AFTER chairing the Bumiputera Economic Council, the prime minister proudly announced that 23 ministries have reached at least 90 per cent of their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and eight had attained 100 per cent of their performance targets.
This achievement is impressive and laudable indeed, but it begs the question, how much these Bumiputera target groups have benefited from these vast expenditures.
A large chunk of 63 per cent of the value of the annual works of ministries and government agencies was awarded to Bumiputera contractors. It is hoped that the contractors did not subcontract too much out to others.
The government needs to monitor these subcontractors, especially foreigners, who will then benefit more than the Bumiputera contractors.
Bumiputera cooperatives also benefited from a large cumulative turnover of RM31 billion. Hopefully, these funds were efficiently managed to enhance the welfare of the needy cooperatives and low-income cooperative members.
More affordable houses were built last year for Bumiputeras. More than 3,470 units were built compared with 213 in 2015.
Greater priority should be given to build affordable housing, not only for Bumiputeras, but for non-Bumiputeras as well.
The 1Malaysia Training Scheme is most useful for training Bumiputeras to find suitable employment.
But, it begs the question as to why the public universities seem to be producing so many unemployable graduates. It might be pertinent to review the curriculum and medium of instruction to ensure that we are not churning out more jobless graduates.
The Bumiputera Economic Empowerment (PEB) programme is a pillar in our overall socio-economic development planning and the foundation of the 11th Malaysia Plan.
The PEB has to be pursued energetically to achieve its KPIs.
But, we have to ensure that the funds that are generously provided by the government for Bumiputeras’ enhancement are efficiently and effectively utilised.
The government must gradually reduce the subsidies and protection given to Bumiputeras so that the latter may raise their capabilities to compete independently in the increasingly competitive and globalised world.
Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Chairman, Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies