Malaysia: No end to discrimination of the Other


August 19, 2016

Malaysia: No end to discrimination of the Other

by Farouk A. Peru

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

One of the most despairing things I dread reading every year is news on how members of the rakyat are denied their rightful places at local universities.

They do everything right, tick all the boxes but when it comes to reaping the fruits of their labour, they are short changed. Instead, their rightful places are given to Bumiputera students. Those whose grades are good but not comparable to those who score stellar grades but are not of Bumiputera status. My question to my fellow Bumis is this: Can we live with ourselves while supporting this policy?

I was moved last Saturday when I read the plight of a young Indian woman. She scored straight As in her UPSR and PMR. In her SPM, she did equally well and she was also a high achiever in her extracurricular activities. Yet she was denied a place to do dentistry and was offered a place to do bio-medical engineering.

Some may say she has a lot to be grateful for and I would agree but that is hardly the point. The point is rather to ask the question: “Is she getting what she deserves?” Would she get the same offer if she was a Bumiputera?

If we are indeed practising pure meritocracy, then the only way this young woman would be denied her place is if there were other candidates with equally perfect scores and who did equally well in extracurricular activities. This is highly doubtful. What is probably the case here is that she is the victim of the racially segregating quota system. Her non-Bumi status had put her at a disadvantage.

As a Malay-Muslim, I am appalled by such policies. It is not because I do not want people of my own socio-culture to progress. Of course I do and we have over the decades. There is now a clear strata in Malay-Muslim society who are highly educated professionals and clearly above and beyond the abysmal politics of UMNO and PAS.

However, the majority of us are still clinging to the crutches to which we have acclimatised ourselves over this time. Remember the protest by UITM students when it was suggested non-Bumis be allowed entry? It is that kind of mentality that impedes Malay-Muslims from achieving further progress.

Then there is the matter of religion. As Malay-Muslims, our Islamic identity is becoming increasingly important to us.

In Malaysia, we are proud of our high place in the Islamic index. We have grand mosques and our lifestyles are becoming more and more Arabicised (or Islamised, as the priesthood would have us believe). But are segregating Bumiputera policies actually Islamic?

Let us consider the following: The Quran is replete with commands to believers to perform acts of goodness. In no less than four places (Chapter 2 Verse 83, 4/36, 6/151 and 17/23), this command is connected with the actual worship of Allah which is the main point of the Quran.

Yet, in not a single of these commands is there a pre-condition that good deeds be towards believers or even Muslims. Rather, good deeds are generally to parents (not one’s own necessarily but parents in general), near neighbours, orphans, the socially stagnant and travellers.

Not only that, there is an entire chapter of the Quran (Chapter 83, Al-Muthaffifeen) which is dedicated to the event in which all our deeds is accounted for. The eponymous “muthaffifeen” is a unique word used only once in the first verse of this chapter.

It refers to people who extract a particular measure of benefit but refuse to give the full measure of effort required. Needless to say, the Quran is against such an act. It tells us that we will made to pay for this sin on Judgement Day.

So while we expect non-Muslim Malaysians to contribute to the development of the nation, we refuse to give them equal rights. We will have to answer for this disparity on the day of reckoning, according to the Quran.

It is very clear from these and numerous other principles from the Quran that there is simply no justification for racialised policies. Yet, we have not even heard a peep from the Islamic priesthood about them.

While they are busy pronouncing Pokemon Go as forbidden and making sure wives submit to their husbands even while riding on camels, they are deafeningly silent on this very fundamental teaching of the Quran. I urge Malay Muslims to ask these priests at every opportunity.

Malay Muslims need to realise that these preferential policies not only hurt our relationship with the rakyat, they also compromise our religion as well as our capacity for competition. The sooner we let go of these policies, the sooner we can take our place as members of the rakyat alongside the others.

33 thoughts on “Malaysia: No end to discrimination of the Other

  1. //Malay Muslims need to realise that these preferential policies not only hurt our relationship with the rakyat.

