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theSun | WEDNESDAY JULY 1 2009 11

speak up!

thesun says

A freer economy
will benefit all
DATUK SERI Najib Abdul competitiveness of Bursa crisis”. In arguing for de-regu-
Razak is on track with what Malaysia. Foreign investors lation the government admit-
he promised to do on be- will also no longer have to ted that Malay entrepreneurs
coming prime minister three obtain approval for acquisi- had benefited from the NEP
months ago. He promised to tions and mergers. Thus, for but not the bumiputras in
free up the economy as part all intents and purposes the general. Also when the policy
of his “new economic model” FIC no longer exists. was introduced, bumiputras
reforms and yesterday he Besides freeing up the had only 2.4% ownership in
began by announcing a slew economy to compete fa- Malaysian companies but the
of changes to the stifling vourably in a changed global figure grew to about 19.4%
Foreign Investment Commit- environment with other one-and-a-half decades ago
tee, a cornerstone of the New investment-hungry countries and there it remains till today.
Economic Policy. such as India, China, Vietnam, Because it has not grown, it
FIC was meant to protect Indonesia and Thailand, the has been forcefully argued
bumiputra shareholding courageous move also con- that a new mechanism is
in businesses but much of firmed Najib’s profile as a needed. And one of them
what it did all these years reformer. In undertaking the is the setting up of Ekuiti
was to dampen foreign and reforms, he had to balance Nasional Berhad, or Equinas,
local investors’ enthusiasm. It the economic health of the a new investment institution
was a very powerful but con- country – economists have tasked with, among other
servative committee which warned the government that things, the promotion of the
oversaw all investments and the economy could contract participation of bumiputras
transactions to ensure they by as much 5% this year in the economy. It is also to
conform to the 30% bumi- – with the objections and promote genuine partnership,
putra equity requirement for fears of the community for based on a fully commercial
firms seeking public listing. which the policy was devised approach, as against the
Under the new regime decades ago. much maligned “Ali-Baba”
for doing business the 30% The liberalisation move is association.
equity ruling is dropped. necessary and timely. It has Najib said bumiputra
But Malaysian firms seeking been hailed by economists participation through Equinas
public listing will now have and one of them said that the will be based on merit. There
to offer 50% of the public “move that will put Malaysia is thus no cause for anyone
shareholding spread to in a favourable position to to be concerned as all the
bumiputra investors. Najib attract FDIs and sustain reforms seem to be designed
said the bumiputra equity domestic investments which to ensure “the greatest
condition within the public have been in the doldrums happiness for the greatest
spread will reinforce the since the 1998 Asian financial number of people.”

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Parents jittery over ‘final decision’
PARENT Action Group for Educa- ters from concerned parents, fearing
tion (PAGE) was initiated voluntarily that the ministry is embarking on
by parents in 2008 as a platform to a change of policy. In this regard,
voice the views of the largest stake- PAGE has sought an appointment
holders in the discussion on policy with the deputy prime minister to
of teaching science and maths in express the views of parents.
Foreign
English. While views of national- It is the hope of parents that their ownership
ists and politicians were clearly children will do better than them in in stock
represented, the non-political and life. Good education is the backbone
altruistic voice of parents was clearly of their successes overcoming their
firms
lacking. challenges in their time. raised
Since its set-up, PAGE has been PAGE is anxious that the decision to 70%
the vanguard championing to main- will be politically motivated as the
tain the existing policy and has been media reported that the deputy prime
pg 14
at the forefront at ministerial round- minister had met opponents of the
table discussions. PAGE had also policy. Reports also seem to show
worked closely with the Education the two deputy ministers who helm
Ministry, providing it with parents’ the ministry are not in favour of the
feedback and justifications to the existing policy notwithstanding vast
policy. It was very happy that studies ministry data showing arguments to
and statistical evidence put together the contrary.
by the ministry supported arguments We hope that the government
put forth by PAGE and was pleased will take an objective stand for the
that the policy was maintained for policy to be maintained in English in
this year. all primary and secondary schools.
Recent announcements by the
deputy prime minister saying that Datin Noor Azimah Abdul
there will be a “final decision” raise Rahim
grave concerns among parents. This Chairperson
is also shown by the numerous let- PAGE

Ripped off by illegal foggers
I REFER to “Illegal fogging danger” coerced to part with their money.
(June 30). I think it is high time Most residents in my area fell for
the authorities do something about the tactic the first time one of the
this menace. Fogging companies fogging crews came by. Many paid
frequently visit my neighbourhood for a six-month service which the
in Puchong. They usually come in foggers never fulfilled. Calls to an
a group in the evening. One or two office number on the receipt proved
men will have a fogging machine futile. The fogging proved ineffective
switched on while the others knock as mosquitoes can easily fly away
on doors. and return once the fog has settled. I
Their tactic is to do it in such a urge all house owners to be careful
way that it seems that they are sent and not fall for such scams.
by the authorities to fog the area. The authorities must ensure
They ask residents to let them in housing areas are properly fogged
for fogging and once in, they issue a regularly and effective measures
receipt and demand payment. are taken to curb illegal fogging
Usually a lump sum payment is activities.
requested for a period of either six or
12 months. They do it in such a hur- MT
ried manner and in a big group that Puchong
most people are confused and are