Every individual counts. Merit and effort would now matter, in access to resources, jobs, contracts and licenses. Everyone would be consulted and all voices heard. With those words, Malaysia today buried the decades-old New Economic Policy which had given preference to Bumiputeras in all spheres of life. The “rent-seeking and patronage system that has wracked our old system" would end.
Affirmative action would now be based on needs and merit, not race, and the focus shifted to low income households and individuals.
There was no statement on whether racial quotas would be removed, but the government's policy statement said all citizens would live free of "the indignity of discrimination".
“Economic policy would focus on inclusiveness where all Malaysians of all races will contribute," Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told the "Invest Malaysia" business summit in Kuala Lumpur.
"We can't afford to duck the issues any longer. If we are to truly tackle inequality and become a beacon of progress in the region, we must create a sense of urgency to reform," Najib said.
In contrast to the old NEP's emphasis on quotas for Bumiputeras, all communities could contribute to and share in the wealth of the country, said the report on the New Economic Model by the National Economic Advisory Council.
"Every part of the country matters," the NEM report said. Everyone will be consulted and their voices heard.
In charting Malaysia's growth towards a high-income economy, with a per capita income of US15,000 a year, the report stated that the rakyat could expect:
- More choices and higher purchasing power.
- An upward spiral of consumption and high income career choices.
- Better quality of life. Not only higher incomes, but quality healthcare and social support, for all.
- Opportunities for upward mobility.
- Readily available skills development programmes.
- Access to resources, jobs, contracts and licenses based on merit and effort.
- Reward for innovation and creativity.
- A more developed, specialised, innovative, technology-driven and knowledge-based economic structure.
- Safe surroundings free from the fear of crime, the indignity of discrimination and the anxiety of need.
- Equal and easy access to information.
- Connected, sophisticated, modern cities, townships and villages.
- All communities able to contribute to and share in the wealth of the country.
- Every individual counts.
- Affirmative action shift from ethnicity to low income households and individuals on the basis of needs and merit. Mutual respect and dignity accorded.
- Every part of the nation matters.
- Regional and sub-regional development will be given more emphasis, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
- Everyone will be consulted and their voices heard.