PETALING JAYA: It is not inequality among the races but institutional abuses leading to the entrenchment of a political patronage culture, government leakages and indiscriminate social handouts that are to be blamed for the inequalities.

Centre for A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) co-president Gan Ping Sieu (pix) said such abuses hamper our effort to achieve developed nation status

He pointed out that many multiracial countries, including neighbouring Singapore have achieved developed nation status.

“In those countries, racial inequality was never an issue,” Gan said in a statement today.

“Over the decades, including during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first tenure as prime minister, an ecosystem that thrives on whipping up race and religious issues had been allowed to take root. This has only created division among the people while meritocracy took a backseat.”

Gan said government leaders, past and present, have to look hard and honestly at past policies and deviations and abuses that had contributed to the disparity in economic development.

He said the government should realise that policies such as the New Economic Policy and other similar iterations had not achieved the desired results.

He said the wealth disparity within the Bumiputra community has consistently shown to be among the worst, help should be accorded to all disadvantaged groups, regardless of race and religion.

Gan said we need to focus on access to technology, enhancing our education system and ensuring equitable access to opportunities for our youths.

He said Malaysia is a nation with links to major world civilisations, hence our “Malaysia Truly Asia” reputation, and that we should capitalise on our rich diversity and strength instead of embarking on race bigotry and the blame game.

Mahathir during the monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department said racial inequality was a major roadblock to achieving developed nation status for Malaysia.

He said if there is disparity between races due to their achievements and developments and if they reflect their achievements, then our country will not be safe because the separation between the rich and poor would be a problem.