Affirmative action policies shouldn't be about perpetual assistance, says Shafie

KUALA LUMPUR: Affirmative action policies by the government should be based on eliminating barriers to succeed rather than lending out perpetual assistance, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna).

Shafie disagreed with the 51% bumiputra equity ruling in freight forwarding business, saying that the government should focus instead on efforts to empower the bumiputra in the form of skills, knowledge and working capital.

"Emphasis should be placed on efforts to remove barriers to succeed, instead of having a culture of perpetual assistance," said Shafie.

"The focus must be placed on efforts to provide capital, knowledge, skill and most importantly, grit and endurance," he added.

Shafie then said that affirmative action should be based on merit and accountability. "We must not only give carrots, but we should also use the stick," he said during his speech on the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) in Parliament on Monday (Oct 4).

Shafie said many issues would arise in the 51% bumiputra equity ruling in local freight forwarding business, as only the elite and cronies would be enriched.

"Fairness in getting rewards is as important as fairness in going through hardships. This principle must be implemented in every affirmative action policy we have.

"The most important thing is that we need to monetise our country's wealth for the people and the nation, not just to enrich cronies," said Shafie.

Shafie added that affirmative action policies must be based on a "just and equitable" principle.

"This emphasis is not just to narrow income gaps between races, but also between the T20 bumiputra elite and the B40 bumiputra group," he said.

Last Tuesday (Sept 28), Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz told Parliament that a study is being carried out by the Bumiputra Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) with regard to the 51% bumiputra equity holdings in local freight forwarding companies.

Tengku Zafrul said at present, bumiputra participation in the logistics sector stood at 17.2% despite more than 30 years of the New Economic Policy to ensure 30% bumiputra participation in the economy.

Meanwhile, Shafie said the government should table periodic reports regarding its performance to the Parliament to ensure that the goals of 12MP are met.

He said that Malaysia's economy recorded a growth of 6.2% annually from 1971 till 2015 and it has decreased to 2.7% annually between 2016 to 2020.

"I suggest the government table a periodic report to Parliament regarding its RM400bil expenditure for 12MP since it is the biggest roadmap in national history," added Shafie.

Shafie said Malaysians must benefit from every program in 12MP and added that every cent spent on the latest national development roadmap must be accounted for.

"Efforts to make Malaysia a progressive and developed nation must be continued.

I am of the opinion that unity in diversity is the foundation of development," he added.

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