We need to deal with weaknesses quickly

I refer to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir’s views in, “Making it just for all” (NST, May 30). It challenges us to think about his concerns over the economy.

His thoughts are sensitive and controversial, but necessary. I think he honestly expressed his anxieties that have hitherto been unknown. They, therefore, merit our deep consideration as they touch on “the vital cogs in the system” so not to be unjust to all.

Mukhriz responded to Shaun Tan’s essay Brain Drain in the World Bank 2011 Essay Competition. I shall comment on Mukhriz’s views.

Mukhriz states that “the basic tenet of our nation is split according to a 70:30 per cent ratio, with 30 per cent being affirmative action under the New Economy Policy (NEP) to eradicate poverty, regardless of race”.

This is, with respect, a sad misconception of the NEP. The 30 per cent refers to the second prong of the NEP, which is to do with restructuring the equity ownership in the economy, not the poverty issue on the basis of race.

Furthermore, it is not correct that “70 per cent of the economy is not affected by the NEP-type policies”. In fact, the 30 per cent equity ownership requirement has permeated through the economy for the last 40 years and still continues in various forms.

This is one reason foreign and domestic investments have been declining in our country. We need to rectify this problem as postulated in the New Economic Model. But the NEM will be undermined if we stick to the outdated ways in implementation.

It is useful to know what Mukhriz meant when he said “it pains me to see structural discrimination being practised in the private sector”.

The private sector, unlike the government sector, has to compete to survive and to make profits for its shareholders. Hence, how can it afford to discriminate against good talent and quality and capability to manufacture, innovate and market its goods and services to the world?

The government, on the other hand, has sacrificed much on merit, that is why we are losing out to our international competitors.

Mukhriz also said there was a commitment to “tackling issues one by one, and that the results may be slow”.

But I appeal to him and all those who share his views to please appreciate that time is not on our side. We need to deal with our many weaknesses across the board and not dally too long.

If we do, we will not realise the goals of the NEM, 1Malaysia and Vision 2020 on time; then that can be unjust to all Malaysians.

Article published in The New Straits Times.

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