    I would suggest it would hurt Malay Muslims themselves, and their relationship with their own Tuhan.

    For the Machiavellian Prince, a prince is no prince when there is no rakyat left for you to rule.

  2. The main cause of the problem appears to be the biased policy in almost all sectors of Government resulting in countries with little resources but practicing meritocracy advancing by leaps and bounds while countries with rich resources practicing biased policies going down in ‘development’ and losing its wealth and assets due MISMANAGEMENT-FRAUD-CORRUPTION-COLLUSION-CRONYISM-BRIBERY-KICKBACKS-NEPOTISM culture,
    FISH ROT FROM THE HEAD and SO DO COUNTRIES.

  3. I likeyour article. But again even if we begin today it will takea generation to place matters on even keel.By that time the population increasing at the rate of about 500,000 would have, based on 30 years , increased by 18,000,000. and unles the GDP doubles every 10-15 years you work out what we will be faced with.

  4. As long as the present bunch of clowns and sycophants remain as the ruling government and outsourcing its discrimination activities to the muftis, Perkasa, Isma and the likes, the racial discrimination will continue unabated. Our concern is not whether this discrimination will cease but to what further extremes it will go to.

  5. Sadly it’s just wind without rain again. A nation gets the leaders the majority of its people want or vote in. A bad tree will bare bad fruit. So do not blame the bad fruit or rotting fish head, its the BAD TREE or the inherently easily corruptible, low moral MAJORITY of national citizens that is perpetuating the rot ! The more disgusting the supporters, the more disgusting the leaders. Evil spawns more evil.

  6. sad to say that the Govt has been using this tactics to control the bumi voters, It is always the fear factor,

  7. It is no longer an option for the non-Malays to remain silent. To do so will let the status qua continue unchanged, especially the the vile racism stem from the top UMNOMelayus,. As this discriminatory treatment labels every non-Malay as a lesser human being, one way to retaliate is to show these UMNOMelayus with equal crude language. Label these Malays as uncivilized sub human bastards fit only to live in pig sty..

  8. katasayang

    Just check out the Channel News Asia surveys on racial tolerance between Malays,Chinese,Indians and others in Singapore.You will be surprise that the least racist amongst them are the Malays and others and the worse are the Singaporean Chinese who as you know consist substantially of Malaysian Chinese origin.

  9. Discipline and will are lacking in our society.
    Just look at the risks posed by terrorists in vehicles where the glasses are so dark that we cannot see who or what are inside. Exhaust pipes with no silencing are allowed to be sold and installed. Speed limits are not adhered to resulting in the roads being saturated with “Bongor”.. we are left to be jaguh kampung and there is a dearth of medals in international competitions and bomohs are engaged to enhance our chances.

  10. # Abdul Jalil/20 Aug/8:17 pm

    At least in Singapore, they are upfront about it. The results of that survey was reported in the Singapore mainstream media.

    Btw, it was not “Channel NewsAsia surveys” as such. It was a Channel NewsAsia-Institute of Policy Studies study of race relations in Singapore.

    The Singapore Sunday Times today carried a front page report “Muslim leaders call for all Islamic teachers to be registered” (http://www.straitstimes.com).

    Muis chief executive Abdul Razak Maricar: “It will be an important assurance to the community that the young get guidance on religious matters from those who are qualified to teach the religion, particularly in the context of a multi-religious Singapore.”

    Muslim leaders in Singapore have suggested that an Islamic college be set up in Singapore to produce home-grown religious leaders “who are grounded in Singapore’s unique multiracial and multi-religious society” (Sunday Times, Aug 21, 2016).

  11. Reply to Abdul Jalil

    We r talking about Malaysia here not Singapore. Stop the dumb comparison. What’s it with some of u Singaporeans n Malysians. When there’s complaint of racism in Singapore majority will point to Malaysia n say hey you have it better in Singapore stop comparing n complaining. N Malaysians do likewise. Doing this is NOT going to solve the problem of racism in both countries!!!

