Courtesy of Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 (Bernama) — The government has been urged to empower Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and transform it into a dominant agency in an effort to improve the status and rights of the Malay entrepreneurs.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) economics and business senior fellow Datuk Salleh Majid said Mara should be placed under the Prime Minister’s Department, and given the role, authority and a huge financial allocation to restore the rights of the Malay entrepreneurs and enhance their role in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

“The agency should be empowered with the authority and responsibility to scrutinise and solve the problems faced by Malay entrepreneurs,” he said when presenting a paper entitled “The Rights and Roles of Malay Entrepreneurs Under 1Malaysia” at the Malay Entrepreneur Convention 2010 here Friday.

He said Malay entrepreneurs lost their guardian after the Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry was disbanded and the departments under its aegis were divided among eight ministries.

Salleh said efforts to create the Bumiputera Commercial and Industrial Community fizzled out under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

He urged the government to revive the 11 clusters identified for Bumiputera entrepreneurs under various ministries as only the education and human resources cluster was functioning.

The other clusters are building and construction, information and communication technology (ICT) and telecommunications, defence, aerospace, tour and travel, logistics and transportation, banking and finance, automotive, agro-based, bio-technology and bio-industry, and oil, gas and petrochemical.

Former Malaysian Airline chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman said direct government intervention through Mara in commercial activities was relevant in order to bridge the gap between Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Presenting a paper entitled “The Responsibilities and Roles of the Government in the Development of Malay Entrepreneurs and the Proposed Formation of the National Employment Institute”, he said the Mara Act 1966 should be seen as a platform for the Malays to redeem the challenges confronting them in the world business and industry.