KUALA LUMPUR, 30 June 2009: Measures to liberalise the economy that were announced today are positive, but do not address issues of governance or affirmative action, said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“These measures, supposedly to attract foreign investors, are good but not [comprehensive],” Anwar told a press conference in Parliament today.
“They must be coupled with affirmative action. Liberalisation must also guarantee the welfare of the poor and marginalised,” Anwar said, adding that such affirmative action should be based on need rather than race.
Anwar was responding to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak‘s announcement today of economic liberalisation that would slash New Economic Policy (NEP)-era policies that allow positive discrimination for bumiputeras.
Anwar also criticised the announcement as it did not propose measures to ensure better governance.
“If this is not corrected, it will not attract investors,” Anwar warned, a reference to Malaysia’s reputation for endemic corruption.
Speculating on the motives for the liberalisation, Anwar described them as “political”.
“These are nice pronouncements for non-Malay [Malaysians],” Anwar, who was finance minister under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration, said.