  12. Sarah, Capcha.

    To be non-racist is to realize one is a racist when one is indeed one. We should not defend against our attitude, unless we sincerely believe some of those being surveyed in Singapore is out to create chaos. While none of us could speak for one fifth of the world population, we individually could choose to agree or not disagree, or simply disagree to defend something that we are not so good at. I am of one who thinks we Chinese have been rather racist. Some of us because of our recent economic rise has been frankly a bit proud.

    Late last year, I have shared in Dato Din’s blog late last year suggesting Malaysia is in danger losing its’ sovereign independence. I didn’t want it to come true. But, it seems to be going that route more than ever.

    One of the big threat is indeed Chinese. Mainland China is a threat. I thank you @AJ and Singapore being frank with it. I hope more Malays in Malaysia would work Chinese in Malaysia to correct that idea. We cannot correct 1/4 of the world’s population, but the Chinese in Malaysia could and would standby the nation to build a different world.

    But, to do so, these Malays who wanted change too have to recognize one fact. Racist policy has to first go before real changes could even begin. Doing so, tactically would buy the nation time. Most importantly, it is the key to build a strong nation with a strong conscience and soul. That key is the only defense against fascism.

    @AJ thank you.

  13. There’s a difference between individual racism and institutional racism.
    Individual racism is found everywhere, but less in some countries and much worse in other countries or regions.

    In progressive countries, there are efforts to eliminate institutional racism and to pass laws to protect minority ethnic groups e.g. as in the UK. In Finland, the Swedish-speakers of the Aland Islands enjoy devolved political power, and are given special recognition. Street signs in Helsinki are in both Finnish and Swedish.

    In countries like pre-1994 apartheid South Africa and 1Malaysia, there is institutional racism.

  14. As an ex-pat, all I can say is the government needs to be less fear-based and myopic to build a true Malaysian identity. Not I am Bumi Malaysian or Chinese Malaysian or Indian Malaysian; but I am a Malaysian. Give jobs to those who are qualified and capable, not just because you’re racially qualified. I traded in my Malaysian citizenship for an Irish one decades ago. I do not get treated as a second class citizen in a country that I was not born in. I am in the one that I was. I will defend the country that has defended me. Not the one that had denied me.

  15. PKL
    Not all discriminations are unjust.India has a positive discrimination whereby the Dalits (lower caste) are allocated jobs in the government and places in universities.What is not right in Malaysia’s system it doesnt differentiate between rich and poor Bumiputras and as always the elites will exploit a whole lot more than the poor.That aside it is totally unfair to compare the old South Africa where the white elites who enjoyed all the benefits and at the same time discriminated badly the underdogs i.e the black South Africans.

  16. PKL

    An instituition is made of a certain number of individuals.If the individuals that made up the body are mostly racists than the body itself will become racist.So racism at individual or institutional level are both bad and please dont make the rationalisation that racism at individual level is acceptable.

  17. @AJ For your own people’s sake (Melayu Islam) and your own sake, take a deep breath and tell yourself it is ok to end institutional racism in your own mind’s Malaysia towards Malaysian others (Chinese, Indian, and etc). The same will have to be done in the mind of others. Else, Melayu tentu akan hilang di dunia. Most of all, dunia akan hilang. Malaysia Boleh!

  18. Australia was born out of racism . In the the 70s the country under Gough Whitlam realized its follies and embarked to bring about both institutional and attitudinal change . Today Australia is a beacon of a truly multicultural society where every one is equal in the eyes of its law even if one is a member of a visible minority. Many are still attracted to the land of fair go. Woulkd it not be great if Malaysia can learn some lessons from Australia where over 130 different language and religious groups lives in harmony, except for a few new comers.

