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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday 21 April 2009

NEEP- New Economic Empowerment Policy


I wandered around in Kuala Terengganu. I am very familiar with Kemaman, kuala kemaman,Kerteh, Paka and kemasek. In 1973 I hitchhiked from Kuantan to KT, it took me two days to reach KT. I had to spend a night in Kemaman. That should be an indication to the traffic flow to KT.

I made it a point to go the roads less travelled. That is why I like to drive in my trusty 4 wheel-drive. It has taken me to places in Terengganu and Kelantan. My maternal grandparents were from Kelantan and perhaps beyond Kelantan, from Patani. My paternal grandparents were from Terengganu. Both states therefore provide me with emotional fascination and perhaps subconscious longing to feel I belonged.

Quite apart from these emotional and roots- like excursions, I am trying to discover answers on how to jack up our economy. Why Terengganu and Kelantan? Terengganu is a perfect example on how to apply excess revenues while Kelantan serves as an example on how to optimise whatever money one has. Both states are predominantly Malay, so they can provide useful control-room test results which could be used as generalisations.

Each time I never ceased to be amazed by the energy, drive and vigour of the common people. Thus, if a state remains poor and backward, its condition cannot be explained away by the lack of trying by the common people. Perhaps like Ludwig von Mises said, the fault lies with the leadership elite.

Terengganu is a good example to draw lessons on how to apply money. Oil revenues in the form of wang ehsan are equivalent to Terengganu having continuous injection of cash. It can treat that part of the revenue as a given. It is supposed to receive RM1 billion a year. So far only RM5 billion has been paid. It was supposed to receive RM7 billion. The PM handed Mat Said a cheque of RM400 million during the KT by election. That means if RM7 billion is due, another RM1.6billion is still owing to Terengganu.

Terengganu then should become one of the richest states in the country. The task of lawmakers in the state is to how to apply the money so that it can further stimulate the economy.

The task is also to avoid the Arab disease (a contextual variation of the Dutch Disease) gorging themselves with giddy spending that do not add to the productive capacity of the state or enhance the capability of its citizens. The number of poor, illiterates and disenfranchised remain large in Arab countries.

For many years, we non Arab Muslims looked at Arab Muslims with incredulity as they continue with reckless spending. We were troubled to see Arab tycoons investing in American companies or investing in American banks which end up financing the powers that are destroying the Arab world. So much for the equally much touted Pan Islamism.

The original Dutch disease of course refers to a situation where a country upon getting a windfall in the form of discovery of natural resource such as oil, sees a decline in its manufacturing capabilities, increases in its exchange rate, its exports reduced and imports escalating.

For a brief moment, you can see the Terengganuans catching up with the Arab disease. The effects of frivolous and ostentatious spending are everywhere. Huge and beautiful mosques are built everywhere even in under populated villages. You have floating and crystal mosques. Are there that many faithfuls in Terengganu? Taking as example, it will be like building a state mosque in Kampung Ubai in Pekan where the population of cows, goats and water melons is bigger than humans. Do they have enough mosque goers to fill up the mosques?

It seems to me, it would have been better to distribute the outlay for building such mosques to the local population. That would certainly place cash in their hands- money to spend and do business. That would be an immediate way to stimulate demand.

The energy and drive of the common people are clearly evident. Kemaman used to be a sleepy hollow during the days when I was schooling in Kuantan. Kuala Kemaman was selected by Ungku Aziz to produce his seminal work of poverty. It is now a thriving town where trading and business are brisk. People do all sorts of work. They want application. Save for the very old and sickly and the drug addicts, people want to work. People want to do business. They want to earn a living. That should immediately discredit the accepted explanation that Malays just want a free ride. The free riders are the elite who hide behind the questionable Bumiputera policies. Once again, I say, it's the bumi who are left behind, while the puteras surge ahead.

Just as an aside, I have been asked about the personalised usage of the term Bumiputera. I first heard about this I think sometime in 1969 or 1970. It was used by a prominent local member of PSRM then during many of his speeches. It was the first time I heard- Bumi di belakang ketinggalan, putera bangsawan, putera UMNO sapu semua di hadapan.

Where has been the concrete application of its oil money? In KT you can of course see the ostentatious symbol such as monsoon cup facilities, a few good hotels; beautiful mosques have sprung like mushrooms even in small villages. You can gaze in awe at the crystal mosque and the floating mosques and whatever. Undoubtedly these facilities are enjoyed and used by people in Terengganu and from elsewhere.

But I have also wandered to the Other Terengganu. About 30 years ago, I read a book written by Michael Harrington- the Other America. It tells about the America that's left behind – the America that's full of poverty, squalor and pessimism.

The Other Terengganu has something akin to Harrington's Other America. It can also be a tale of squalor- many lived in squalor, beaten down houses. You can even see these houses weaved in between glossy buildings and facilities.

