There is no longer any need to introduce policies akin to the New Economic Policy (NEP) "exclusively for the Malays", but instead one that will benefit all races, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa said.
This is because the government is duty-bound to help the poor, he said, regardless of their ethnicity.
“We must not make judgments or make policies purely on the basis of whether you are Malay or Chinese or whichever race you belong to.
“If we have a poor Indian or we have a poor Chinese, the government is duty-bound to extend assistance," Annuar said in an interview with the Malay Mail.
The Ketereh MP said the BN would not bring back the NEP, or similar policies, if the coalition got another chance to helm the federal administration.
Annuar said this when asked to respond to a statement made by Umno Youth deputy chief Shahril Hamdan, who called for a needs-based approach in helping the underprivileged bumiputera community.
'Elite Malays reaped benefits'
Shahril had said "elite" Malays have been reaping benefits from such government initiatives.
The NEP introduced race-based affirmative action after the 1969 riots, aimed at helping the bumiputera community. It expired in 1991, but key elements have been carried forward in subsequent economic policies.
Annuar said it would be unfair if much-needed government assistance were only channelled to rich Malays while depriving the others.
He added: “So I quite agree with Shahril. The rich Malays, for example, must not deprive others. Just simply because you are a Malay, you must get more and more assistance.
"If you do that at the expense of a poor Indian or a poor Chinese, that is not fair."
Instead, he reportedly said, the country should come up with a new policy for the benefit of all low-income Malaysians.