  19. Mr Abdul Jalil

    Did I say that individual racism is acceptable ?
    Please do not put words in my mouth, thank you.
    (Individual racism is also not good for the racist person’s mental health. Imagine walking down the street and feeling hatred toward people whom you don’t even know personally just because they belong to a particular ethnic group or religious group).

    It appears you are unclear about the term “institutional racism” as used in the social sciences. Here is a definition of “institutional racism” from a professor named Vernellia Randall

    “Racism is both overt and covert, and it takes three closely related forms: individual, institutional, and systemic. Individual racism consists of overt acts by individuals that cause death, injury, destruction of property, or denial of services or opportunity. Institutional racism is more subtle but no less destructive. Institutional racism involves polices, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities. Systemic racism is the basis of individual and institutional racism; it is the value system that is embedded in a society that supports and allows discrimination”.

  20. Mr Abdul Jalil says

    “PKL. Not all discriminations are unjust.India has a positive discrimination whereby the Dalits (lower caste) are allocated jobs in the government and places in universities.What is not right in Malaysia’s system it doesnt differentiate between rich and poor Bumiputras and as always the elites will exploit a whole lot more than the poor.That aside it is totally unfair to compare the old South Africa where the white elites who enjoyed all the benefits and at the same time discriminated badly the underdogs i.e the black South Africans”.

    My reply:

    1. It is good to see that you do not think it is “right” that rich Bumiputras
    should be benefiting from positive discrimination (UK term) or affirmative action (US term).

    2. We moderate leftists have always argued that affirmative action should be on the basis of class (poor people) and not ethnicity (“race”). Affirmative action on the basis of class will benefit disadvantaged people from all ethnic groups in Malaysia. This means that poor Hindu Indians from the estates and poor Chinese from the New Villages as well as poor Malays from the kampungs will also benefit.

    3. Comparing institutional racism (defined as “polices, practices, and procedures of institutions that have a disproportionately negative effect on racial minorities’ access to and quality of goods, services, and opportunities”) in apartheid South Africa and in 1Malaysia is not as unfair as you think.

    Just to take 3 examples – education and jobs and housing

    Education in apartheid South Africa: gross underfunding of schools where black South Africans are the students. Overcrowded schools.
    Education in 1Malaysia : gross underfunding of SRJK schools. Overcrowded SRJK schools. (Note that Chinese-Malaysian parents put their children in SRJK schools because of quality teaching and discipline considerations above all)

    Jobs in apartheid South Africa : blacks kept out of desirable jobs in both the public and private sectors. Whites hold the best jobs, even if there are better qualified blacks around.
    Jobs in 1Malaysia : non-Bumiputra discriminated against in hiring (and especially promotion) in public sector jobs. Even if there are better qualified non-Bumi around, they don’t get promoted into most of the top civil service jobs.

    Housing in 1Malaysia : the infamous “Bumiputra discount”, regardless of whether the house is a basic house or a high end house. In 1Malaysia, as a capitalist economy, this translates into non-Bumi neighbours de facto subsidising the purchase price of their Bumi neighbours, since developers are not likely to take a loss when selling their houses to the public.
    Neglect of New Villages in terms of providing them with public services.

    Housing in apartheid South Africa:
    Neglect of black residential areas in terms of providing them with public services.

    http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:578181/FULLTEXT01.pdf

  21. Eh wait wait wait. So the indian student should get into dentistry and bio medical engineering is a lesser degree? She should be grateful she has a place to finish a degree

    If there were2000 places for dentistry and 2000 other better candidates, is she really denied a place or just was a competitive program?

    Sometimes i feel people regardless of race feel entitled.

  22. THIS group is Najib’s own personal political machinery. THEY EVEN TALK LIKE NAJIB – Doublespeak that is completely contradict itself. NOW WE HAVE ENTIRE GROUPS, the numbers in the thousands picking up the nonsensical habit and practises of Najib – these people will rise up the ranks of UMNO and power unless Najib is punished. Najib is trying to sell the idea that his lies and theft will be the exception, no one else will do what he has done but the truth is what he has done is being perpetuated will get much worst in the future.

