KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Affirmative action policies should extend from race-based to need-based, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Speaking in an exclusive interview on The CNBC Conversation last Friday (Aug 18), Anwar said if the policies were considered to be too focused on race, it would create animosity and anxiety among the people.
“It is not an issue of dismantling (Malay rights and Bumiputera privileges), it is an issue of focusing on areas which are important to them. We cannot talk about pure meritocracy between the rural heartland in Sarawak to the premier schools in Kuala Lumpur.
“I think the same argument applies (to affirmative action policies). If you focus on the issue of need, justice and fairness then we can proceed with this affirmative action policies,” he said in response to anchor Martin Soong about Malay rights, entitlement and privileges.
Taking the example of the New Economic Policy introduced by the previous government, Prime Minister said the main criticism against the policy under the former regime has been to use it to enrich the children and their families.
“I have to put an end to these excesses,” he said.
However, Anwar said if the policies are, for example, to create new entrepreneurs, to provide good quality education for the poor, then it is not only tolerable but imperative.
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