Najib first 100 days in office has brought some positive results.His popularity soars to 65 percent from the low 42 percent when he first took office. His most popular move was the liberalisation and dismantling of some of the NEP requirements in certain sectors of the economy with a view of capturing FDIs that have detoured to other more attractive locations and at the same time boost domestic investments.The move is also good for local non-bumiputra businessmen, majority Chinese who now can have a more relax regime of doing business and broader scope of investment opportunities.
The abolition of the 30 percent equity reserved for bumiputra for IPO (Initial Public Offering) was probably the best of all actions taken so far by Najib. This allocation for bumiputra is one of the ingredients in the recipe of spoiling the bumiputras and the failure of the NEP.Those allotted with such windfall would dispose of the shares rather quickly to cash in on the quick and easy money.Given the opportunity who wouldn't. Malaysian public companies are not famously known for declaring cash or script dividends to its shareholders.Only those in the blue chip category are safe haven for long term investors. Long term investment in many Malaysian listed companies is like putting your money on the roulette table.
Like many other things given to bumiputras to expand their share of the economic cake majority would eventually end up in the China man's hand.The selling of these shares by government agencies and individuals was one of the reasons for the failure of the NEP to achieve its target of 30 percent equity.This is Najib first step telling the bumiputras that there would be no more of this type of largesse.
The next step is to reduce the number of AP for import of cars.A review of all bumiputras given the APs to determine whether they genuinely carry on the business themselves or not should be done.Cancel those who don't.But don't be fooled by what you see.Some have found loophole by selling the company to China man and become nominee and proxy of the China man.They get paid for every AP they get and are given a comfortable office in the company to make it appears that they are running the operation.
Overall his reforms for the economy thus far has been well received by the business community and he must personally see to it that its implementation is true to the word and not make the same mistake that Abdullah made by not having a monitoring system to keep him informed.Likewise, a failed promise would be a political disaster.
The only thing that is cause for concern in his new policy is the Federal government giving guarantee to corporations to raise funds in the bond market.It is not yet clear whether this is for GLCs only or include private and public corporations and whether the issuance is for domestic market only or both domestic and international.The other bad aspect, if there were no transparency, is the use of this facility by those in power to guarantee crony companies.Najib should insist on stringent rules, conditions and monitoring to avoid abuses.
So far so good, he has proved the skeptics wrong, but too early to say things wouldn't change.The situation is still fluid and the journey is still long,winding and dangerous, one wrong step could cause everything to come tumbling down.
The opposition is ever ready to slaughter his reputation, more so now, after his popularity soars that is not good news for the oppositions.
Najib is not out of the wood yet, he has plenty to do to shift the supports back to the BN.
Former heavyweighs like Mahathir and Razaleigh should give him moral support if they want UMNO to regain its former glory. By the same token Mahathir wasn't wrong when he said UMNO needs revamping at the top.It's about time purging of corrupt leaders be carried out to show seriousness of the talk.