SUBANG, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- Following are Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's response to the call by Gerakan to the Economic Planning Unit to disclose the methodology used to show that the bumiputeras' share in the country's economic pie was only 18.9 per cent.
The Prime Minister made the statement when asked by reporters upon his return from performing the umrah with his family since Friday.
Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was also on hand to greet Abdullah at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base here, warned everyone against making insinuations against the government as though it was not transparent in the issue on the economic equity owned by the various races in the country.
The issue cropped up when the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) claimed that the bumiputeras owned 45 per cent of the equity in the national economy.
The claim was later refuted by the government as a study by the EPU had recorded bumiputera economic equity holding at only 18.9 per cent, which prompted ASLI to apologise and retract its report.
Question: Yesterday the Gerakan was not satisfied with the bumiputera equity which had not increased. The Gerakan wanted the government to disclose in a transparent manner the methodology used in the study on the bumiputera equity holding which is now at 18.9 per cent. Gerakan (president Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik) said something was not right about the figure as there was no continued increase since the New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced in 1970.
Prime Minister: So, he is questioning the methodology, we have no problem. We have no problem in explaining the methodology that we used. You must understand that whenever there is an economic crisis, the currency crisis in the past, terrible, everyone was hit. How many businesses, how many Malay entrepreneurs were wiped out, how many of them were saddled with enormous debts to the extent that they could not pay. So, all these affected our position. I hope the situation would keep on improving, but it was not so, every time there is an economic crisis or anything that is related to economic recession and so on, it will leave an impact.
"The government has long-term plans and during that period various things can take place. The increase in fuel prices had an adverse impact on the current efforts of the government. So, it is important for all quarters to face all these (problems) and strive to overcome them. We don't want to make wild accusations, what's the point of making insinuations, (I) don't know whether he is insinuating or not. Nothing good will be achieved. Being sarcastic will not achieve anything. Making accusations will also not bring any benefit.
"If you want an explanation, then ask nicely. What's the point of asking while making insinuations. This is not the way to achieve something positive. I make a public statement to everyone, not only people like him will ask, but others too will ask."
Question: So, Datuk Seri it looks like a group is trying to take advantage of the open attitude adopted by the present leadership.
Prime Minister: "People will take advantage whenever they can ... they will do so with an open policy, when restricted they will want to challenge demanding why (the policy) was restrictive, why there was no transparency today, why there was no freedom ... they will take advantage. It is human nature to do so.
"But we have to face the situation and we do so seriously. What's important is that whenever someone is not happy over anything, something that we can improve, we are prepared to accept their views but if the intention is to cause trouble, then we will see what happens.
Question: Is this a warning to this particular group, Datuk Seri?
Prime Minister: "To whoever it is, whoever the case may be, Malays or non-Malays, do not cause trouble; if one wants to ask properly, do so properly.
"If people do good once, we can do so 10 times over. Once you do something bad, be careful ..."
"We are already very peaceful. (If) we have problems, discuss it in an amicable manner."
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