NST Online » Frontpage2008/03/12
PM warns Lim over NEP's exclusion in Penang
Share PUTRAJAYA, Wed:
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has warned Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng not to make statements that could stoke racial tensions.
Lim, after his swearing-in as the new Penang Chief Minister on Tuesday, told reporters that the DAP-led state government would not practice the New Economic Policy. He had also said that the NEP, which was introduced in 1971 after the May 13, 1969, racial riots to eradicate poverty and restructure society, was the source of “cronyism, corruption and inefficiency.’ Abdullah said in between meetings with top civil servants at his office here that the NEP, introduced by the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, the country’s second prime minister, had in fact succeeded in increasing the size of the economic pie and had benefited everyone. “I would like to ask the DAP which community has been made poorer because of the NEP” he said. “The (Penang) state government must not try to create an atmosphere which can cause racial tensions.”
Abdullah, who is also head of Penang Umno, said the new state government in Penang should not marginalise the Malays, who are the minority in the state, and other minority groups like the Indians. “Do not marginalise the Malays. I want to ask Lim Guan Eng what are his plans for the Malays in Penang. What are his plans for the Indians in Penang. What are his plans for other minority groups in Penang” The prime minister gave an assurance that the federal government would continue to look after the lower-income groups in the state and would also continue with the special assistance programmes for the bumiputeras.