  23. Phua Kai Lit, than you for the succinct explanation of the two kinds of racism. The third kind is discriminatory racism that is embodied in legislation as extensively practiced in Malaysia. This is not to be confused with discrimination for positive outcome for disfranchised and disadvantaged minorities who has no power over the distribution and control of national wealth and its resources.

  24. Differences between South Africa’s aparthied system and Malaysia

    1.Blacks live in segregated areas with poor infrastructures and ramshackle houses.
    Chinese live in the best neighbourhoods and own most of the expensive houses in Malaysia.
    2.Black South Africans earned peanuts compared to the White South Africans.
    Malaysian Chinese average households incomebis currently double that of the natives in Malaysia
    3.The average life expectancy of blacks in South Africa were much lower than the Whites.
    Malaysian Chinese have the highest life expectancies among all the races in Malaysia especiall female Malaysian Chinese.Indeed more tha 90% of Malaysian citizens above the age of 100 consist of Chinese.
    4The black South African had limited civil and political rights though they were the majority in the country.
    Malaysian Chinese have full civil and political rights.Indeed they can play the role of kingmaker in Malaysia right now.
    5.The black South Africans have limited educational opportunities and form a small number of the professional groups.
    The Chinese and Indians have a much higher educational achievements in Malaysia compare to the natives despite the discriminations in the public universities because we do have a substantial number of private colleges and universities and because of the higher household incomes the Non Bumis are more likely to be able to afford to go to foreign universities.
    If we continue to cry for meritocracy sooner or later the gap between the races will grow unabated and the result will be May13.Even in developed countries the increasing disparity from the top 10% and the rest of the populationa will end up with several more French Revolutions in the coming future,Our insatiable greed in the name of meritocracy will be our own undoings.

  25. @Ikram,
    //If there were 2000 places for dentistry and 2000 other better candidates, is she really denied a place or just was a competitive program?

    Exactly. Be transparent, and list out the 2000 other better candidates to see if it is exactly what you have mentioned. Given past experience, there is no reason there is no bias in the race factor, discounting the fact that 60% of the 2000 seats were to be reserved for Bumiputera as stipulated by law.

    Are there really 800 better candidates than the top grade Indian student to qualify for the dentistry position?

  26. AJ @ “If we continue to cry for meritocracy sooner or later the gap between the races will grow unabated and the result will be May13.”

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    Iconic dates used by politicians to justify their means to an end.
    9/11 is used time and again for US atrocities around the world.
    The use of drones to kill from afar is not a war, it is a war crime.
    It does not matter that it is a war crime because 9/11 must not happen again.

    Likewise, UMNO have been using May13 to justify the use of NEP for 45 years.
    It is the perfect example what Institutional racism is and even though it has not worked, it has done its job of reminding us that without it, May13 will follow.

    The fear of another May13 will lead Malaysia into the abyss.

  27. Apartheid may have been practiced in all countries-communities-races-religions-societies since time began. Only difference may be the type and degree. The objective of apartheid may be to divide the people.
    * The Europeans practiced based on color of skin as in S. Africa North/Central and South Americas-.Australia-Mid-East and East Asia-and other countries.
    [The Rulers were earlier under the influence of the Religious leaders who used ‘Crusaders’ to spread religion and their power].
    * Indian society had its four categories which are Brahmins [Educated and religious]-Warriors [Rulers who were there to defend and under the influence of the Brahmins]-Traders [To pay taxes on their commercial activities] and Workers [for manual labor such as farmers-cleaners-servants and mainly ‘untouchables’].
    * Professional Organizations who have their exclusive clubs.
    * Sikhs are supposed to belong to one group but even this is still divided by castes and other modes.
    * Religions are supposed to unite and promote peace yet there is great amount of ‘apartheid’ even among the same religions but the violence and killing by followers in the name of their respective Almighty appears to be highest in history.
    FINALLY MOST GOVERNMENTS ARE DIVIDED BETWEEN ‘RULERS’ AND ‘OPPOSITION’ AND BOTH ASPIRE TO GET THE ‘POWER TO PLUNDER THE WEALTH OF THE COUNTRIES WHICH THEY WANT TO RULE’.

