Monday, March 08, 2010

DPM: new economic model is for everyone

Muhyiddin says the NEM is for everyone

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today assured Malaysians that the proposed New Economic Model (NEM) is for all, regardless of race, background and religion.

The deputy prime minister stressed that the government will not only consider the interest of the Malays but other communities as well.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that the government has decided to incorporate the proposed NEM into the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) in June, as fine-tuning and tweaks will go beyond its initial end of March launch.

It was learnt the delay came after feedback from various quarters prompted the government to rework its ideas and proposals that will turn Malaysia into a high-income nation based on innovation and creativity.

Among those with reservations about the NEM are the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) which yesterday demanded it be based on the 1970s-era New Economic Policy (NEP), and should comply with Article 153 of the Federal Constitution that protect Malay and the special position of Bumiputeras.

Muhyiddin said Malaysians, including the MPM, will be provided with the opportunity to contribute the NEM.

“I want to assure every Malaysians, not just Malays but every Malaysians who have a vested interest in the New Economic Model that the prime minister is very well aware. Every Malaysians but not just Malay Consultative Council wants to have a say and I think they will be given an opportunity to look into what has been proposed by the National Economic Advisory Council,” he told reporters after launching 1 Community 1 Corporation programme at Kg Paya Jaras Hilir here.

The National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) chaired by Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz is formulating the NEM and has briefed the Cabinet twice on its progress.

“Every Malaysian will have the opportunity to look into what the council proposed and what sort of input that they want to give to the prime minister and the government. So actually as a regard to the Malay interest or the Chinese interest, all are being taken care of but obviously we have to go into details on how those plan could be developed,” he added.

Muhyiddin also said that the NEM will be within the “spirit of the constitution.”

“At the same time, whatever decision that the government has to make will be constitutional and within the spirit of the constitution. We understand that very well so I don’t think any race need to be worry about.

“So there will be enough time for them to given the opportunity to have a look at what the proposed new economic model is all about. They can have a discussion among themselves to give input to the government,” he said.

The deputy prime minister also took great pains to say everyone will be consulted.

“I must assure you that all will be consulted. You have the various types of NGOs, not just the Malay Consultative Council. The Chinese and Indians have their own types of NGOs, all the social and economic NGOS have their own ideas but we will take note of them. We will assure that they will be given a fair chance but of course the final decision will rest on the government,” he explained.

The government had previously indicated the NEM could have been launched either late 2009 or early 2010. It was understood that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was due to launch the NEM at the annual Invest Malaysia conference to be held after Bank Negara Malaysia unveils its annual report and economic indicators.

Muhyiddin refused to neither confirm nor deny if the launch of NEM has been delayed till June.

“Well, I think the prime minister will give sufficient time for various groups to submit their views on this. So do I hope the announcement will come from the prime minister himself,” he said.

The NEAC briefed the Cabinet for the second time on March 1, days after engaging with several quarters on various issues related to the NEM.

Sources said the Cabinet had “concerns of political implications” for some measures but Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has said the political risks would not stop the NEM which stressed on removing costly subsidies and improving competitiveness.

It is understood that eliminating policies that still adhere to the spirit of the NEP — even though the NEP no longer exists and was replaced by the National Development Policy in 1990 — has been received with “trepidation by the Cabinet.”

Fully aware that this radical shift away from the patronage system so many Bumiputra businessmen are familiar with, the policy makers took pains to pave the way for the NEM’s success by engaging with various pressure groups.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir yesterday maintained that the NEM would not neglect the Malay community and would have the spirit of the NEP.

MPM has also been campaigning that NEM should not sideline the Malays and remain in line with Article 153 which has 10 parts, with the first part making it incumbent for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Perkasa, a member of MPM, is worried that the NEM will increase the monopoly of the country’s economy by the Chinese community.

Its director of economic bureau, Dr Zubir Harun, has said that Perkasa is worried that the NEM will have a Chinese agenda and warned that the Chinese community will use the next general election to take over the country.

courtesy of Malaysian Insider

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