Bumis must take charge of their future and organize for action now - Naim Mohamad
EXACTLY 132 days after Malaysians had elected the government of the day into power, the winner publicly thanked its supporters.
On Sunday, Bumiputeras were acknowledged for supporting a government which had given them peace, progress, and stability.
It was also timely that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the announcement just before flying to Sabah and Sarawak, the heartland and strength of the then Alliance, now Barisan Nasional, to inaugurate the 50th anniversary of Malaysia's formation.
When Najib propounded Gagasan 1Malaysia on Sept 16, 2010, with the objective of strengthening ethnic harmony and national unity, he must have considered it as the formula that would bring Malaysia to developed status by Jan 1, 2020.
It was a courageous and bold move, yet, misunderstood by some, who believed that it might erode the rights of the Bumiputeras in favour of liberalised policies.
History showed that when the general election was done and dusted, an overwhelming majority of Bumiputeras stood by him. Bumiputera-based parties in Sabah and Sarawak defended their bastion, while the non-Bumiputera parties crumbled.
Although not quite at the level of the May 13, 1969 tragedy, the results, nevertheless, highlighted the glaring racial divide.
The call for change is a democratic coup d'etat by others to oust the very party that had fought for the nation's independence. They were blind to the Government Transformation Programme and deaf to the Economic Transformation Programme and New Economic Model.
The raft of reforms that Najib's government had introduced, such as the abolishment of the Internal Security Act and liberalisation policies in key strategic areas, became non-issues. Their message was "change", for better or worse.
Malaysia's development is inclusive. In eradicating poverty and restructuring society under the New Economic Policy, the rights of other races were not infringed upon. We are neither apologetic, nor do we have to apologise.
Other races gained plenty from government procurements, even if the Bumiputeras were the ones who secured the jobs. The wealth was shared. Wealth-sharing is, again, being done in the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment plan and the pie will be shared.
The plan is being implemented in a growing economy, where carve-outs are executed from new projects, not past or present ones. It is only justified that the Bumiputeras, who make up the majority of the population, share the benefits and prosperity.
Bumiputera non-governmental organisations must have their own blueprints to make the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment plan a success. With the creation of Bumiputera Development Units in each ministry and the formation of the Bumiputera Economic Council, the beneficiaries or stakeholders must have a system to effect deliveries efficiently.
The Malay Consultative Council and Malay Economic Action Council must take greater responsibility in coordinating these NGOs. They must galvanise the movement to map out the implementation of the plan and assist the relevant parties to achieve their key performance indicators.
A solid agenda and communication system must be established. They should be assisted by an Intelligence Unit and a Research and Development Unit created on their own initiative. This can be funded by a special grant as a start-up and, later, financed from the revenue of the units.
Boosting Bumiputera participation and charting success should be viewed from a "womb to tomb" perspective. Steps to guide Bumiputeras through the formative years, education and even the tailoring of the investment climate need to be in place.
Nevertheless, the Bumiputeras should not depend on others. There is no excuse for them to not buck up and assume responsibility for their own future.
To plan for the future, they need to work with the ecosystem, which means interacting with other communities.
Malaysia's diversity is our strength and with that understanding, Malaysia will develop quicker. The harmony and unity among Malaysians will be the key to success.