Three Viewpoints on Racial Discrimination in Malaysia

Jeff Ooi of Screenshots referenced two views on the issue of racial discrimination in Malaysia on 21 Sep 2006. I add, in part, my own below.

First View

Reuters reported Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak responding to ex-Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew’s criticism of mistreatment of the Malaysian Chinese people.

Lee expressed in a forum last week that Singapore should stand up to its bigger neighbours, Malaysia and Singapore, which are affected from this issue. He said “Our neighbours both have problems with their Chinese. They are successful. They are hard-working and therefore they are systemically marginalised.”

Najib responded by declaring that “Malaysia does not practise a policy of blocking opportunities for non-bumiputras to progress further. It’s a comment that we can do without. It is not appreciated at all.”

Second View

A Malaysian academic living in London, Sathia Varqa, presented a paper entitled “Positive Discrimination in Malaysia: Should we continue to favour the Malays?” on 21 Sep 2006.

In the paper, Varqa says that although Malaysia is generally known as a harmonious multi-racial society, the single discrimination of people by race has been and will be a “deep danger” to the success and stability of the country. Moreover, it is known the priority and benefits bestowed on the single group have been regularly brought to the media spotlight but has hardly been challenged or justified.

Varqa states three effects of such classification in the Malaysian society:

  • Creates partiality towards the racial group in commercial, political, and civil applications leading to corruption and unfair competition
  • Encourages negative behavioural ethics in the racial group in areas of work and social life resulting in lower market competitiveness, personal living standards and external stereotyping of such behaviour
  • Digresses actual need to tackle issues that concern all Malaysians such as the education system, transport system, environmental care, quality of basic amenities, crime control, corporate and government corruption, social responsibility and etiquettes, national pride and patriotism

Varqa charges the need for all Malaysians “to be bolder in our argument and constructive in our reasoning.”

My View

Malaysia and Indonesia are not the only countries suffering from racial discrimination. Many other countries have it, less choose to positively deal with it than desired. I can recommend a few good optometrists to Najib. Lee’s statement that the Chinese are compartmentalized because they are hardworking is not accurate; rather the Chinese stand out from the preferred racial group as a result of their attitude. It could have been, and very likely is, true if the hardworking people are not the Chinese, but the Indians or other races.

There are policies put in place to allow any or better opportunities to the Malays, and then there are policies that are in response to “adjustments” or “moderation” necessary to be made. Such moves do not serve to level criteria or privileges, by the way.

Students have seen many times when their well-earned education results do not give them even the chance to apply for scholarships. For those who do obtain them, it is often seen that the preferred group have not and do not perform as well in the subsidized programmes.

Businesses have been forced to conform to procedures that are obviously unnecessary to their business objectives in the country. When that is done, they then often have to provide favours to the preferred group in order to sustain or expand their economies. Think of the various business and government services and departments companies have to face regularly and there won’t be a need to state names here.

Malaysia is a country and in a region where all areas of growth are needed. To the north, Thailand has been an upcoming regional export market and Singapore in the south is by no little means one of the best examples of a mature and stable society. In the former Prime Minister Mahathir’s era of economic growth, there is obviously a strong desire to excel as a country among its peers.

Malaysians cannot compete among and build themselves (with good conscience and pride) and on the global arena progressively if this internal issue is not tackled at its reins and has no action taken to resolve it.

Malaysia National FlagHow does the national education quality benchmark appear when the standards are so skewed and many students are not earnestly taking advantage of their privileges? Will companies prosper or even maintain their bottom lines when they have to constantly deal with unrelated bureaucracy, corruption and unfair practices in the country? Can all the different races really live together peacefully when the physical landscape is full of partiality in terms of the law, policies and culture? How long does it take for the “Bumiputra” system to mature and justify its goals are met?

Until I can think of more to say on this serious but sorely ignored issue, I leave you with these lines.

