Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced in Parliament on Monday that a government measure will soon be introduced, stating the sale of bumiputera shares or companies will only be offered and sold to fellow bumiputera consortiums, firms and individuals.
This framework is part of the government’s bidding to further empower the community under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
“This step is to improve the implementation of the bumiputera agenda with good governance. A bumiputera development action framework will be announced at the end of this year.
“This will detail some of the key initiatives to achieve the goal of improving the socio-economic status of this group,” he said.
As many of us have taken notice, not everyone was in agreement with this agenda.
Many have taken to their social media to protest the ruling and made claims that it was unjust and made at the expense of other Malaysians.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim shared his take during the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday and said the 12MP gives an impression that the government is denying the rights of those from other races.
“I remember when I was studying, we had a dialogue with (former premier) Tun Abdul Razak Hussein who said ‘we will do whatever it takes to elevate the Malays and bumiputera but we will not block or take away the rights of other citizens’.
“Such an approach was done back in 1971 and it only led to social mobility success where for example, children from poor families were given education opportunity.
“But, when it comes to the equity (ownership), if we look at our history, it only benefited several crony companies.”
“All races must be given the necessary space which means a new approach is needed. Don’t simply follow old methods,” he said when debating the 12MP.
Syed Saddiq took a stand as well and said that it was unfair to take away equity from non-bumiputeras, referencing that 45.5 percent of equity is foreign-owned and are given bumiputera exemptions.
“The government’s solution (to increase bumiputera equity) is to take equity from non-bumiputera Malaysians and to give it to bumiputeras.”
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He accuses the plan of being a guise to benefit said “cronies” and the rich, by using the bumiputera as an excuse.
“Where is the fairness? We prioritise foreigners more than our very own Malaysians because they (non-bumiputeras) were not born Malay and Muslim.”
The scheme also involves plans to require local freight-forwarders to have 51 percent bumiputera ownership if they wanted to be involved in international services.
The Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders (FMFF) protested the ruling because it would pose a challenge to purpose fully seek out bumiputera companies that want to purchase freight-forwarding shares.
The 12MP would put local companies at a disadvantage, as some depict this to be a forced agenda for owners to seek out bumiputera to take over majority of the ownership, just so their business could stay afloat.
Following these events, implementation of the rule for freight forwarders has now been postponed to the end of 2022, pending a review.