Latest Bumiputra economic agenda will not sideline other communities, says Zahid

PUTRAJAYA: Genuine bumiputra and non-bumiputra joint commercial ventures will be emphasised in the unity government's agenda to uplift the bumiputra community's economic status, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Deputy Prime Minister also stressed that the latest economic agenda for the bumiputra, a continuation of decades-long policies since the 1970s, will not sideline or deny the rights of other communities.

The unity government's bumiputra initiative, the Bumiputra Economic Transformation (TEB), was unveiled on Thursday (Feb 29), on the first day of the 2024 Bumiputera Economic Congress here.

"Ever since the New Economic Policy was introduced (in 1971) until today there has been economic cooperation between bumiputra and non-bumiputra," Ahmad Zahid said in his keynote address on the congress' first day.

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"But the genuineness of these relationships are questionable," said Ahmad Zahid, referring to superficial commercial tie-ups between bumiputras and non-bumiputras nicknamed "Ali-Baba".

Experts have described these relationships where certain bumiputra, the "Ali" who rent or sell business licences, permits and contracts that are meant exclusively for the community to a non-bumiputra, the "Baba".

Ahmad Zahid said the government's TEB wants to put an end to such economic ventures which are "bumiputra in name only".

"We want Ali and Baba who truly work together in business, who are managing, administering and running the business together.

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"We don't want Ali-Baba who manipulate the opportunities they are given to make quick profits," said Ahmad Zahid, adding that these ventures hampered the government's efforts to increase bumiputra control of the economy.

"These ventures also do not reflect true wealth and ownership," Ahmad Zahid said.

The government has pledged that in its efforts to end Ali-Baba practices and to implement its TEB, the rights of other communities will not be marginalised, he added.

"History has proven that all government efforts to empower the bumiputra has not sidelined any of the country's other communities. This will be the same for the Bumiputra Economic Transformation plan, the rights of other communities will be continued to be preserved," he said.

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