Not only is there an absence of rational or logical discussion of the strengths and pitfalls of the New Economy Policy, there is tendency on the part of some ultra-nationalist Malay politicians, including the former prime minister, to state that discussion of the NEP - or more importantly about Malay rights - will lead to a chaotic situation .
These kind of threats issued by bigoted nationalists do not really advance the cause of the Malays or Malaysians especially when the NEP is simply used to sustain the patronage machinery of Umno. Dr Mahathir Mohamad is largely responsible for the mess created by the NEP and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is simply continuing with this nefarious policy.
But the fundamental point that these ultra-nationalist politicians are missing is that the NEP has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it is elitist class instrument to create a small group of Malay super rich who will be tied closely to the state. Because it is class instrument, it has sidelined the poor Malays to a considerable extent. It is racist instrument in that non-Malay entrepreneurs and businessmen have to find ways and means to overcome this overt racist policy. Of course, there are some very rich non- Malays who have benefitted from the NEP and this group might not oppose the NEP.
From a business-competitive and efficiency point of view, the very nature of the NEP stands opposed to Malaysians seeking a competitive advantage in the global economy. Malaysians entrepreneurs without the benefit of rent-seeking behaviour are quite marginalised in the global economy which requires hard work, knowledge, perseverance and the ability to compete.
Malaysians, whether they are Malays or non-Malays, have been affected by the NEP. For the Malays, the NEP has prevented them from dealing with competition whereas for the non-Malays, the lack of business opportunities and the numerous constraints imposed on them by the state have denied them the experience in business dealings both at the national and global levels.
Given the fact that both the Malays and non-Malays do not benefit from the NEP either in the short-run or long-run, why continue with this divisive, decadent and elitist policy? It spells not integration and nation-building, but doomsday for Malaysia.
What bothers me is that this shows our national leaders have been only good ethnic leaders and they have miserably failed to lead the country as statesmen.