Old NEP Wine In New BET Wineskin

BET (Bumiputera Economic Transformation), taking the cue from the New Economic Policy (NEP), may be another attempt at killing the goose that lays golden eggs!

Commentary And Analysis . . . The Bumiputera Economic Transformation (BET) takes its cue from the 1970 to 1990 National Economic Policy (NEP). The NEP, extended indefinately after 1990, was three-pronged brilliant masterstroke but observed in the breach. It isn’t clear that BET would do any better than the NEP.

The NEP created divisiveness between the beneficiaries and others and within the beneficiary group.

In retrospect, the 2nd Prong in the NEP sought Bumiputera ownership, control and management of 30 per cent of the corporate economy by 1990.

Instead, the brilliantly crafted NEP degenerated into the Finance Ministry handing over the 30 per cent in the form of “pink shares” in publicly listed firms. It was case of “cakap bukan serupa bikin” (all talk, no action) and “indah khabar dari rupa” (the news was beautiful, the reality wasn’t).

The goals in the NEP was enough, based on the words, for elevating the performance of many people left behind in this country.

Unfortunately, so much time has been lost since 1970, although NEP goals was extended indefinately. Much water has flowed under the bridge.

The rules, changed in midstream, have affected the people in so many ways which bring no benefits except for the handful in power and the hangers on.

Besides pink shares for ASN (Amanah Saham Nasional), it was mostly small group in power which benefitted and accumulated impossible wealth at the expense of the nation. The control and management aspects were never realised. The government created GLC, GLIC and state-owned firms which worked on the control and management aspects. However, not all GLC, GLIC and state-owned firms were listed.

The 1MDB IPO (initial public offering) failed before GE14 on 9 May 2018 when the Opposition stepped up Trial by Media against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The then Prime Minister was made scapegoat in the media, court of public opinion, the social media and the court of law for 1MDB’s “failure”.

The updated Code of Ethics should strive for eradicating the following media practices viz. self-censorship, censorship, denying right of reply to even the media’s own content, blocking whatsApp, blocking phone and email address, deleting comments, suspending subscription account indefinately and journalists posting derogatory comments in Blog kept by readers.

The media should not give space to those who harp on “race”, religion, clanishness, tribalism, feudalism, DNA and geographical origin.

The court, Parliament and Constitution can’t get into these elements and theology.

There are only lawmakers in Parliament.

The lawmakers, elected by majority, stand pledged on Oath for serving all without fear or favour.

NEP births BET

The 1st Prong in the NEP speaks of eliminating the identification of “race” and religion with economic functions and place of residence.

The 3rd Prong in the NEP pledged the eradication of poverty for all, irrespective of “race” and religion.

Work in Progress Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim aside, only Najib worked on the eradication of poverty. The latter preferred pumping in money directly into the pockets of those living below the poverty line.

The BET approach, announced by the unity government, takes the cue from the NEP. The NEP, for those unfamiliar, was the belated translation of Article 153. It began in 1970 i.e. after the disturbances in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on 13 May 1969. Although the NEP was extended indefinately after it ended in 1990, the 15 year sunset clause supporting Article 153 expired in 1972. Hence, Article 153 has been rendered redundant by the sunset clause ending and Article 8. In law, there can be no discrimination save as provided by law i.e. sunset clause which must have expiry date.

BET Not For Sabah and Sarawak

In delving into the NEP and BET, we have digression on Sabah and Sarawak.

The Orang Asal (original people) were mostly denied under Article 153 and the NEP. BET, as well, may not be for them. The Orang Asal in the former British Borneo and the Orang Asli in Malaya see no reason for Malay “form of identity” being included in the Bumiputera category.

In Sarawak, for example, not only have the people lost sovereignty as result of proxy government imposed since 1966, the Orang Asal, based on the make up of the civil service and economy, have been virtually denied qualifications and experience.

It’s the duty of the international community, under international law, to restore sovereignty where the people had lost it. The Saddam Hussein hanging in 2006 refers. (The people in Singapore as well have lost sovereignty since exit from Malaysia in 1965).

