Read here full article in TMC.net News (Note: Bumiputera or "sons of soil" refers to the country's Malays.)
The Malaysian government on Friday laid out a 200 billion-ringgit ($54 billion) five-year development plan (9th Malaysia Plan -2006-2010) aimed at making Malaysia a developed nation by 2020. It aims for an average annual growth of 6.5 percent in the 2011-2020 period.
But its path to become a developed nation in 15 years is being challenged by the rise of China and India.
The 559-page report of the Ninth Malaysia Plan says:
"Malaysia is now an open trading economy participating in an extremely competitive and fast-moving global marketplace.The government's five-year plan began life in the aftermath of the 1969 racial clashes between the politically dominant-but-poorer ethnic Malays and the minority, though economically powerful, Chinese.
The opening up of China and India has changed the economic landscape dramatically for developed and developing countries alike."
But its continued emphasis on maintaining its pro-Malay policy will NOT go down well with minority groups and investors.
The report says:
"Privatization will continue to be used as a vehicle to meet the objective of increasing bumiputera equity ownership in the corporate sector. The focus of distribution programs will be expanded beyond mere equity ownership of share capital to include other aspects of wealth owners. "
The government maintains the requirement:
Former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was sacked in 1998 after a fallout with then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has condemned the policy as obsolete and corrupt, saying well-connected Malays benefit from it at the expense of other Malays, Chinese and Indians.
Anwar said recently:
"It breeds mediocrity.But to do away with the policy would be politically suicidal for Abdullah as the Malays form the bedrock of support for the ruling party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO).
It will weaken the economic base of our fabric."
Of the country's population of 26 million:
The affirmative action policy that was launched in 1971 envisaged a 30 percent Malay share of the economy in 20 years.
But 35 years on, Malay equity ownership in the corporate sector is still lagging behind.
According to the report, as in 2004, the ethnic Chinese held a 39 percent stake in the corporate sector, the Malays 18.9 percent and the Indians 1.2 percent.
The government wants to raise the Malay share of corporate equity to between 20 and 25 percent by 2010 and 30 percent by 2020, and the Indian share to 3 percent, while narrowing the income gap so that by 2010, the average Chinese earns only 50 sens more for every ringgit the Malay earns by 2010 and just 35 sens by 2020.
The poverty rate among Malays still ranks the highest at 8.3 percent in 2004, followed by the Indians at 2.9 percent and the Chinese at 0.6 percent
For every ringgit that the average Malay earns, the average Chinese gets 64 sens more and the Indian 27 sens more, the report says. One hundred sens equal 1 ringgit.
The 9th Malaysia Plan
(Note: Bumiputera or "sons of soil" refers to the country's Malays.)