SHAH ALAM, May 5 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the federal government should formulate aid policies that are based on needs rather than ethnicity even if this may not be popular.
Lim, who is also the finance minister, said those in the Bottom 40 of wage earners have been long neglected and needed support regardless of race.
“A Malaysian solution to problems is to find a Malaysian way,” Lim told reporters during a press conference after DAP’s National Party Conference at Ideal Convention Centre in Shah Alam today.
“Our policies are designed to assist not only the poor but the disadvantaged and marginalised as well. We don’t deny that the majority who need help are Malays — around 80 per cent — but that doesn’t mean there are no Indians, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan or Orang Asli.
“Which is why we need to implement needs-based policies so that we can encourage the private sector to invest in Malaysia and in turn drive the economy.”
Lim was responding when asked how Pakatan Harapan (PH) intends to counter the Opposition’s allegations that were based on race.
He called the claims unsurprising as the Opposition said “non-Malays don’t deserve help because of the colour of their skin.”
“That’s where we differ. We base our policies on facts and statistics and not play up these dangerous racial sentiments like the Opposition does,” he said.
Lim added that all of Malaysia must be uplifted if the country is to repair the economic damage wrought upon it by six decades of Barisan Nasional rule.
Malaysians were also no longer content with just being able to afford basic necessities and have grown to aspire to better things, he explained.
The minister added that a prosper-thy-neighbour mindset would ultimately result in a more competitive country and a larger share of the global economy.
“In business, for example, we say ‘Buy Malaysian Products’ but if we don’t have scale and skill to grow the businesses, we can’t be successful and compete internationally. You need the skills and a large scale to compete globally.
“We need to equip Malaysians with the capability to be global competitors as being a champion in Malaysia alone is not enough.”
Citing Petronas that is one of the world’s leading oil-and-gas firms and a Fortune 500 company, Lim said the PH government was striving to build the infrastructure that will support the emergence of more such global contenders.
Aside from basic infrastructure, he said the government was also investing in technology to support the digital economy.
“We need more Malaysian champions and that’s why it’s important for the private sector to give the necessary incentives to fashion an entrepreneurial state so that we can drive the economy forward through the private sector,” he added.