Replace affirmative action policies with Amanah plan, says Ku Li

Replace affirmative action policies with Amanah plan, says Ku Li
KUALA LUMPUR: Former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has proposed a new economic plan to replace the spirit of the New Economic Policy (NEP) for a better future of the country.

He named the plan as the National Stakeholders' Economic Action Plan or Amanah Plan.
“The plan will be the ultimate blueprint for a national effort to unite all communities, ensuring prosperity for all and achieve common direction for our beloved country," he said during his keynote address at the official launch of the economic roundtable at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), here.

He said the new plan is something that the country really needs and it will take into account the new political realities after the 2008 General Election.
He added that Amanah Plan will involve all parties without excluding anyone with a goal to have a more equitable merit-based distribution and community needs.

This will involve the promotion of good governance, transparency of policies and their efficient implementation, and the elimination of corruption and wastage in the government and the private sector.

Tengku Razaleigh explained that the implementation of the Amanah Plan also involves reform of the judicial processes to ensure the protection of the Malaysian social contract and human rights through the rule of law, and the updating of laws and legislations to meet current and future requirements and the promotion of a true democracy.

“The plan is set to regain the economy’s historical GDP growth potential of 7 to 8 per cent per annum through a New Round of Infrastructure Development in the next ten years as achieved in the 1990s.

“It will also trade the current means and instruments of social restructuring in the NEP with new horizontal equity programmes in order to achieve higher incomes for all, based on productivity, meritocracy and need, and to create an expanded middle class through a reformed education system and asset acquisition strategies that include affordable housing,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh further said the plans will have four strategic components including an Accelerated Infrastructure Development (AID) Strategy, a Human Capital Development (HCD) Strategy, an Agriculture and Industry (AI) Growth Strategy, and a Comprehensive Islamic Financial (CIF) Strategy to complement the ongoing implementation of the Financial Sector Master Plan.

He said the plan’s funding can come from many sources including rationalization of food and energy subsidies which should enable major savings by the government.

He said the national, state, and local governments face tremendous budget gaps worldwide and are, therefore, increasingly adopting Public-Private Partnership models (PPPs) as a means to provide critical infrastructure service delivery.

He added that the previous Malaysian administrations have adopted this financing model including privatization vehicles and the aborted Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) funding model but these have been marred by accusations of mismanagement and corruption due to the lack of an open tender system.

He said this coordination must be located in a central government body empowered as a one-stop decision centre to replace the current Economic Council which we can call the National Planning Commission answerable to Parliament with the EPU as its executive body. 

“We, as an economy and society, do not have much time on our side to dilly-dally and fiddle on the margins of our great national concerns,” he said, adding that leaders will have failed the mandate given to them if we are only toying with political slogans and creating myths about our development experience in the NEP and post-NEP years that do not hold up to the facts.

“We –  you and I, and every Malaysian – must renew our resolve to build a united and prosperous nation on the foundation that the founding fathers had build,” he said.

He added that only with this commitment to fundamental reform of our policies and the institutions that support them will we be able to restore the people’s trust in the government.