This August 31 2017, Malaysia will be 60 years old.
A lot of things have happened since then.
Some Malaysians have done well economically.
But sadly, despite all the government efforts and help.
The Bumiputeras which include the Malays continue to lag behind economically.
What went wrong? What happened?
Lets take a look and find out why.
And see what can be done to rectify the situation.
What is the situation now?
Under the New Economic Policy and now the New Economic Model, the government has set a target that 30 percent of the country’s wealth is owned and managed by the Malays.
But sadly until now, despite the Malays making up over 60 percent of the total Malay population, the total Bumiputera owning companies in Malaysia is less than 25 percent.
Bumiputera equity in big corporations in the stock market are also less than 25 percent.
Why is this so? What more can be done?
Bumiputera must increase participation in entrepreneurship
Sunway Business School Professor of Economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said Bumiputeras must increase their participation in entrepeneurship.
Only small businesses can ensure that they have higher income than the rest of the population.
Bumiputeras with higher income will not be in the lower income group and this will greatly increase their purchasing power.
Once their income increase, their economic participation will be bigger and this will help support the country’s economy.
Bumiputera must look at the culture of innovation
Malaysians must be innovative to become successful.
Just look at Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who were ahead of their time.
They were innovating all the time and able to develop products which are liked and used by almost everyone in the world.
Now almost everybody uses the smartphone and the tab which is a product of innovation.
So to succeed, the Malays must be innovative and creative to invent products which can change the world.
Government must empower the Bumiputeras a lot more
Dr Yeah said the government has done a lot to empower the Bumiputeras.
This include giving them opportunites to do business handled by Teraju, Mara, PUNB, PNS, banks and so many more.
However, the government still own in trust a lot of assets such as Amanah Saham Bumiputera, Amanah Saham Nasional and other funds.
What the government can do is to let go a portion of the trust and allow interested rakyat to set up businesses.
This business will then make profit and able to uplift their standard of income.
Help the low income more compared to the millionaires
The government has helped lot of Bumiputeras to become millionaires.
But now, it must focus on helping the lower income to be succesful.
This is because the government all this while launch projects for the big companies.
Its benefits are not really felt by those at the bottom.
Its time to launch projects from the bottom up.
In this way, more and more Bumiputeras in the lower income group can be succesful.
Bumiputeras must reduce dependency on subsidies
One of the reasons why Bumiputeras are not succesful is that they rely too much on subsidies.
This is one of the reasons why some Bumiputeras are easily satisfied.
Bumiputeras must reduce dependency on subsidies.
The government is already reducing subsidies so that Bumiputeras can stand on their own without hoping for subsidies.
Besides, the government is already trimming its subsidies by allowing the oil price to be determined by world prices.
This will inform the rakyat that they cannot rely on subsidies anymore and everybody has to work hard.
Emulate the South Koreans
Once in the 1980s, the South Koreans were equal with Malaysia.
At that time, the economies of both countries were just starting.
However, fast forward to 2017, South Korea has overtaken Malaysia.
South Korean cars such as Hyundai and Kia are exported all over the world totalling 2-3 million units compared with Proton’s 30,000 units.
South Korea’s Samsung is among the world’s top two mobile phone companies and the country is also the world’s top largest shipmaker.
But it is still not too late and we can learn from the Koreans on how to improve the Bumiputera’s economy.