If discrimination based on race is constitutionally permissible when those who hold the reins can come up with ‘compelling’ reasons to justify it, then constitutional guarantees acquire an accordionlike quality.” – William Orville Douglas

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

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2 thoughts on “Three Viewpoints on Racial Discrimination in Malaysia”

  1. List of racial discriminations in Malaysia, practiced by government as well as government agencies. This list is an open secret. Best verified by government itself because it got the statistics.

    This list is not in the order of importance, that means the first one on the list is not the most important and the last one on the list does not mean least important.

    This list is a common knowledge to a lot of Malaysians, especially those non-malays (Chinese, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli, Tamils, etc) who were being racially discriminated.

    Figures in this list are estimates only and please take it as a guide only. Government of Malaysia has the most correct figures. Is government of Malaysia too ashamed to publish their racist acts by publishing racial statistics?

    This list cover a period of about 50 years since independence (1957).

    List of racial discriminations (Malaysia):

    (1) Out of all the 5 major banks, only one bank is multi-racial, the rest are controlled by malays

    (2) 99% of Petronas directors are malays

    (3) 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese

    (4) 99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by malays

    (5) 100% all contractors working under Petronas projects must be bumis status

    (6) 0% of non-malay staffs is legally required in malay companies. But there must be 30% malay staffs in Chinese companies

    (7) 5% of all new intake for government army, nurses, polices, is non-malays

    (8) 2% is the present Chinese staff in Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), drop from 40% in 1960

    (9) 2% is the percentage of non-malay government servants in Putrajaya. But malays make up 98%

    (10) 7% is the percentage of Chinese government servants in the whole government (in 2004), drop from 30% in 1960

    (11) 95% of government contracts are given to malays

    (12) 100% all business licensees are controlled by malay government e.g. Approved Permits, Taxi Permits, etc

    (13) 80% of the Chinese rice millers in Kedah had to be sold to malay controlled Bernas in 1980s. Otherwise, life is make difficult for Chinese rice millers

    (14) 100 big companies set up, managed and owned by Chinese Malaysians were taken over by government, and later managed by malays since 1970s e.g. MISC, UMBC, UTC, etc

    (15) At least 10 Chinese owned bus companies (throughout Malaysia, throughout 40 years) had to be sold to MARA or other malay transport companies due to rejection by malay authority to Chinese application for bus routes and rejection for their application for new buses

    (16) 2 Chinese taxi drivers were barred from driving in Johor Larkin bus station. There are about 30 taxi drivers and 3 are Chinese in October 2004. Spoiling taxi club properties was the reason given

    (17) 0 non-malays are allowed to get shop lots in the new Muar bus station (November 2004)

    (18) 8000 billion ringgit is the total amount the government channeled to malay pockets through ASB, ASN, MARA, privatisation of government agencies, Tabung Haji etc, through NEP over 34 years period

    (19) 48 Chinese primary schools closed down since 1968 – 2000

    (20) 144 Indian primary schools closed down since 1968 – 2000

    (21) 2637 malay primary schools built since 1968 – 2000

    (22) 2.5% is government budget for Chinese primary schools. Indian schools got only 1%, malay schools got 96.5%

    (23) While a Chinese parent with RM1000 salary (monthly) cannot get school-text-book-loan, a malay parent with RM2000 salary is eligible

    (24) 10 all public universities vice chancellors are malays

    (25) 5% – the government universities lecturers of non-malay origins had been reduced from about 70% in 1965 to only 5% in 2004

    (26) Only 5% is given to non-malays for government scholarships over 40 years

    (27) 0 Chinese or Indians were sent to Japan and Korea under “Look East Policy”

    (28) 128 STPM Chinese top students could not get into the course that they aspired e.g. Medicine (in 2004)

    (29) 10% place for non-bumi students for MARA science schools beginning from year 2003, but only 7% are filled. Before that it was 100% malays

    (30) 50 cases whereby Chinese and Indian Malaysians, are beaten up in the National Service program in 2003

    (31) 25% is Malaysian Chinese population in 2004, drop from 45% in 1957

    (32) 7% is the present Malaysian Indians population (2004), a drop from 12% in 1957

