LETTER | NEP : Just Because I Don’t Need It, Doesn’t Mean No One Else Does

What we need is not the abolishment of NEP, but rather a more proper, honest and above board management of affirmative action policies.

From Ross Matnor

On this day of Merdeka celebrations, I look back at what it means to be bumiputra and how it affects (or more like doesn’t affect) me. And where does the NEP stand today?

Education: I have never been on a government, GLC or any kind of scholarship linked to the Malaysian govt, be it directly or otherwise. The closest thing to a scholarship I’ve ever received was some bursary discounts for my postgraduate studies. Those were offered by the universities, not the government. And those weren’t IPTA’s either, I studied abroad.

As for schools in Malaysia, it was a mix between a British curriculum international school and a semi-gov’t funded missionary school throughout my schooling years. No govt boarding schools or scholarships either. So, education-wise, I’ve been pretty independent of the gov’t in that area.

Then there are the postgraduate professional qualifications (two of them). The first was obtained through a training articleship contract with my employer which came with an employment bond for a specific number of years. The cost of training, tuition and exams were all taken care of by the employer. Subsequent professional qualification, which I obtained later on, I funded myself when I was earning quite comfortably some years after completing the first professional qualification.

Then there’s property. To date, owning more than 12 (some I still own, some bought and sold over the years) properties of various types I can say that I have only received a bumiputra discount once, and that was because I had bought the property from the developer at launch. All the others were secondary market purchases and did not come with any bumiputra discount whatsoever.

Land: I have never purchased, leased, owned or resided on Malay reserved land. Never.

Business: While I am essentially a career man rather than a businessman, I did, over the years, indulge in some business activities. Although not on a long-term basis. They were either turnarounds or expanding going concerns which needed momentary input from me, be it capital or expertise, with which I usually end up cashing out once they’re all up and running satisfactorily. None of those received any kind of bumiputra funding, licensing, permits or whatever.

In a nutshell, I did not receive or utilise any of the so-called privileges or ‘tongkats’, as the DAPsters (DAP leaders/members/supporters) love to call it, yet when I look around me and see how far behind, how ill-equipped, how poorly educated (by my standards) the typical run off the mill bumiputra masses are I feel that affirmative action cannot be done away with just like that, on a whim.

What we need is not the abolishment of NEP (New Economic Policy), but rather a more proper, honest and above board management of affirmative action policies. It should be given on a need basis. And as it is, the bumiputras which form the overwhelming bulk of the lower income segment need it the most.

As for the ones that have made it with the help of NEP, please don’t be greedy selfish cretins making use of your ANSARA (Maktab Rendah Sains Mara Alumni Association) or SBP (Sekolah Berasrama Penuh) contacts to secure places for your offsprings at boarding schools meant for the underprivileged, like you were decades ago. Now that you’ve somewhat ‘made it’ in your lives (by your standards) why do you still feel the need to leech off the system and get places at those schools for your kids at the expense of denying a real underprivileged kid with potential his or her place?

As always, the thing that hampers Malay progress the most isn’t DAP, but more like the Malays themselves. Especially those ‘perasan bagus tapi masih nak kaut kelebihan DEB‘ for themselves even when they’re already in upper-middle management or higher at their workplace. Woi! bagi lah anak penoreh atau petani the same privilege you had to better yourselves with.

So, like it or not, affirmative action, bumiputra-centric policies, are at the moment, still needed. If we let the Malays slip down further it will only drag the entire country down with them as the weight of the majority will do that to any nation. So use that weight of the bumiputras to push us up, not drag us down. – NMH

Ross Matnor is a NMH reader. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the NMH.

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