PETALING JAYA: Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has said that the government’s “Malay first” policy has backfired, creating a race that is more greedy, intolerant and abusive of others.
He traced racial discrimination back to the NEP (New Economic Policy) that came about after the racial riots of May 1969, and noted that it was something “rooted in good intentions” but which “morphed into entitlements for the Malays”.
Describing racial and religious discrimination as “repulsive to the human conscience”, Zaid also said it had adversely affected our national unity and prosperity.
“All we can honestly say we have succeeded in doing is that we have created a small tier of the very wealthy and a large pool of under class,” Zaid wrote in his latest blog entry, adding that preferential policies had also created lopsided development and done nothing to change the values by which Malays lived.
“They are now more greedy than ever before; getting as much as they can from the benefits of this policy, even at the expense of other Malays.
“They are now more intolerant and abusive of others, behaving like those racial supremacists in other countries. They no longer behave like the gentlemen Malays of the past,” he said.
He noted that good governance could only come about if discriminatory policies were abolished.
“If we want the Malays and the Bumiputeras to succeed, discrimination must be taken out altogether.
“The current Malay first policy only produces weak, mediocre and corrupt leaders at all levels,” he said, adding that with more fair-minded policies, our civil service would be more capable and Malay academicians with “better credentials and reputations” would emerge, sparing the public from the likes of Ridhuan Tee.
“We have lost out on all these because we wanted so badly for Malays first, regardless of quality and ability, to run the country. This is stupidity that I have not seen anywhere else in the world,” he said.
Offering a solution, Zaid suggested legislating racial discrimination and punish those who spout racial hatred.
“It’s easier for the country to fight extremism and all prejudices, in all its forms, if the Government and the institutions are themselves not racial in outlook (and) willing to abandon the Malay first policy.”