Friday, June 20, 2008

Nazir Tun Razak : NEP could have ended in 1990 if implemented properly

Posted by Super Admin
Saturday, 21 June 2008

by Kevin Tan, The Edge
The New Economic Policy (NEP) could have probably ended in 1990 if it was implemented properly, said CIMB group chief executive Datuk Nazir Razak.
Lamenting that the NEP had been "bastardised" to benefit a select few through negotiated tenders, Nazir said the policy had to be prolonged because it was not properly implemented.
He said that he could not understand why privileges such as construction jobs could not be given to bumiputera contractors through a competitive bid.
"The government should have created competition among bumiputeras through a 'preferential open tender' system under the NEP," said Nazir.
"If a certain portion of the jobs are to be given to bumiputera (contractors), I can't understand why they cannot do preferential open tender limited to bumiputeras," he said during Transparency International Malaysia's (TI-M) CEO Forum entitled Transparency in Motion, which is jointly organised by TI-M and The Edge here yesterday.
"If we have implemented it properly, the NEP could have been over in 1990."
Nazir was elaborating on an answer given by the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) co-chairman Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon who said there would be more opportunities for corruption if the government had a complicated layer of red tape.
In Malaysia, the matter was further complicated by the "NEP layer" and the government had to peel these layers one by one to prevent corruption, Yong said in response to question from an audience on whether the government actually had the political will to fight corruption.
On another question if CIMB Group had a racial bias in its recruitment process, Nazir said everything in the company was based on merits except for a training programme at entry level that is for bumiputeras only. "If they make the cut after one year, they will be absorbed," he said of the trainees.
On whether his appointment as CEO in Malaysia' second largest bank is due to the position of his brother Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is the deputy prime minister, Nazir said his appointment came from the company's board of directors and that he had been with the company since 1989.
In his speech earlier, Nazir reiterated his suggestion for the government to implement "something dramatic" such as an amnesty programme to complement the proposed Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC).
He said it should look at how the Hong Kong government implemented a limited amnesty for corruption in 1977.
According to him, Hong Kong's Independent Commission for Anti-Corruption (ICAC) had decided to look into previous corruption practices, except those that had been already investigated and serious cases.
Nazir said the amnesty programme allowed everyone to move forward and to embrace the new culture without hesitation.
"It created a whole new beginning for everyone. Those who may have taken RM2 of 'duit kopi' (bribe) 20 years ago will not have the lingering fear that it will bite them back… What is important is the future, not the past. The past is gone," he added.
However, Nazir pointed out that while the past was forgotten, those pardoned were also reminded that the ICAC would "shoot to kill" if they were ever to cross the line again in the future.
Nazir also said there was a need to give more freedom to the mainstream media to help them regain their credibility as part of the efforts to fight corruption.
"We cannot control (the press) anymore because it will give more credibility to the blogs," he said, citing examples of Indonesians who were not so bothered with what posted on the Internet since their mainstream media was free.
Nevertheless, he added that there must be rules to ensure that the media would not go overboard in their reporting.
Nazir also highlighted the role of private companies setting up their own anti-corruption measures as there would "nothing to receive" if they could maintain a high standard of corporate governance.
In this area, he said the CIMB Group set up an "institutional integrity unit" to complement its audit committee. Those involved with this unit would go around the country to look for acts of corruption in the company, he added.
Nazir said Petroliam Nasional Bhd chairman Tan Sri Hassan Marican made him promise not to pay kickbacks to get business deals when CIMB was venturing overseas.
He said one or two may approach for bribes but if ignored, they would not bother the company anymore.

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