Perhaps now, we can look at concrete steps to get out from the unNEP policies to policies that actually empower the masses economically. They will be looking at a National Economic Policy that will not be sabotaged by the little and big Napoleons and the cawangan gauleiters. Give resources to those who actually operate the economy.


Eyes Wide Open 21 April 2009 at 17:02  

thank you Dato Sak for saying something that many anti-NEP-in-its-current-form are saying.

I only hope your comments and recommendations are taken seriously. Though I am not Malay, I am as Malaysian as the next Malay and I wish them all the very best in all their honest endeavours.

TBut to see the NEP being hijacked by "the elite who hide behind the questionable Bumiputera policies" sickens me.

Even more so when such people defend their abuse with so much shrill rhetoric, saying that the Malays are weak and unable to fend for themselves. I find that an insult in the highest order upon the dignity of the Malays - as individuals and as an entire culture!

You are right to point out the elite who use the system for their own selfish ends. Perhaps you should also point out the aspiring elite who stridently propogate the "Malays are weak" doctrine to get noticed.

What does such rhetoric do for the ordinary Malays on the street?

I make it a point to buy something from the Ramly burger flippers, the nasi lemak makciks, the pisang goreng brudder (time, money and waistline permitting). And when I do, I usually chat them up to see how things go with my fellow Malaysians.

The Ramly fellas pay RM15 a day to the "landlord" for the "right" to flip burgers. The nasi lemak makciks and pisang goreng brudders are trying to make an honest living despite the constant harassment from enforcement officers of every stripe.

Ask them how they benefitted from NEP? They'll give you a funny look.

It's time the NEP helped such people instead.

For that, your NEEP has my full support!

kuldeep 21 April 2009 at 18:16  

The guys makes very nice cengal doors and windows for about one third the prices that the posh KL shops normally charge...but its difficult to order because they don't do site measurements nor instal and they do not have email or work with one got to have some knowledge and do a bit of work.

Donplaypuks® 21 April 2009 at 18:39  

Sakmomgkol AK47

You are right. The term Bumiputra came into existence after the '69 riots and formation of the NOC. It is not there in the 1957 Constitution!

I agree that the NEP minus the abuses we have seen since 1969, is a necessity to start the second wave of the development of Malaysia. And it must be applied across the board to all those caught in the poverty trap and lower-middle to low income groups.

Therein lies a problem. Who is a Bumiputra?

The Govt Statistics Department releases demographic info by groupings under Bumiputra, Chinese, Indians and Others.

Bumiputra is not a Race (because it includes Malays, Portuguese, Dutch, Iban, Kadazadusun, Aborigines, even Indian Muslims etc) while Chinese and Indians are.

This deliberately skewed info is designed to give the impression that the Malays (and therefore Muslims) constitute some 65% of the populace and is surprisingly quoted by foreign news agencies and websites who do not know of this manipulation.

If we don't get the basic parameters right, a new NEP will also not quite achieve its economic objective of a fair distribution of the economic cake and the nation's wealth!

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 19:29  

',,,,,Bumi di belakang ketinggalan, putera bangsawan, putera UMNO sapu semua di hadapan.

Well said. dato!

A thought for those choir boys.

Unfortunately, the LHC needs me and that implications have a far more conclusive impact with humanity.

So, i will be silent for a while.

Ask the choir boys, who r they when the lead singer has been silent!

Do keep writing, & engage Wenger too.


Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 22:04  

400 million doesn’t even make a billion. How can Putrajaya owe Terengganu only 1.6B when the state was promised 7B? I don't understand the maths. Was that a typo or are you using a calculator buatan Putrajaya? If not a typo, please don’t try to save money. You should get a proper calculator.

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 22:20  

You are wasting your time in UMNO.

Join DAP and bring KJ along

Peter,  21 April 2009 at 22:44  

"Terengganu then should become one of the richest states in the country. The task of lawmakers in the state is to how to apply the money so that it can further stimulate the economy."

My foot this will ever happen. Just look at those clowns now fighting for the "rights" to the money and positions.

Hahaha ... poor people the suckers.
Even drivers now running GLCs ...!!

God save the state (or country?)

Go ahead support these goons..... in the end you have to send your daughters to the slave houses of Dubai to earn a decent living.

NEP bulak.

Where do you think they can get billions with the snap of the finger? Just watch how they just announce this and that with money we dont know where they get from... or money by the millions to buy over frogs. Are these public money accounted for ?

God save us all.

Anonymous,  22 April 2009 at 02:41  

Donplaypuks, Indians are not a race either.

The term Malay as well. Does that include the 200m people in Indonesia or are they excluded?

When Najib mentioned a few months ago he wanted to help Malays overseas , I though, hmmmm there are many poor just across the border who need help, no need to go so far overseas and help that girl who choose to beome a pro.

Tidak ada Melayu akan hilang di dunia.

