Kuala Lumpur, 20 April – The launch of the second edition of the Bumiputera Economic Transformation Roadmap (BETR) should be seen as an initiative to take stock of the progress made thus far in developing and empowering the Bumiputera community. It should also be an opportunity to carve out a road map towards a proud and confident future where Malaysia no longer needs race-based economic policies.

Commenting on the BETR 2.0, IDEAS Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said, “After more than 45 years of the New Economic Policy, we certainly need to evaluate and recognise how far we have progressed in bringing about development and economic opportunity to the Bumiputera community. We need to identify new baselines to work from and new targets to achieve. Policies take time to show results. Too often we are in a hurry to introduce new policies without evaluating the outcomes and impact of past and current ones.”
“The Prime Minister is right in calling for the Bumiputera community to embrace competition. Competition, and being competitive, is good and not something to be afraid of. We must not continue protectionist policies which insulate or shield Bumiputera-owned companies from competition because that will bring more harm than good.”

“To improve our standing in the regional and international markets, our products and services must be able to stand on par or be better than those of our competitors. It is not enough to be ‘jaguh kampung'”, emphasised Wan Saiful.

“We also need to gradually shift from race-based policies, and recognise that such policies have a declining relevance in a modern democracy such as Malaysia.  We need a clear target date when BETR 2.0 will end so that there is an urgency in implementing it. Without an end date, we will never know how far we have progressed and how much more need to be done.”

“Eventually we need to come to stage when all Bumiputera can stand tall and proud to say we have graduated from the assistance programme. At that time, assistance can be given based on needs, regardless of ethnicity. Then everyone will benefit.  As the Prime Minister has said, it is not a zero-sum game,” concluded Wan Saiful.   

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