The voices appealing to continue the New Economic Policy are getting louder, with all kinds of people trying to justify why it should be so. In the forefront are our Malay political leaders who are working overtime to churn out all kinds of statistics, and 'facts'. Being a Malay, I grieve for my brethren who until today are still waiting for the delivery of that solemn NEP promise.
I was but a child when the NEP was started by our well-meaning leaders at the time, but along the way, I saw with disgust and sorrow how my own people betrayed the trust that was placed in them.
The AP scandal is just a wee demonstration of how the NEP has failed, with well-connected individuals raking in millions by doing nothing. Even government assets are not spared, as they were sold cheaply to friends and relatives with decisions made by the stroke of a pen.
What used to be state land is now private, turned into golf courses, equestrian resorts and huge skyscrapers and shopping complexes. Assets belonging to government agencies were plundered, and if that wasn't enough, even agencies to help the Malays, such as UDA, were sold!
Now, the government says that agriculture must be modernised and expanded. Actually, this was mooted a long time ago with the formation of certain bodies such as Fima to spearhead this modernisation. But that, too, is now in private hands.
Then there was this noble intention to finance sports by way of raising money through lotteries, as is done in many other countries. Thus Sports Toto was formed by our government then. That money spinner is now sold too. Our old airport at Subang was also quickly 'sold', and the buyers at the first opportunity demolished every building on the site for fear that there will be a change of mind on the part of the government.
When projects cannot not take off, they are simply handed back to the government without compensation. Even shares bought from the government can be sold back to it when the market is down - not at market price but at the purchase price, so that the buyer does not lose.
All this is done in full view of the supposed-to-be recipients and beneficiaries of the New Economic Policy but all we could do was to watch in dismay as the plunder and destruction went on, in our name.
Huge projects, such as the independent power producers contracts were given on a silver platter to close friends, to be used as cash cows to finance other projects while the smaller, uneconomical ones were given to people like us.
We are then admonished for the slightest mistake that we make, and many times, publicly humiliated and compared with other more successful 'entrepreneurs'. But before these projects came to people like us, it was creamed off by the very people who are supposed to represent us and look after our interests, leaving us almost with nothing in the end.
It would not hurt so much if they succeeded in becoming successful entrepreneurs themselves, and we, too, can be proud of them. But no. Many failed and now they want more, shouting themselves hoarse why they need to be given more, and more and more.
I hope and pray that things will finally change for the better, because if it is to be done in the same manner as it was done over the last 22 years, then the NEP will have to be there for the next 100 years.