    Apartheid and Racism and Divicism have always been there and will always be there and people have no choice but to learn to adjust with it.
    Give two persons a million ringgit each and within a short span of time one will become rich and the other poor and then the poor will blame the rich but not own life style and habits.

  28. Apartheid may have been practiced in all countries-communities-races-religions-societies since time began. Only difference may be the type and degree. The objective of apartheid may be to divide the people.
    * The Europeans practiced based on color of skin as in S. Africa North/Central and South Americas-.Australia-Mid-East and East Asia-and other countries.
    [The Rulers were earlier under the influence of the Religious leaders who used ‘Crusaders’ to spread religion and their power].
    * Indian society had its four categories which are Brahmins [Educated and religious]-Warriors [Rulers who were there to defend and under the influence of the Brahmins]-Traders [To pay taxes on their commercial activities] and Workers [for manual labor such as farmers-cleaners-servants and mainly ‘untouchables’].
    * Professional Organizations who have their exclusive clubs.
    * Sikhs are supposed to belong to one group but even this is still divided by castes and other modes.
    * Religions are supposed to unite and promote peace yet there is great amount of ‘apartheid’ even among the same religions but the violence and killing by followers in the name of their respective Almighty appears to be highest in history.
    FINALLY MOST GOVERNMENTS ARE DIVIDED BETWEEN ‘RULERS’ AND ‘OPPOSITION’ AND BOTH ASPIRE TO GET THE ‘POWER TO PLUNDER THE WEALTH OF THE COUNTRIES WHICH THEY WANT TO RULE’.

    Apartheid and Racism and Divicism have always been there and will always be there and people have no choice but to learn to adjust with it.
    Give two persons a million ringgit each and within a short span of time one will become rich and the other poor and then the poor will blame the rich but not own life style and habits.

  29. Sorry for the interjection on my part. Positive discrimination (via affirmative action ) , whether justified or not , I have no idea , yes no clue at all ……all the Malaysian experts on this , are well versed with the mechanics of HOW to achieve it is of course left to their expertise.

    The pertinent Question that should be addressed is : What were the precedents, antecedent of history , and evolution of the ” Malaysian ‘ race up to the present ?

    It is clear that it was indeed the Question of the Socio-economic ‘poverty ‘ of the Malays , including the Muslims themselves all over the Globe which has impoverished the Islamic community everywhere , to my mind , is the ‘chief cause ‘ or justification for such positive discrimination through affirmative action , is no doubt the answer ( at least , seen through the eye=lenses of those holding the Political power of leverage ) –

    Adjunct to that, the most important Question is : Why have the global Muslim communities failed in whatever efforts they have tried, including the methodology of their political leverage,, to have FAILED in their efforts to uplift themselves from Poverty everywhere ?

    Problem is, Muslims themselves do not want to admit it OF THEIR OWN SHORT-COMINGS……They have FAILED to address of their short-comings in the field of the Sciences , which they have ALL neglected for 200 years, and have NO CLUE on the various Technological advancements achieved by Non-Muslims all the world over, chiefly the West……

    HENCE, Muslims themselves have become Frustrated (and angry ) to their own selves, and NOW taking out their anger against Non-Muslims…..

    MUSLIMS MUST ENGAGE UPON THEIR OWN CONSCIENCE TO FIND PEACE WITH THEMSELVES & TO THE WORLD AT LARGE…..(through Scientific & Economic Advancement , and do the Worship in our own PRIVATE time or Enclave ) …… Peace……. ! !

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