Ramasamy: DAP was never against the NEP, but its blatant abuse

Ramasamy: DAP was never against the NEP, but its blatant abuse

The NEP that was introduced in the aftermath of the 1969 racial riots was an ambitious attempt in social engineering to remove the linkage of economic function with race.

It was realised that the long term interest of plural Malaysia that the identification of race with economic function should be gradually erased so that the country could achieve balanced development.

The implicit focus was on the Malay community that not only lagged behind the economic development of the non-Malays particularly the Chinese. From a broader perspective, the NEP was an attempt to introduce an affirmative policy action to upgrade those who have left behind in development.

As an affirmative action policy, the NEP had the broad support of all the etnic communities in Malaysia including political parties such as the DAP. Affirmative action policies are not unique to Malaysia.

They have been introduced in many countries to address the socio-Economica grievances of the poor and those marginalised. Contrary to what is being mischievously peddled by Mahathir Mohammed, the DAP despite being in opposition then supported the NEP on the grounds it was an affirmative action policy.

A policy meant to redress the social and economic grievances among the poor and the neglected. It was understood that even if the social and economic problems of the Malays were not directly mentioned, the beneficiaries would be mainly Malays.

However, contrary to what was portrayed and what was implemented, it soon became clear that the NEP was not what it meant to be in the first place. By the time, Mahathir took over the post of prime minister in 1981, the NEP strayed from its original trajectory.

The policy meant for a certain period soon came to embody the narrow, sectarian and selfish interests of the Malay political and bureaucratic elite. It became a notorious vehicle for the accumulation and perpetuation of wealth of the Malay elite often in combination with the vested interests of the non-Malay capitalist class.

Why should the DAP or any other party with self respect and dignity support the NEP that became to be abused for the enrichment of the few at the expense of the large majority, both Malays and non-Malays.

The DAP was never, never against the NEP in the first place. It was under the leadership of Mahathir during his first term that the NEP strayed off its noble cause.

It was Mahathir who should be explaining why the NEP failed, what were the causes and the persons responsible for this mess. Whatever happened to the specific time for the NEP to last?

This fact has been long forgotten and today the NEP has been infamously termed as the Never Ending Policy. No where in the world has such as affirmative action policy with all its noble and sacrosanct intentions have been abused and exploited to the core to satisfy the greedy needs of those in power.

Mahathir was a central figure in the Malay power establishment that sowed the distrust of the NEP amongst Malaysians.Having done a colossal damage, Mahathir cannot turn around to point fingers at the DAP and others for the abysmal failure of the NEP.

Mahathir with his extreme egoism cannot pretend or ignore that he was not just the cause of the NEP going astray but also the failure of providing sound administration in the country. It was Mahathir who was mainly responsible for the country getting mired in the toxic politics of race and religion.

P Ramasamy is the deputy chief minister II of Penang

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online