KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — The Malay economic agenda failed to achieve its objectives due to corruption and greed, Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) president Datuk Syed Ali Alattas said today.
He said dozens of government agencies had been set up and billions of ringgit had been used to help develop the Malay economy but the Malay community was at the “lowest level of achievement.”
“What’s gone wrong? That’s what is being asked,” Syed Ali said at the Malay Economic Congress here.
“There is a lot of carelessness and not enough responsibility among leaders which caused Malays to fall behind,” he said. “Corruption and greed caused the Malay agenda to fail.”
Syed Ali said leaders needed to have a “clean heart.”
He said the Malays are now at a “crossroads” and have put their hope in the community’s leaders.
“The fate of the Malays today and the future generations will depend on the current leadership,” said Syed Ali.
He claimed that the Malays have less than 10 per cent control of the economy in terms of equity, businesses and shops.
“I am brave enough to say that there is not one shop in the centre of Johor Baru that is owned by a Malay,” he said.
The commerce chamber chief also said that programmes such as an UDA (Urban Development Authority) scheme that allocated 1,500 acres a few kilometres from Johor Baru specifically for Malays to do business should continue.
Efforts to lift the community economically have been surrounded by much controversy due to programmes that have been implemented such as race-based quotas for contracts, licences and employment.
The Najib administration has embarked on reforms to make ethnic-based affirmative action more merit based by supposedly helping only deserving Malays.
Critics of the race-based policies say that it is too open to abuse and has benefited mainly the Malay elites.