The unit trust scheme known as Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN) is a scheme for mobilising Malay savings for equity investment. It was launched in 1981 as a major vehicle for implementing the transfer of corporate assets held under trusteeship to the Bumiputera. Unlike BIMB and TH, ASN is aimed mainly at improving the economic conditions of the Bumiputera, especially the Malays and therefore, the ethnic aspects overshadow the religious ones. Nevertheless, as the relationship between Islam and Malayness are so intertwined, ASN has also been associated with the Islamisation package of Dr. Mahathir.

As discussed in the previous chapters, the government adopted the NEP to restructure society so that the economically backward Malays would be able to own at least 30 per cent equity in the corporate sector. Previous experience shows that the Malays were more interested in capital appreciation than in equity ownership. In other words, the shares allocated to the Malays were sold when the price went up, thus defeating the objective of the NEP. Research also indicated that when Malay shareholders sold their shares, the proceeds were used for consumption and not for investment purposes.

In order to find a more effective way of achieving the aims and aspirations of the NEP, the Government established a Working Committee in 1977 under the chairmanship of Tun Ismail Mohamed Ali. The committee drew up policies for the establishment of a Bumiputera Investment Fund. Among these were:

a) The information of a fund as a business entity with the authority to invest in all forms of investment and the authority to obtain loans;

b) The establishment of a unit trust fund to distribute these investment to the Bumiputera community

As a result, the Bumiputera Investment Foundation (BIF), or Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputera (YPB) was set up on 9 January 1978 under the Companies Act, 1965, as a company limited by guarantee. The YPB provides funds for the purpose of subscribing to shares in companies which wish to issue their shares to the Bumiputera community in compliance with the NEP. It also formulates policies and guidelines for Bumiputera equity investment participation. It has acted as a catalyst in encouraging the savings habit, developing entrepreneurship and investment skills among the Bumiputera community.

To further the YPB's objectives, in March 1978, the National Equity Corporation (NEC) or Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) was incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the foundation. PNB is a commercial organisation, managed by professionals who are responsible for selecting and operating the portfolio of shares of limited companies in Malaysia to be held in trust for subsequent sale to individual Bumiputera investors. In May 1979, National Unit Trust Limited also known as Amanah Saham Nasional Berhad (ASNB) was then incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of PNB to establish and manage a National Unit Trust (NUT) or Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN) scheme as an intermediary for the channeling of shares to the Bumiputera community .

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