Najib Backs Ending Malay Preferences, Adopting Opponent’s View

October 27, 2008 at 17:02 Leave a comment

Najib Backs Ending Malay Preferences, Adopting Opponent’s View

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) — Malaysia’s prime minister designate Najib Razak said he’s prepared to end preferential treatment of the ethnic Malay majority, a campaign pledge the opposition used to inflict record election losses on the ruling coalition in March.

There should be a “gradual” removal of the program, initiated in 1971, and still known as the New Economic Policy, Najib said in an interview that airs today on Bloomberg Television.

“If we do not change, the people will change us,” Najib, 55, said at his office in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. “In the not-too-distant future, we will see all the elements of the New Economic Policy being replaced.” He didn’t say when that might occur.

The system was devised by Najib’s father, Abdul Razak, when he was Malaysia’s second prime minister to boost the Malays’ economic status — through job allocations, cheaper homes and other benefits — in a country where ethnic Chinese had long been more prosperous and remain so. About 65 percent of Malaysia’s 27 million people are Malay.

Rising dissatisfaction with racial politics contributed to the ruling coalition’s poor showing in the elections, which resulted in its smallest majority since Malaysia’s independence from Britain in 1957.

By offering to scrap the program, at an unspecified time, and replace it with a needs-based system, Najib is moving closer to the stance of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar, who also supports a system based on economic need, is trying to seize power but said on Oct. 22 he is finding it difficult to woo ruling coalition lawmakers to his side.

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source kicap tawar : http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aVMjnZ8s4vsU

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