The New Economic Policy (NEP) could have probably ended in 1990 if it was implemented properly, said CIMB group chief executive Datuk Nazir Razak.
Lamenting that the NEP had been “bastardised” to benefit a select few through negotiated tenders, Nazir said the policy had to be prolonged because it was not properly implemented.
He said that he could not understand why privileges such as construction jobs could not be given to bumiputera contractors through a competitive bid.
“The government should have created competition among bumiputeras through a ‘preferential open tender’ system under the NEP,” said Nazir.
“If a certain portion of the jobs are to be given to bumiputera (contractors), I can’t understand why they cannot do preferential open tender limited to bumiputeras,” he said during Transparency International Malaysia’s (TI-M) CEO Forum entitled Transparency in Motion, which is jointly organised by TI-M and The Edge here yesterday.
“If we have implemented it properly, the NEP could have been over in 1990.”
Nazir was elaborating on an answer given by the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) co-chairman Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon who said there would be more opportunities for corruption if the government had a complicated layer of red tape.
In Malaysia, the matter was further complicated by the “NEP layer” and the government had to peel these layers one by one to prevent corruption, Yong said in response to question from an audience on whether the government actually had the political will to fight corruption.
On another question if CIMB Group had a racial bias in its recruitment process, Nazir said everything in the company was based on merits except for a training programme at entry level that is for bumiputeras only. “If they make the cut after one year, they will be absorbed,” he said of the trainees.
Nazir also said there was a need to give more freedom to the mainstream media to help them regain their credibility as part of the efforts to fight corruption.
“We cannot control (the press) anymore because it will give more credibility to the blogs,” he said, citing examples of Indonesians who were not so bothered with what posted on the Internet since their mainstream media was free.