The situation in Sabah, although the most democractic state in Malaysia but plagued by proxy government as well, may be no better as the Orang Asal in particular lost sovereignty after Projek IC Mahathir holders were added on the electoral rolls.

Human rights advocates in Sabah, in digressing a little, want Agong’s intervention on the Projek IC Mahathir phenomenon explored by the 2013 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI). They want action taken against Tun Mahathir Mohamad for allegedly including illegal immigrants in the electoral rolls.

The NOP (notes of proceedings) from the RCI can be found in the newly-released explosive documentation, “Population Explosion And Demographic Shift In Sabah” by Dr Chong Eng Leong. The author, retired general medical surgeon, earlier produced “Lest We Forget” in 2009. It exposes Sabah’s extraordinary population growth, Project IC, and phantom voters.

Wishful Thinking

BET appears based on the unity government belabouring in the delusion, probably driven by “demons”, that it would be better this time around and/or the next time around. Hope, driven by wishful thinking, springs eternal in the human breast. Demons are signs of forms of mental illness and/or forms of insanity i.e. repeating old mistakes again and again.

Patently, government can make new mistakes but not repeat the same old mistakes again and again. That, based on the Definition, remains insanity of the highest order.

Intelligence can be defined as the ability for learning from mistakes. If old mistakes are repeated, whether repeatedly or otherwise, there’s no learning, and no increase in intelligence.

If we compare the Singapore and Malaysia governments, for example, the former unlike the latter has ability for learning from mistakes — except on sovereignty — and hence increases the intelligence level, whether by leaps and bounds or otherwise.

Singapore, falling back more on rule of law India rather than rule by law China, has conceded that it will never be innovative, being rigid society. The system swears by rote learning for producing 7A students for the civil service and government dominated and controlled economic sectors i.e. GLC, GLIC and state-owned firms.

GLC, GLIC and state-owned firms, mired inevitably in politics, corruption, incompetence and personal empire building, failed in socialist India and entered the dustbins of history.

These sectors have also failed in Malay Malaysia which avoids the brightest and best like the plague.

It has been downhill all the way in Malaysia since the 13 May 1969 disturbances in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. The ketuanan Melayu (Malay political domination and supremacy) Mantra holds centre stage. Political personality cults, based on clannishness, tribalism and feudalisation, drive radicalisation in Malaysia. The phenomenon has been brought about by the inability for abandoning “racism”, religion, and any number of ills which have no place in the Constitution, Parliament and court.

The rule of law remains the basis of the Constitution. In law, Article 8 in Malaysia, there can be no discrimination save as provided by law i.e. sunset clause with expiry date. There can be no one above the law. All are equal under the law.

Sunset Clause

Again, the sunset clause in Article 153, which facilitates the NEP, expired in 1972. Article 153, hence, has been rendered redundant although still in the books, not having been removed by the court or Parliament. In law, Article 4 in Malaysia, invalid Articles remain in the books as long as they were not removed by the court or Parliament.

It’s unlikely the government would remove Article 153 without the consent of the Conference of Rulers. The court and Parliament, Constitution or no Constitution, does not need the consent of the Conference of Rulers on Article 153. There can be no law on the matter even if there’s law.

There are also other related redundant Articles in the Constitution. These facilitating Articles include the Definition of Malay in Article 160(2) as “form of identity” based on being born or domiciled in Singapore or Malaya by Merdeka i.e. 31 August 1957. Their descendants are also Malay by “form of identity”. Form of identity evades the colour blind Constitution where there’s separation of Church and state.

Article 3 (Islam), as abberation in law, Article 152 (national language) and Order 92, Rule 1, Rules of the High Court 2012 (national language) have all been rendered redundant. Having said that, the onus remains on Parliament on Article 152. Parliament can tweak Article 152 and recognise the 40K word Bahasa Malaysia, work in progress on loanwords from local dialects and languages and English, as the official language, already being used unofficially in Parliament, the lower courts in Malaya, government, school and media. — NMH

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