Again, the mindset for the sentence above. Does this include the greater polity of people of Malay descent who include those is southern Thailand, Mindanao and across Indonesia.

Is the term Malay in Malaysia (which is tied to the concept of Tanah Melayu etc) simply a construct that does not allow space to be inclusive ...

Sorry a bit incoherent but my 1.5 cents worth.

may not be worthy to be posted

Anonymous,  22 April 2009 at 02:41  

Sorry, did not realise this site is not moderated

Anonymous,  22 April 2009 at 03:03  

anon 22.04
next time before you write, use your head first- the one on top of yr neck lah...
Terengganu has received 5.4b in total( 5 plus 0.4). its supposed to receive 7b. kalau dah terima 5.4, tentulah baki nya 1.6b. tak tau kira kah. mesti pas darjah 5 ni

Anonymous,  22 April 2009 at 17:04  

Dt Sak,
Sebenarnya sudah banyak hidup kita berubah,samada kita mahu mengaku atau tidak,dulu masa kita,(40tahun dulu) nak pegi sekolah pun susah, sekolah jauh2 belaka, ibu bapa kita dulu mana ade professional,kebanyakan petani,penoreh,nelayan,businessman jauh sekali,
Tetapi dengan adenye NEP, taraf hidup kita yg mahu berusaha tanpa jemu dan had masa, telah berubah banyak, maka lahirlah ramai jurutera,doktor,lawyer,akauntan,dan juga ahli perniagaan bumiputera.sekarang memang terlalu ramai.lanskap ekonomi berubah.tidak lagi satu2 bidang dikuasai bangsa lain.
Memangla untuk menjadi usahawan dan peniaga yang berjaya kita kena banyak dan pandai networking,,tak kira dengan pegawai kerajaan ataupun ahli politik,,ini memang fakta,sesiapa yang pandai mesti akan berjaya,
Keadaan ini menyebabkan bangsa lain merasa tergugat dalam serba serbi,bukan mereka susah pun, tetapi mereka rugi banyak peluang tidak dibuka kepada mereka.sebab tu mereka melalak.mereka sebenarnya mahu lebih.
Sebaliknye bumiputera mesti rajin dan pandai untuk mencari peluang2 untuk diri sendiri atau anak2 mereka untuk maju kehadapan.Sertai semua program anjuran badan kerjaan,mara,smidec,pertanian,ypu,semuanye akan membantu jika kita berusaha membantu diri kita.tetapi kalau kita mengharap bulan jatuh keriba sampai bilapun kita tidak akan senang.jika kita lebih mengutamakan emosi daripada praktikaliti sampai bila kita akan ketinggalan.jika kita sentisa mahu menyalahkan orang lain selagi itulah hidp kita tak berubah.kita yang hanya boleh mengubah nasib kita sendiri.bukan kerajaan atau umno.semua yang disediakan hanya boleh membantu.malaysia bumi bertuah ini sebenarnya senang untuk cari makan.jika kita jual warung sekali pun sediakan makanan yg sedap,berkualiti,bersih maka warung kita akan terkenal.ramai pengusaha warung berhijrah kepada restoran,banyak lagi contoh kerja yang kita boleh buat jika kita berkehendak..
malangnye ibubapa sibuk berkerja, anak lelaki leka suka menjadi mat rempit ataupun penagih.dimasa anak2 bangsa lain sibuk belajardisekolah, dipusat tuiton, mengulangkaji pelajaran anak2 kita sibuk merempit,melepak, menghisap..habis tu kita nak salah kan kerajaan anak bangsa kita tak maju.karut.sampai masa kita mengajar anak kita supaya belajar berdikari,tahu harga diri,kuatkan semangat untuk maju dan berkerja, maka dengan sendiri bangsa kita akan maju..peluang terbentang luas.rebutlah.jangan apabila peluang itu direbut oleh orang lain, kita marah kerana irihati dengan kejayaan orang.kita tuduh orang lain macam2 rasuahla, kronila,tetapi kita tidak cuba pun untuk merebut peluang tu..sebenarnya diterengganu ramai anak melayu telah berjaya dalam perniagaan, termasuk bidang kontrak,runcit,kilang perabut,kilang makanan,kilang kain batik, songket, macam2 lagi.Banyaknye berusaha dari bawah sendiri dahulu, kemudian dibantu oleh kerajaan dan badan berkanun.banyak.cuma mereka tidak bersyukur..

Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 06:49  

Is there anyway we can INCREASE the NEP number of 30% to, say, 50%? I am not sure why it is that we the malays who occupy 60% of this country, the original Tuan Tanahs of this land, demand only 30% participation in its economics.

And as for stopping NEP, thats out of the question. We should prolong it indefinitely until we see a more balanced Malaysia. 1Malaysia also inherently mean equality in wealth distribution.

Peshap Gangoooli

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