12MP: Bumi shares and firms will only be allowed to be sold to fellow Bumiputeras

12MP: Bumi shares and firms will only be allowed to be sold to fellow Bumiputeras
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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 27): The sale of Bumiputera shares or companies will only be offered and sold to fellow Bumiputera consortiums, firms and individuals under a soon to be introduced government measure.

Announcing this in Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the equity safety net framework is aimed at ensuring sustainable Bumiputera equity ownership.

He said the ownership and disposal of Bumiputera companies will soon be regulated by the relevant ministries and agencies.

To coordinate all these initiatives, a Bumiputera Prosperity Division will be set up with a clearer mandate and function by reassigning officers from all government ministries and agencies, Ismail Sabri said when tabling the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP) 2021-2025.

“This step is to improve the implementation of the Bumiputera agenda with good governance. A Bumiputera development action framework will be announced at the end of this year. This will detail some of the key initiatives to achieve the goal of improving the socio-economic status of this group,” he said.

Stressing that the government’s target of boosting Bumiputera corporate equity ownership to 30% has yet to be achieved, the prime minister noted that it stood at only 17.2% as of 2019.

Non-Bumiputeras controlled 25% of the corporate equity and foreign investors owned 45.5%, while the remaining 12.3% was held by nominees.

“The government is aware that a large number of Bumiputeras are still low-income and poor compared to other ethnic groups. The median income gap between Bumiputeras and Chinese further widened, to four times in 2019 compared with 1989.

 “I assure you that the Bumiputera agenda will continue to be strengthened and will not be ignored. As enshrined written in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which preserves the rights and privileges of the Malays and indigenous people, namely the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of the other races. The intention of the government is to achieve a more just and equitable socio-economic development, in line with the spirit of the Malaysian Family,” he said.

This agenda will be incorporated in the implementation of all federal policies to ensure Bumiputeras are given priority at all levels and aspects of development, he added.

To increase Bumiputera participation in economic activities, Ismail Sabri said access to and opportunities for education and human capital development, including huffaz, will be strengthened.

The government will also strengthen the resilience and sustainability of Bumiputera micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to achieve the target of 15% contribution to the gross domestic product by 2025.

This will be supported by the provision of the Bumiputera Prosperity Fund and the Express Contract Financing Scheme under Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to assist companies and contractors.

The government will also encourage the participation of more Bumiputera entrepreneurs in the digital economy, as well as industries with high-growth potential, said Ismail Sabri.

He added that the implementation of home-ownership quotas will be strengthened through closer cooperation between federal, state and local governments. 

In addition, financial aid, guidance and mentoring by financial institutions will be further expanded to assist Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

“As an initiative to further develop the Islamic economy, the concept of wakaf will be expanded as a strategy to diversify financial resources in order to finance business and increase the equity of Bumiputeras.

“In this context, more endowment instruments will be introduced, including the creation of a waqf fund at the national level to mobilize more resources for entrepreneurship and financing socio-economic development programmes. A National Wakaf Master Plan will be established to ensure more efficient wakaf management,” said Ismail Sabri.

S Kanagaraju