A Malay Chamber of Commerce president's scathing comment that the Umno-driven Malay agenda had failed the community is leverage for the opposition.
KUCHING: Sarawak opposition is hoping that Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia president Syed Ali Alatas’ comment at the recent Malay Economic Congress in Kuala Lumpur will open the eyes of the rural Malay communities to the political myth that “only” Barisan Nasional can help the community.
Syed Ali yesterday blamed the failure of the objectives of the BN-initiated Malay agenda on corruption and greed.
He pointed out that dozens of government agencies had been set up and billions of ringgit spent to help develop the Malay economy, but the Malay community was still at the “lowest level of achievement”.
“What went wrong?” asked Syed Ali, adding that “there is a lot of carelessness and not enough responsibility among leaders which caused Malays to fall behind”.
Commenting on Syed Ali’s statement, Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said: “With Syed Ali’s statement, I hope that the rural Malay communities will fathom and see through the political myths that only the BN will be able to help their community.
“It is only true that, after 50 years of independence, only a handful of the political elite families benefited from the economic fruits and socio-political advancements.
“And they get richer and more influential by abusing the allocations for affirmative actions and policies for their own gains.”
See, who is Batu Lintang assemblyman, added that he had just returned from visiting Beladin, Meludam and nearby villages in the Batang Lupar parliamentary constituency.
“The people there are fishermen and they are asking for lands to plant vegetables, crops and fruit trees. Previously the British government gave these fishermen land near their kampung to do some farming.
“These were not renewed and were initially given to the sister-in-law of a former assistant minister and leader of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Bolhassan Di.
“But the whole area is now owned by Tabung Haji… the government does not care for the poor,” said See, adding that plots of land have been given to those who have political links, siblings and cronies. ‘Billions did not reach the poor’ He pointed out that while Syed Ali had only focused on the Malays, there were also a substantial number of poor Ibans, Bidayuhs, Kadazans, Dusuns, Indians and Chinese families in the country.
“But what Syed Ali has revealed is that substantial sums [of money] for the implementation of affirmative actions and policies are lost in corruption and dissipation of the country’s leadership.
“The billions of ringgit simply did not reach the needy and the poor.
“In Sarawak, we need only to visit the longhouses and kampung in the coastal and interior areas to understand how neglected our rural poor and the needy folk are.
“It is an escalating predicament and not limited to Malays,” he said.