PETALING JAYA: Public policies need to be based on facts, demographics and social statistics, Bangi MP Dr Ong Kian Ming said yesterday.
The former deputy minister of international trade and industry said this is important so that we know what policies have succeeded and those which have failed in the past.
“We need to update our measures of poverty, especially urban poverty, to properly capture bumiputra households which fall into this category,” he said in a statement.
Ong pointed out that there has been significant progress made in the creation of a vibrant bumiputra middle class in Malaysia over the past decades.
He said the assumption of one particular race being a “wealthy lot”, with the majority of them living in cities and urban areas is wrong. This belief is based on the demographics some 40 years ago but much has changed since the 1980s, he added.
Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy chief executive officer Azrul Mohd Khalib agreed it is time to move away from race-based economic policies to a needs-based strategy which will target and benefit those in need rather than prioritising ethnic group development.
This includes putting an end to decades of preferential treatment given to a certain community, and addressing the income inequality that exists among all ethnic groups, he said, adding Malaysians need to stop the race-based rhetoric which pitches one against another by painting inequality as engineered and intentional.
He added such race-based arguments are outdated, erroneous and not supported at all by data or reality.
“Data from the Department of Statistics and Khazanah Research Institute’s State of Households 2018 report debunks this.”
“The study shows that Malaysians are living in different realities but the bottom 70% of deprived and modest households are made up of all ethnicities.
“We have known this for at least a decade and yet continue to allow the rhetoric to continue to create a sense of insecurity and dependency.”