Malay businessmen give Najib thumbs-up for Bumi economic agenda
KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — The Najib administration has done enough to safeguard Bumiputera interests and businesses, the Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMM) said today.
The country’s biggest Malay business organisation gave Datuk Seri Najib Razak a stamp of approval, saying that they could see the prime minister had not “abandoned” the Bumiputera agenda despite taking steps to liberalise the economy.
“We are thankful with what the government is doing to improve the Malay economy. For several years now, they (the government) have fought and not neglected the Malays.
“Although the (government’s) methodology may be different but for me it is normal,” Federal Territories DPMM chairman Datuk Syed Amin Al-Jeffri (picture) told reporters today.
He said DPMM leaders were in agreement that there was a need to approach the Bumiputera agenda “differently”.
“The situation of the Malay race then and now is different, the needs have changed,” said Syed Amin.
He said today’s generation of Malays are “well-poised” and educated and could withstand “challenges”, but at the same time stressed that “strategic assistance” from the government was still necessary.
“The generation X and Y of Malays are well-posed, educated... but they just need to be given an impetus... a push.
“The issue is where do they (Malays) go from here. That is why we have organisations such as the United Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM)... We also have PUNB (Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad), so many different types of bodies,” said the DPMM leader.
Prime Minister Najib has reaffirmed his commitment to a plan for Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Khazanah Nasional to each yield five non-core businesses to Bumiputera firms as part of efforts to grow the community’s participation in the economy.
In February, the prime minister announced the that 10 government-linked entities will be divested to “worthy” Bumiputera owners, raising concerns from across the political divide that the move mirrors the failed Mahathir-era plan to groom Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the 1990s.
Last year, Khazanah made a total of eight divestments, which brought in proceeds of RM7.7 billion and helped to push the company’s profit before tax for the full year to RM5.3 billion from RM3 billion in 2010.
Key divestments included the sale of its 32 per cent stake in Pos Malaysia to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary’s DRB-Hicom Bhd for RM622.8 million and the complete privatisation of PLUS Bhd through a joint acquisition by UEM Group Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
In January, Khazanah also announced the sale of its 42.7 per cent stake in national carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd to DRB-Hicom, which is controlled by Malaysia’s richest Malay, for RM1.3 billion.