No need to be apologetic, bumi agenda enshrined in Federal Constitution, says economist

KUALA LUMPUR: There's no need to be apologetic for championing the bumiputra agenda as it is enshrined in the Federal Constitution, says an economist.

Malaysian Inclusive Development and Advancement Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia director Tan Sri Noor Azlan Ghazali (pic) said this, adding that while there seems to be an agenda to empower the bumiputras, it tended to be seasonal.

"There is an agenda but there seems to be no proper planning. There does not seem to be a concerted plan by all the stakeholders in championing the bumiputra agenda to enable the nation to move forward.

"Participation in an economy can only happen when the bumiputras have the knowledge and the skills. For knowledge and skills to be acquired, there needs to be a proper system of education. Simply put, there is no point in getting a Rolls Royce when you do not strive to know how to drive it," said Noor Azlan.

"If 70% of the majority of the people of the country are empowered and are successful, the rest of the country would benefit as well," said Noor Azlan at the Bumiputra Economy Congress Symposium on Saturday (Feb 24).

The head of the education cluster of the congress also pointed out that bumiputras formed the majority of the population.

Speaking to about 500 participants at the symposium in conjunction with a bigger Bumiputra Economy Congress to be held from Feb 29 to March 2, Noor Azlan said that without an overall plan which gathered the big picture, there was no way to gauge if the bumiputra agenda has moved forward.

He also said that in preparing for the congress, the engagements done with the grassroots and stakeholders on the bumiputra agenda showed that the bumiputras do not know where they stand in the economy.

"As to owning the economy, one must realise that not all educated people can be entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is not about having top grades. It is a totally different thing. If we do not own the businesses, bumiputras would be forever working for others.

"We can all learn how to make coffee, but when we need the machines, we need to get it from the non-bumiputras," said Noor Azlan, pointing out the need for Bumiputras to own the eco-system to be able to own a bigger pie of the national economy.

He also said that for the country to be able to empower the bumiputras in the national economy, there needs to be a dedicated institution and secretariat to the cause.

"Mara (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) is the best institution to be made a permanent secretariat for the congress so that the resolutions of the congress can be taken forward as it has the best set of education institutions.

"However, many of the agencies handling bumiputra agenda either do not share or do not have the data on the agenda they work on.

"Years ago, the government issued circulars ordering that all ministries and agencies should be empowering the bumiputra agenda - but we have no idea if they ever did so with data," said Noor Azlan.

The Bumiputra Economy Congress 2024 will be held from Feb 29 to March 2 at the World Trade Centre and will see the participation of 5,000 stakeholders discussing various issues on how to empower the bumiputra economy.

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