For a long time, there has been growing concern for the need to revise or even remove the New Economic Policy that was adopted in 1971, after the May 13 infamous Riots!

YB Anwar Ibrahim  had asked for the NEP to be revised to a Needs based  rather than a Race based policy, both in content and actual implementation.

Now Tun Daim has  finally supported this major  change to a Needs based Policy! This is  important as presumably he has the full backing from our Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who is close and mostly listens to Tun Daim. 

This public shift in policy thinking will be widely and strongly  welcomed by most fair minded Malaysians of all races and religions.

This is because – 

  1.   It’s inherently unjust and immoral to discriminate against  some races because they are not Malay or Bumiputras.
  2. The Poor are poor  regardless of race and religion; and so any  separate or different treatment will create and aggravate Polarization and disunity, as it has already done so.
  3. Malaysians who are poor will lose their patriotism and sense of belonging, if they are not treated like equal citizens.  

But when can we implement this New Malaysian Economic Policy (NMEP)?

Now that Putra Jaya`s chief advisor Tun Daim has spoken, when can we see a concrete plan for its introduction and see a time schedule for implementation?

It must not be just a matter of mere public announcements and the expression of good  intentions, but without real follow up action. 

The change in our Affirmative Action Policy has  been long overdue. So now that there could be still concern as to whether the new change in economic policies will  be seriously and faithfully implemented?

If indeed these Needs based affirmative action policies, which benefit the Malays and the Bumiputras mostly, are  delayed in their adoption and distorted in their implementation, then great doubt and distrust will arise and spread across our country. 

This will be bad especially when there are rising recessionary trends all over the world  and in Malaysia too!


It is  wonderful that  both Tun Daim and YB Anwar have come out clearly to push for a Needs based Economic Policy.

It will strengthen Tun Mahathir  our Prime Minister`s “Prosperity Sharing Policy“, that he wishes to promote  in our socio economic planning.

This new Needs Based Plan must be  reflected in our Budget 2020 and the  Economic Plans that follow . 

Most importantly, there should be a Plan for Implementing  the New Malaysia Economic Policy (NMEP) that will definitely benefit the Bottom 40% of  Malaysians of all races and religions, in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sararwak ,.

Then we shall all see less Polarisation, greater  Harmony and stronger National Unity sooner rather than later!

This  Revision of the NEP will  benefit all Poor Malaysians. It will also be a fitting   salute, tribute and celebration of our 62th Merdeka at the end of  this month!

 Selamat  Hari Merdeka 62!

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam 

Chairman Asli Center of Public Policy Studies