Bumiputera economic congress must have clear direction, say groups

Diyana Ibrahim

Malay economic groups say the government-run Bumiputera Economic Congress, set to be held early next year, needs clear goals to ensure its agenda does not fail. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 18, 2023.

THE government-run Bumiputera Economic Congress, set to be held early next year, needs clear goals to ensure its agenda does not fail, Malay economic groups said. 

The Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) wants the congress to be a symbol of the government’s determination to fight for Malay-bumiputera. 

MTEM CEO Ahmad Yazid Othman said the congress was necessary considering the economic disparity of the Malays, which had been widening over the last few decades. 

He said the congress must not be overshadowed by political elements and should go beyond mere rhetoric.  

“I don’t think the people will accept this congress if it becomes another event aimed at giving political messages. 

“This time we want to see the impact and solution that the government can offer to uphold and empower the bumiputera position. 

“The economic gap between the Malays and the others is widening and we are worried that the gap is getting wider,” he told The Malaysian Insight. 

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced in September that the Bumiputera Economic Congress next year would set a new direction for the bumiputera agenda. 

Anwar said previous plans to empower bumiputera only focused on their participation in the economy and were based solely on equity ownership. 

“After five decades, this ownership has yet to reach the 30% target set. 

“A bumiputera economic congress will be held in January next year to set a new direction and approach that is more fair, equitable and inclusive,” he said, whilst tabling the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review. 

The first bumiputera congress, aimed at raising the economic status of the Malays, was held in 1965 during the administration of the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Tunku Putra. 

A total of 70 resolutions were passed at that time which allowed the Majlis Amanah Rakyat to be formed to replace the Rural and Industrial Development Authority. 

Another resolution reached in that congress was the formation of Bank Bumiputera Malaysia to provide trade financing for the bumiputera. 

In August 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government led by then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad held a Congress on the Future of Bumiputera and the Nation to constructively engage with stakeholders.  

Anwar, who was not in the government then, had closed that event. 

Mid-term plans needed 

Ahmad Yazid said the coming congress needed to set clear targets such as ensuring bumiputera contributions to at least 70% of the gross domestic product.  

“It needs to set a target income for Malay households with a higher wage level or at least with the minimum wage. 

“That’s MTEM’s hope. When these two things are in place, we could then see the KPI (key performance indicator). 

“For example, if we want to produce two tonnes of durian in two months, then we have to get the production done in two months. This is what MTEM wants. 

“And only then can we establish a committee to discuss methods and strategies to ensure our goals are achieved,” he said. 

He added that the government should not act without involving stakeholders such as civil society groups who really understood the issue. 

Yazid also hoped that resolutions and old policies were refined, and reforms were made to replace failed policies. 

“For example, the government has policy plans for the bumiputera economy, but they failed to ensure the supply chain for the bumiputera. 

“The government also cannot stop Ali Baba (middlemen) from taking the revenue allocated (to) bumiputera. 

“What is the benefit of doing business but 80% of the raw materials come from non-bumiputera?” he asked. 

Yazid also said MTEM was informed that the prime minister would set 2050 as the deadline to achieve the resolutions.  

“But we think it is too long. Therefore, there should also be a short-term plan,” he said. 

Malay Economic Action Council CEO Ahmad Yazid Othman says the bumiputera economic congress is necessary to address the economic disparity facing the Malays. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 18, 2023.

Focussing on problems 

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Muslim Consumer Association said universities must study Malay problems and find effective ways to deal with them. 

“Actually, the problems of the Malays have been the same for decades, and we know the real problem. 

“For example, if the Malays say they don’t have money, they will be given an injection of RM10 or RM20 billion, but the money will run out and the problems are still there. 

“So, this is the issue we have to solve.  We need to know how to deal with our problems and have focus. If there is no congress, (it will be the same) as before,” he said. 

He also agreed that the government needed to involve civil society groups to successfully fulfil the agenda. 

He said there are many Malay organisations who can give valuable input and understand the problems facing the Malays, but their suggestions are not heard. – November 18, 2023. 

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  • Every time these people hold a conference, they demand for more and more. Often the little others have worked for. Despite already having all the budget and the preferential treatment nothing is enough. For the growth of the nation and to move to a vibrant meritocratic nation.disband this narrow self serving opportunistic racist group.

    Posted 4 months ago by Alphonz Jayaraman · Reply