BEE and Malaysia's NEP: a comparative study

Mandla, Bulelani (2006-12)

Thesis (MA (Political Science. International Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


South Africa and Malaysia share a similar history charecterised by multi-ethnicity and similar policies in redressing their economic imbalances created by past colonial experiences. In both countries, the decolonization process left economic power with minority ethnic groups, a phenomenon that led to the exclusion of the majority of people from meaningful participation in the mainstream economy. It has been argued that in such instances minority ethnic communities often experience minority domination of the economy in ethnic terms as control of economic levers of economic power. Upon independence, Malaysia and South Africa faced the challenge of redressing the socio-economic and political imbalances. In South Africa, the government led by the African National Congress (ANC) adopted the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programme to create an inclusive economy that can meet the needs of its entire citizen. Unlike Malaysia where the economic restructuring took place in a less globalised period, South Africa’s economic restructuring occurs at a time when globalisation is at an advanced stage. This has made it difficult for the South African government to match Malaysia’s successes in redressing the economic imbalances. Also, in adopting the BEE programme the ANC government has not given enough attention to education and skills development, two elements that were key to Malaysia’s own model of economic empowerment. Strategies to address poverty have so far borne little success thus further condemning the majority of Black people to impoverished conditions. The outcome of the study suggests that in order for BEE to be successful, the ANC government has to empower the majority of black people with the necessary skills that will make them active participants in the mainstream economy. Also, a broadened empowerment process should see education, skills development and poverty alleviation become aligned to the BEE programme.

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