The International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz has revealed that a total of 66,277 cars were imported with Approved Permits (APs) last year. Now, If the APs had been given out through a system such as an auction, then the government could have collected a substantial amount of revenue.
It could have amount to RM660 million ringgit at an average of RM10,000 a piece. That lost in government revenue has been the gain of the unknown few.
The current AP system is bad. But, in this case, consumers have paid a higher price without regard to their ethnic status. All who paid a higher price for their cars have been equally treated.
But house prices which differ according to the ethnicity of buyer is worse than the AP system. It is obvious that in the former's case, those who pay a higher price actually subsidise the cheaper units. This demonstrates that Malaysians are not equally treated.
The rational for NEP is well-known. It is based on a need, even though not all those who meet the required criteria have been offered the help. The policy is confined to improving the earning capacity of the beneficiaries.
But consumption such as the purchasing of housing is not included for consideration under the NEP. This is especially so for housing units that can never be classified as for the poor or needy.
Thus difference in price according to the ethnicity of purchasers tells the world that not all Malaysians are equal, contrary to such a claim often said and repeated by the prime minister.
NEP has run well past its sunset time. But that is another matter.