The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) embarked on a research and advocacy project on Malaysia’s New Economic Policy (NEP), with the aim to revisit and reexamine the successes and shortcomings of the policy, as well as its implementation in subsequent development plans. Launched in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the NEP this year, IDEAS hopes the project will facilitate discussions to assess the policy’s relevance to Malaysia’s current development needs 50 years on, as well as delve into the difficult questions of Bumiputera identity and social cohesion. As part of the project, IDEAS commissioned three policy papers that will be launched during webinars to be held this week.
The first paper, ‘The New Economic Policy beyond 50: Assessing its strengths and weaknesses to chart a cohesive Malaysian Society’, was authored by Dr. Lee Hwok-Aun. In his paper, Dr Lee challenges us to reconsider common misconceptions surrounding the NEP in order to avoid another 50 years of polarised debates. He urges us instead to focus on the NEP’s underlying principles and enduring objectives, and reflect on the shortcomings of the policy over the past few years.