KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Rich Malays must not expect and enjoy privileges which could otherwise be channelled to more deserving Malaysians in the country, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.
Agreeing with a recent remark by his party’s deputy Youth chief Shahril Hamdan, Annuar said that while the special position of the Malay community must be respected, policies resembling the now defunct New Economic Policy (NEP) enacted by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government must not be reintroduced.
Instead, the Ketereh MP felt that a more wholesome policy is needed to tackle poverty, which affects not just the Malays.
“We must not make judgements or make policies purely on the basis of whether you are Malay or Chinese or whichever race that you belong to.
“If we have a poor Indian or we have a poor Chinese, the government is duty bound to extend assistance.
“So I quite agree with Shahril. The rich Malays for example, you 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,” Annuar told Malay Mail in a recent interview.
He said that there are also many poor Malays who could benefit from government assistance.
Last week, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted Shahril saying that elite Malays must not receive special government assistance under the pro-Bumiputera government policy, and that it should be given to more deserving people.
He reportedly made the remark after being asked whether rich Malays were eligible for special government assistance for Bumiputeras, such as admission quotas to public universities, government scholarships for higher education, and special discounts on property purchases.
Shahril reportedly said that the affluent Malays must not be included in the list of Bumiputera special beneficiaries as their successes may be due to the aid, asking them to give up their perks to lower class Malays instead.
During the interview with Malay Mail, Annuar agreed with Shahril’s suggestion, adding that the task of eradicating poverty among the poorer Malays especially was still unfinished.
However, he said the effort must also include other races, in the true spirit of nation building.
Annuar suggested need-based policies as a way to tackle the problem and ensure equal wealth sharing.
“There are still so many poor Malays who need to be attended to, but like what I said, you cannot have a policy just exclusively for Malays. You must have policies for the poor. You must have policies based on need. By doing that, then every segment of the society will feel they are being looked after.
“I think we should design a brand new policy,” he said.
Annuar said that it Umno were to make a comeback to Putrajaya, it would not bring back the NEP.
“In fact Umno if you ask me, should we come back to power, we are not bringing back the NEP. We are not bringing back the old way of doing things. We are not bringing back what Tun (Dr) Mahathir used to do,” he said, adding that Umno must be more creative in formulating policies by taking into consideration the sentiments of every Malaysian.
He also reminded Umno to not forget why the party was rejected by the people and cautioned it against repeating old ways.
“You must not deny that when we were voted out, there must be a reason as to why the people voted us out,” he said.