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Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 20, 2013 MYT 8:20:25 AM
Sharing thoughts: Najib being interviewed by Soong at the CNBC Summit Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has defended his decision to implement economic measures to help the bumiputra community because he says much needs to be done to bridge the income gap between the different races.
Taking the example of the Chinese community, he said the bumiputra community lagged behind in terms of wealth creation and equity ownership, not only in share-holding, but also in real estate, cash and other assets.
Najib said bumiputra equity ownership of the corporate sector currently stood at 23.4%.
“The Government plans to achieve 30% in terms of bumiputra equity ownership by 2020,” he said in an interview recorded at the CNBC Summit Conference yesterday.
On Sunday, Najib announced a massive bumiputra economic empowerment agenda designed to strengthen bumiputra participation in the country’s economic development.
Najib said he believed in equitable growth.
“I believe in being fair and being inclusive. You must not forget that 67% of the population are bumiputras, and that is a vast majority.
“If the vast majority are marginalised or feel they are not getting a fair share of the country’s wealth, that might affect the country’s long-term stability,” he said.
To a question by CNBC anchor Martin Soong on why the country still needed race-based policies, Najib replied that such policies would eventually benefit non-bumiputras in the private sector because they still had control of the supply chain.
“A lot of that, if you trace the income, goes to the Chinese business community, because they are in better control of the entire supply chain.
“So, it is not right to say that our policies don’t benefit the other communities,” he said.
The CNBC Conversation with Najib will air over CNBC at 5pm today.
In a speech at another function, Najib said it was important for Malaysia to uphold laws which protected the fundamental rights of citizens and acknowledged present-day realities when enacting new laws.
“And it is crucial for the Government to act firmly against those who threaten the peace and harmony of our country, which our forefathers so painstakingly built up over the years,” he said at the Middle Temple Annual Conference 2013 here.
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