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I refer to malaysiakini report EU envoy denies in interfering in local affairs .

The European Commission ambassador Thierry Rommel must have hit some raw nerves when he suggested that the NEP, which has been in existence for more than 30 years, be reviewed as it is discriminatory against the minorities in this country. As usual, the political elite, who have benefitted much from this affirmative action policy has trumpeted a warning to all and sundry against interfering with their 'sacred cow'.

The NEP, which was formulated in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 incident, served us well in the early 1970s. Because of this government affirmative action policy, a lot of Malays and other bumiputeras in this country were given a leg up to become professionals such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, engineers, etc, who later became part of the middle class of our society.

However, this policy created a society which has depended on 'crutches' in getting business and other opportunities from the government. In an open society like ours where globalisation is the new mantra for business, this will be the death knell for businesses which cannot compete with other business organisations that are lean and mean and can compete for projects within budget and with no leakage (no pun intended!).

It doesn't help either that the elite of society - who don't need government affirmative action - have used their political connections to become richer due to the NEP. A lot of bumiputera allocations of new shares issues were given to the children of our bigwigs. They have become the envy of the town by becoming multi-millionaires overnight when the shares allocated to them increased fourfold after listings.

And who can forget the AP fiasco where it was revealed that a lot of politically-connected Malay individuals - due to their close connections with the International Trade and Industry minister - became car-import kings who could afford to have their personal helicopters take them to their golf game?

The recent brouhaha about big government projects with shoddy workmanship have also showed that the NEP's 'closed tender' policy for Malay contractors who then sub-let their projects to downliners have caused taxpayers money to - literally - go down the drain.

Yes, the NEP was a noble project envisioned by Tun Abdul Razak and his cabinet in the 1970s to restructure society in order not to have a repeat of the May 13 incident. It has had its successes as well as its failures. While the Malay community has received a leg up in their economic well- being, it has also created a society that thinks that the government owes them a living and that affirmative action is a never-ending policy.

Rather than bark at the EU ambassador for his forthright comments on the NEP, it would do the government good if it can admit its mistakes in the implementation of the NEP particularly with concerns to the majority of poor Malays have not benefitted much from this affirmative action policy. Only the elite of society and their cohorts, who have hijacked this noble policy, have nothing to complain about.

To become rich and famous by hard work and perseverance is something all should do in order to stand tall among the other races in this country. As the saying goes 'Easy come, easy go" and our history of full of sad tales of rich Malay tycoons who literally lost their business empires when the financial meltdown of 1997 swept our country.

Our country needs good business leaders who can stand on their own two feet and who don't have to depend on government handouts to survive in this competitive business world that we are living in.