I think it would be appropriate to term the New Economic Policy (NEP) as the "Never Ending Policy" simply because it has come to stay with us and will be with us for a long period of time.

Public discussion or debate about the NEP very often than not degenerates into non-Malay versus Malay discourse, leaving little or no room for open and rational discussion. Given the highly controlled media, any discussion of the NEP will be interpreted in such a way as to suit the objectives of those in power. In short, discussion about the NEP is a non-starter in Malaysia.

The NEP was introduced in the immediate aftermath of the May 1969 racial riots to address the socio-economic grievances of Malays. In a more specific sense, it was aimed at creating a Malay middle-class acquiring 30 percent of national equity by 1990 and to reduce poverty, especially in the country side.

Since Malays were not able to acquire the 30 percent equity by 1990, the NEP was extended as policy measure under the New Development Policy and the New Vision Policy. Lately, the 9th Malaysia Plan stipulates that the 30 percent target should be achieved by 2020; the year Malaysia is supposed to attain its developed nation status.

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