'PM, is it based on race, needs or merit?'

Modified 31 Mar 2010, 8:55 am

your say 'Do you want to base your policies on race, need or merit? Which has more priority? Mixing all them together is too confusing and complicated to implement and is a receipt for abuse. In the end, the status quo remains.'

NEM: A market-friendly affirmative action

SusahKes: The whole rent-seeking culture came about because of the abuse of affirmative action under the NEP. So, if Najib says the government wishes to continue with affirmative action, is that a nice way of saying, "We're still gonna take care of Umno members"?

If the government really "will help all poor Malaysians regardless of race", can we see more deserving students get places at local universities, regardless of their ‘kulit-fication'? Wasn't the same promise given when the original NEP was formulated?

Kgen: Make up your mind. Do you want to base your policies on race, needs or merit? Which has more priority? Mixing all them together is too confusing and complicated to implement and is a receipt for abuse. In the end, the status quo remains.

We have: "Affirmative action will consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households". Very good, a need-based affirmation action.

But then we have, "racial quotas should be slowly phased out". How slow? Will it take another 50 years or until bumiputeras achieve the elusive 30 percent equity? What's wrong with replacing racial quotas with needs-based affirmative action straight away? It's not as if the Malays are going to be disadvantaged.

Then we have this admission: "Najib said that the government's inclusive approach based on needs, not race will translate into greater support for the bumiputera."

So where's the political will to do it? Or is it because the Umnoputras will be disadvantaged?

Cala: Najib Abdul Razak's wish-list lacks sincerity without reintroducing local election. Why would we need an ‘equal opportunities commission' to curtail ‘occasional abuses' by dominant groups when there are many more proven and people-inclusive schemes that can do the job?

To my mind, the reintroduction of local government elections can bring about transparency and accountability to administration.

Sadly, the BN, similar to countless regimes in the world, is well placed to allow systematic plundering of the nation due to ineffective system of check and control. Rent-seeking only flourishes under weak systems where small classes of ruling elites get access to distribute public resources amongst themselves.

Lee Heng Soon: If they can be trusted, Malaysia would really be a better place. But we have Penang warlord Ahmad Ismail returning to siphon what little resources are left for his empire.

Vote BN out, and Malaysia will be a better place. Otherwise just forget about all the talk. They have been talking for 52 years now. If the masses do not wake up, then don't talk about change.

Wira: Affirmative action is OK. Apartheid policy is a big NO. Get rid of the 5-10 percent discount on property purchasers. Who are the government helping? All of those who are in the bottom 40 percent need help regardless of race.

Everyone who buys a property according to his affordability. He should not be asked to subsidise another equally able person on the basis of skin colour.

Industry gives thumbs up to NEM, for now

Ghkok: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is two years behind time. Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat were already talking about a needs-based approach since 2007.

Louis G: Whoever was first or second is irrelevant. By God, let all Malaysians give Najib a chance. His party's right-wing hawks will gang up to torpedo the NEM. Let us back him to fend them off.

For once, it looks like we have a chance to catch up with lost ground in terms of economic competitiveness. Let us not politicise and screw this up again. Najib's efforts will also make it easier for Pakatan-controlled state governments.

Najib provides few clues on reaching developed status

Just Great: The last time Najib opened his big mouth, he said Malaysia is not affected by the downturn. Look at where we are today. Everyone's feeling the pinch and reality. Then he said Malaysia will be achieving a six percent growth.

Where and how is Malaysia going to do that with very little FDIs (foreign direct investments) and companies moving out? His intention is to whitewash the NEP and present it as the NEM.

Highlights of New Economic Model

Clearwater: There are lots of good proposals (in NEM), but vague in terms of timelines and nothing was said on how to ensure its implementation by a bureaucracy that badly needs reform itself. Sounds like a whole lot of hot air and a wish-list that is unlikely to be met.

Bijan: Anyone can make a thousand proposals, but the agencies trusted to implement these changes themselves are not reliable. This should be addressed first before any new policy is designed. Otherwise, it's a sheer waste of time and money.

I have not seen or felt any changes and I don't think I will in the near future. We will still pay more for cars, earn less than others, suffer more, and cronies are still getting richer.

Quigonbond: We just need to ask a very simple question. Will those brains who exited Malaysia come back based on what he's just said? If they roll their eyes and say, "it doesn't look like much", then you'd know it isn't really much more than repackaged sound bites.

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