When the PM first announced that he would be announcing some measures to address the Bumiputra economic agenda recently, I wasn't too excited as I have often been disappointed with his decisions in the past.
His decisions in the past have been proven to be Bumiputra-unfriendly and he has spent the larger part of his time as Prime Minister pandering to the demands of the louder non-Bumiputra groups that despite all the groveling that he did, they showed him what they really think of him and his efforts by supporting the Pakatan en masse during GE13.
So this time around, I am taking the attitude of wait and see, before deciding whether this time it is a sincere effort to uplift the poor, or just another gimmick to garner support before the Umno General Assembly.
Finally I get to see Najib's speech text at Annie's, a bit too long to digest immediately, though, so I need time to see what he has to offer the Malays and Bumiputra in the form of economic empowerment.
It is good that PM Najib acknowledged early on that BN won because of Malay and Bumiputra support. It is a sign that he knows whose welfare he should pay attention to as head of the BN coalition.
It is also good that he noted that Bumiputra represent almost 68% of the Malaysian population, forming the majority despite their voice being hardly heard in the din created by the minority groups.
It is interesting that he did not elaborate about how his Model Ekonomi Baru was initially devoid of the Bumiputra agenda, and how he then qualified the meritocracy in Rancangan Malaysia Ke10 as meritocracy with respect to competition among Bumiputra. Heh ... good one there .. so the meritocracy is just among Bumiputra ...
For me, I think the most significant part of the whole thing is where Bumiputra-engagement, in various forms, is included as part of Heads of GLCs' KPI, and the setting up of a materials supply chain for Bumiputra businesses. The rest isn't particularly exciting to me, not even the ASB2 if its going to be managed the same way as ASN and ASB.
The role of GLCs in nurturing Bumiputra enterprises is such an important part of the Bumiputra economic development mechanism as it provides opportunities for Bumiputra organisations to gain the much needed experience and networking to compete effectively while creating job opportunities for the Bumiputra workforce.
There is no point in training, re-skilling or even marketing our Bumiputra human capital if we cannot develop organisations willing to employ them at their market value.
Hopefully these Bumiputra organisations will prove that despite our Bumiputra graduates' lack of command of the English language, as is claimed by so many people to be the reason why they are unemployable, they can excel in their jobs, given the opportunity and support.
The proposed supply chain to assist Bumiputra businesses to be more competitive is also something to look forward to as cost of supplies has been a major stumbling block for Bumiputra businesses to compete effectively in the open market.
To conclude, based on my early assessment, I look forward to the implementation of these initiatives, and will be looking at how the government intend to check for abuses on the part of the enablers, i.e. the GLCs and the Ministries, to ensure that this time around, Bumiputra economic empowerment can really be achieved.