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It's only been a few months since the dagger-waving Umno Youth demanded that the NEP be reintroduced. This was to benefit the Malays (the deserving ones!) to reach a certain level of economic success. How hard its deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin cried for the poor Malays!

Let's fast forward to the present time. Khairy on Dec 28 last year bought 13 million shares from ECM Libra at 71 cents per share for RM9.2 million. These shares were sold by the three main shareholders. Questions were asked why these were sold at a discount, how he financed the purchase and more importantly, the timing of the purchase. He and the company have threatened to take legal action on some personalities who have questioned his credibility regarding the ECM Libra share purchase.

Yesterday's announcement that Avenue Capital Resources Bhd and ECM Libra will merge to form one of the country's largest investment banks shows how young leaders in power are mixing politics and business. Avenue is to buy all of ECM Libra's assets for RM280 million in exchange for shares in a reconstructed new company. The new company will have a shareholders fund of RM600 million making it eligible for Investment Bank (IB) status.

Khairy will surely have a conflict of interest as his father-in-law is the finance minister who decides on the bank licenses. He is also privy to the latest confidential information both in the private and public sector.

It is clear why this young man bought those shares in such a hurry. Just by this transaction alone he has made RM4.85 million with the present share prices. The trading of the company's shares was suspended with the news of the merger. What will he make after the merger? Roughly RM8.4 million. All this within months.

Well, I guess this is what the NEP is all about.

The writer is a vice-president of Party Keadilan Rakyat .

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