PUTRAJAYA, March 1 — The implementation of the Bumiputera empowerment policy efforts must take a more universal approach, with implementation at the national level and not only focusing on this community, said Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.

He said the Bumiputera policy emphasis should be made in the context of making Malaysia a prosperous nation, inclusive as well as sustainable, whereby no one is left behind.

In his presentation as the chairman of KEB Wealth Creation and Corporate Dominance engagement at the Bumiputera Economic Congress (KEB) 2024, he said the universal approach should incorporate the environmental, social and governance (ESG) concepts including social equity.


Looking at the Bumiputera empowerment agenda achievement, he said after six decades of the policy implementation, there were several accomplishments, especially the increase in the number of professionals.

Nevertheless, achievement in terms of income and wages and asset ownership are still low and are far behind, he said.

“In the context of household income, the Bumiputera group are still at 29 per cent, lower than the Chinese; it is more noticeable in terms of income and wages of the Bumiputera compared with the others.


“In the first place, wages in Malaysia are low wherein the median is RM2,600, while in terms of race, the Bumiputera wage is around RM2,200, 45 per cent lower than the Chinese whose median income is RM4,000,” he explained.

The main cause of this failure was because the approach was focused on the public sector which contributes only 17.8 per cent to the gross domestic product compared with the private sector’s 76.2 per cent, he said.

“If we don’t expand the policy to the private sector, the Bumiputera’s achievement will continue to be low. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for implementation in the private sector, which is the main driver of the country’s economy, to increase effectiveness,” he said.

Touching on the resolutions from the various engagement sessions to create wealth and corporate dominance, he said it is at the end of the chain which starts with education, employment, investment and then finally wealth creation.

One of the suggestions raised was initiatives, including giving equal opportunity to the people, the opportunity to be employed and to participate in business equitably without discrimination.

Apart from that, having a comprehensive human resources development is necessary and important to provide appropriate education to Malaysians, for example learning a third language such as Mandarin, Tamil, Arab, Japanese, and others.

“Widespread language proficiency can increase opportunities. Important for the Bumiputera community to be proficient in Mandarin as China is our biggest trade partner and will be the world’s largest economy. China is also Malaysia’s biggest investor. It’s a disadvantage to be less proficient in languages,” he added.

Another proposal from the engagement session is to create a catalyst fund to increase the corporate performance in Malaysia and ensure that Malaysian companies embrace “diversity, equity and inclusion”, and ensure sustainable elements are adopted and implemented.

“Mandatory disclosure on ethnic, gender and age breakdown are also emphasised in the aspect of diversity, equity and inclusion. A diverse organisation is certainly a strength in any organisation,” he further said.

Abdul Wahid said the engagement session also proposed to increase cash waqf to a bigger scale to be channelled for socio-economic developments in the education and health sectors.

Additionally, he also stressed the establishment of an integrated data platform to evaluate Bumiputera asset ownership so that appropriate policies could be drafted.

Touching on the suggestion to introduce the Equitable Act, he said, it is more important to introduce the equal opportunity policies first before drafting a specific act.

“If the policy via encouragement is not effective, maybe an act is needed. For now, the policy is sufficient if all Malaysians embrace the spirit of diversity, equity and inclusion intention,” he added. — Bernama