KUALA LUMPUR – January 30, 2019: Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has defended the remark by the prime minister labelling Malays as lazy, justifying it as being directed at those who take advantage of the system.
“We have paddy farmers, who are doing backbreaking work on a daily basis. We have fishermen, who are toiling away on the rough seas while the rest of us are lying warm in bed. Can we, in good conscience, call any of these people lazy? I think not,” said Daim during a luncheon talk at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Shah Alam.
According to Daim, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s controversial remark was specifically meant for the Malay entrepreneurial class.
“Although we have produced many good professionals, managers and executives, they are still employees. The idea of encouraging Malays to do business was to create a new generation of entrepreneurs. In this respect, we have not been particularly successful.
“It is the failure of this Malay entrepreneur class that disappoints the PM. He can only conclude that after all the help given through Mara, Perbadanan Nasional Berhad, UDA and the like, there is still no discernible Malay entrepreneurial class.
“They were given open approved permit and they sold those. They were given contracts and they subbed them out. They were given licences and they leased or sold them as well. They were given loans at attractive rates and they used the money to buy fancy cars. They were given shares and they sold those too, and then asked for more.
“When the PM says that Malays are lazy, he meant those that took advantage of all the help given, threw away the opportunities and continue asking for more,” said Daim
Daim also spoke of the historical times when Malays were on equal term with the Romans, British, Moguls and Mongols and how colonial policy had put Malays at the bottom rung of the economy.
He said UiTM, coupled with the New Economic Policy (NEP) initiatives implemented by the government in the 1970s, have brought the Bumiputeras a long way from their subjugated status under colonial rule.
“Yet today, nearly 50 years after the NEP, a vast majority of Malays still live at or below the national poverty line,” he added.
“We must ask ourselves… if we have not succeeded after nearly 50 years, where is the assurance that more of the same will produce different results?” questioned Daim.