Nazir: New Economic Policy in need of reform

“We needed the NEP at the time but it should not have lasted more than 20 years,” Nazir Razak said during a dialogue session earlier this week

KUALA LUMPUR: The outdated New Economic Policy (NEP) is in need of reform to address current political, economic and social situations, says Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

Other than having outrun its course, the former CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chief executive officer and chairman said the NEP had also become a source of money politics.

“We needed the NEP at the time but it should not have lasted more than 20 years,” he said during a dialogue session earlier this week that was hosted by Star Media Group Bhd adviser Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, together with veteran journalist Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar.

“To me, the NEP was truly out of control by the time it was the 1990s.”

One of the aims of the NEP, said Nazir, was to promote preferential contracts among bumiputras.

“That was what we wanted, but nobody could answer why we didn’t ask the bumiputras to compete for those contracts.

“It wasn’t contested among the bumiputras.

Nazir, who was appointed Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd chairman in April, said the NEP never became what it was initially set out to be.

“It had nothing to do with enhancing or rebalancing economies between societies. It became a political tool.”

The NEP was introduced by Nazir’s late father and second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak in 1971 after the racial riots of May 13, 1969.

The NEP had a two-pronged strategy, namely to eradicate poverty and restructure society to correct economic imbalances between the Malays and bumiputras with their Chinese and Indian counterparts.

It was to cover a period of 20 years.

Separately, Nazir said he had partnered with Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) to provide a micro loan scheme to assist individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I just launched my own personal scheme with Abim, providing zero interest, zero profit and zero fee loans for 12 to 18 months, between RM500 and RM5,000.”

Available to all Malaysians, Nazir said there will be potential partnerships with non-government organisations on the same scheme.

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