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AFTER the publication of Asli's finding of bumiputeras's equity of about 45%, many Umno leaders including Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi objected furiously. Umno vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin demanded the retraction of the report and he succeeded. Subsequently Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Asli's director who took full responsibility, resigned. He is prepared to stand by his finding and the method he used in his calculation.

A few days ago, Gerakan president Dr Lim Keng Yaik requested the government to reveal the methodology they used to arrive at a such low figure of 18.9%. Then Deputy PM Najib Tun Abdul Rasak said the government is willing to make public the methodology used by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to calculate the corporate equity ownership of various communities. He said that this would dispel any lingering doubts about the authenticity of the figures by EPU, which comes under the Prime Minister's Department.

In 1970, the bumiputeras had 2.4% equity when the NEP was first introduced. After 20 years, in 1990 it was acknowledged that the bumiputeras had 19.4% equity. Now they claim that they have only 18.9% equity, less than what they had 15 years ago. How can this be possible when the government did not stop giving out special privileges under the NEP all along?

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