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Economy 101: So, What Is New in NEM? Part 2

education Bakri Musa NEM

(Dr Bakri Musa’s posts have always been interesting and thought-provoking all the time and he did not waste time demolishing the foundation of the fresh-baked NEM. Image source:

For those who have not read M Bakri Musa’s excellent post on NEM titled “NEM and NEP – Only One Letter Different!” you should give it a serious read – it is interesting and thought-provoking.

NEM is as I mentioned earlier still in its infant stage.

We do not know what the final product will look like. Will it end up as the same as the old lopsided and outdated policies that it is replacing (that we might as well call NEP 3)? Or will it be a revolutionary policy that is going to change the face of Malaysia forever?

Whatever NEM is going to turn out to be, the learned Bakri Musa however sighted glaring flaws and commented:-

On a general level, this report suffers from three glaring conceptual flaws.

One, it fails to recognize that the bane of past policies is in their implementation.

Two, it ignores the major role culture plays in the successful execution of any economic initiative.

And three, there is no attempt at learning from the successes and failures of earlier policies.

On the glaring flaws, I am sure the members of NEAC who formulated the model have looked into the past and have tried to “plug” the leakages in this new model. But then again, it should not carry these flaws into the final report and execution.

Bakri Musa also warns Pakatan Rakyat and others who opposes the new model:-

The current report is silent on how this “public input” would come about. Before deluding ourselves that we could participate in robust public debates, let me intrude a cautionary note. Acknowledging that there will be opposition, the report urges the government to take “prompt action when resistance is encountered.”

You can be assured that those UMNO-Putras and others glutton on the NEP-spawned patronage system would be spared this “prompt action.” They as well as the Perkasa boys can continue with their shrill voices opposing NEM.

For Pakatan folks and others however, be warned!

On the issue of corruption, considering that many people consider the MACC as ineffective and after Teoh Beng Hock’s death, as a mere pawn to those who walk along the corridors of power, the mention of “zero tolerance for corruption” was nothing but a laughable attempt to make things looking rosy on a piece of paper than in reality.

As many who labelled NEM’s call for “zero tolerance for corruption” as a waste of time and breath, Bakri Musa echoes the same when he said:-

Corruption will not be dented – much less ended – merely with the report blandly declaring “zero tolerance” for it.

Make the Anti Corruption Commission independent, answerable only to Parliament or the King, and appoint a seasoned professional to head it.

If you cannot find a native, recruit from the FBI or Scotland Yard.

That one move would more effectively curb corruption and improve our institutions than all the KPIs, National Integrity Institutes, and NEM’s and others’ declarations of “zero tolerance.”

It would also be considerably cheaper.

For those who will be writing the details of NEM in the coming months and those who will be implementing it in the coming years, be mindful of what Bakri Musa has said:-

Rest assured that if NEM were to offer rotten meat as NEP did, NEM will too get its share of maggots.

And when that happens, despite Najib’s fears and calls, we will back to square one – the status quo.

Read Bakri Musa’s post in full – very interesting pointers from the US-based Malaysian surgeon.

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