Wednesday 17 Apr 2024
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PUTRAJAYA (Feb 29): The Bumiputera Economic Congress (KEB) 2024 is aimed at reviewing the Bumiputera economic transformation by correcting its shortcomings in terms of implementation, and not to replace the New Economic Policy (NEP).

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said this is because the congress’ main objective is to restructure the participation of Bumiputeras in the economic sector of the country in a more open and transparent manner.

“The Bumiputera economic transformation that is being highlighted as a policy to move things forward does not replace the NEP.

"Instead, this congress looks at the successes achieved, including the setting up of government agencies as a result of the first and second KEBs, and to review all the successes, failures and weaknesses, and what needs to be improved,” he said on the first day of the three-day congress here on Thursday, which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

The congress, organised by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development through Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), aims to look for new approaches and directions, and to improve the Bumiputera empowerment agenda in a fairer and inclusive manner. 

Tok Mat, as the Umno vice-president is popularly known, said that policies to empower the Bumiputera economy need to be transformed according to current developments, and keep in step with the global and digital economies, adding that the KEB 2024 is the government’s efforts to rejuvenate the Bumiputera economy, and enlarge the national economic pie, so that restructuring can be carried out transparently and openly.

Meanwhile, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that the KEB 2024 represents new preparations for Malaysians, especially the Bumiputeras, to face the challenges of a global economy in turmoil.

Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Rubiah Wang shared that the congress emphasising the Bumiputera economic transformation as its achievement had yet to meet a satisfactory target, even though economic empowerment had long been the main agenda.

She stressed that Bumiputera participation in various economic sectors, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, needs to be intensified, particularly in new areas like the development of hydrogen and algae as new energy sources in Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Mara chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said Mara, set up through the first KEB in 1965, needs to be strengthened to ensure that Bumiputera participation, ownership and control of economic sectors are enhanced. 

He said Mara had a huge ecosystem involving education, entrepreneur and economic development, as well as an annual budget of RM3.9 billion, to ensure that the resolutions from the KEB 2024 could be monitored, coordinated and assessed to ensure the success of the Bumiputera empowerment agenda.

An observer from the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Dr Tricia Yeoh said that the KEB 2024 is inclusive, as the development of the national economy does not involve the Bumiputeras only, but other minorities as well as to ensure that it would grow overall.

"The economic development of the Bumiputeras is vital, as they are the majority in the country. If they do not progress in various fields, how will the country grow and develop rapidly?” she said.

Finally, Ministry of Higher Education adviser Professor Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali said Zahid’s recommendation of empowering the Bumiputeras through the Bumiputera economic transformation policy would shed some light on the direction and approach that the government will take in the context of socio-economic justice, as well as a sustainable and prosperous country, without neglecting other races.

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