man who created the tsunami is the former Deputy Prime Minister.—Din Merican

  5. Barisan Rakyat need to showcase in Penang that under the New Economic Agenda, the lives of the poor will improve dramatically. Poor Malays without political (read: UMNO) connections are sure to benefit from this just policy. This is the surest way to destroy the now irrelevant DEB.

  6. Din,

    I wonder whether NST report about DAP wanting to end NEP in Penang was exactly what Lim Guan Eng said, or was it an NST spin, ala Kalimullah.

    If it was what LGE actually said, then DAP must be careful of what they say at this juncture. If it is NST spin, then clearly the maintream media is mischievous with trouble-causing spins.

    In any case, it would be good for Anwar and top Keadilan leaders to meet LGE, LKS and other top DAP leaders to discuss treading sensitive ground carefully so as to avoid landmines blowing up into their faces and undo all that PKRM, DAP and PAS are slowly building up. I’m sure with Anwar’s vast experience and de facto leader of the 3 parties, something amicable will be worked out. Meanwhile PKRM, DAP and PAS should be alert from all possible sabotage attempts by UMNO/BN who are sore losers.

    PS. Any possibility of putting up video clip of Pat Boone’s song “I’ll remember tonight” one of my favourites, featured in his 1959 film “Mardi Gras”. They don’t sing songs like this anymore today.

    Regards,

    David

    David, it is mostly a spin. Guan Eng must be careful with the pro-Government media. As CM, he will always be under the microscrope from here on.—Din Merican.

  7. Pingback: A Malaysian Economic Agenda for Penang «

  8. Jika itu yang kita semua mahukan, bagi peluang kepada mereka membuktikan bahawa sememangnya dasar yang dikatakan lebih baik dari DEB ini dijalankan. Tak salah untuk megubah sesuatu yang tidak betul dan ia adalah langkah terbaik sekarang. UMNO harus sedar bahawa rakyat makin bijak dan tahu menilai mana yang baik untuk mereka.

    K’lye, tepat sekali. Buka peluang untuk semua yang boleh buat kerja sendiri bukan jadi sub-contactor atau agent kutip sewa/rentier. Rakyat tidak boleh perbodohkan lagi. Zaman sudah berubah. Malangnya UMNO masih tidor.— 🙂 Din Merican

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