    (33) 2 million Chinese Malaysians had emigrated to overseas since 40 years ago

    (34) 0.5 million Indian Malaysians had emigrated to overseas

    (35) 3 million Indonesians had migrated into Malaysia and became Malaysian citizens with bumis status

    (36) 600000 are the Chinese and Indian Malaysians with red IC and were rejected repeatedly when applying for citizenship for 40 years. Perhaps 60% of them had already passed away due to old age. This shows racism of how easily Indonesians got their citizenship compare with the Chinese and Indians

    (37) 5% – 15% discount for a malay to buy a house, regardless whether the malay is poor or rich

    (38) 2% is what Chinese new villages get compare with 98% of what malay villages got for rural development budget

    (39) 50 road names (at least) had been changed from Chinese names to other names

    (40) 1 Dewan Gan Boon Leong (in Malacca) was altered to other name (e.g. Dewan Serbaguna or sort) when it was being officially used for a few days. Government try to shun Chinese names. This racism happened in around year 2000 or sort

    (41) 0 churches/temples were built for each housing estate. But every housing estate got at least one mosque/surau built

    (42) 3000 mosques/surau were built in all housing estates throughout Malaysia since 1970. No churches, no temples are required to be built in housing estates

    (43) 1 Catholic church in Shah Alam took 20 years to apply to be constructed. But told by malay authority that it must look like a factory and not look like a church. Still not yet approved in 2004

    (44) 1 publishing of Bible in Iban language banned (in 2002)

    (45) 0 of the government TV stations (RTM1, RTM2, TV3) are directors of non-malay origins

    (46) 30 government produced TV dramas and films always showed that the bad guys had Chinese face, and the good guys had malay face. You can check it out since 1970s. Recent years, this tendency becomes less

    (47) 10 times, at least, malays (especially Umno) had threatened to massacre the Chinese Malaysians using May 13 since 1969

    (48) 20 constituencies won by DAP would not get funds from the government to develop. Or these Chinese majority constituencies would be the last to be developed

    (49) 100 constituencies (parliaments and states) had been racistly re-delineated so Chinese voters were diluted that Chinese candidates, particularly DAP candidates lost in election since 1970s

    (50) Only 3 out of 12 human rights items are ratified by Malaysia government since 1960

    (51) 0 – elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (UN Human Rights) is not ratified by Malaysia government since 1960s

    (52) 20 reported cases whereby malay ambulance attendances treated Chinese patients inhumanely, and malay government hospital staffs purposely delay attending to Chinese patients in 2003. Unreported cases may be 200

    (53) 50 cases each year whereby Chinese, especially Chinese youths being beaten up by malay youths in public places. We may check at police reports provided the police took the report, otherwise there will be no record

    (54) 20 cases every year whereby Chinese drivers who accidentally knocked down malays were seriously assaulted or killed by malays

    (55) 12% is what ASB/ASN got per annum while banks fixed deposit is only about 3.5% per annum

    There are hundreds more racial discriminations in Malaysia to add to this list of “colossal” racism. It is hope that the victims of racism will write in to expose racism.

    Malaysia government should publish statistics showing how much malays had benefited from the “special rights” of malays and at the same time tell the statistics of how much other minority races are being discriminated.

    Hence, the responsibility lies in the Malaysia government itself to publish unadulterated statistics of racial discrimination.

    If the Malaysia government hides the statistics above, then there must be some evil doings, immoral doings, shameful doings and sinful doings, like the Nazi, going on onto the non-malays of Malaysia.

    Civilized nation, unlike evil Nazi, must publish statistics to show its treatment on its minority races. This is what Malaysia must publish……….

    We are asking for the publication of the statistics showing how “implementation of special rights of malays” had inflicted colossal racial discrimination onto non-malays.

  2. "(21) 2637 malay primary schools built since 1968 – 2000"

    -maaaan… come on… its not "malay school" la… its Kebangsaan kot..
    its better if we are together, rather than, "aku punya hanya aku punya,ko punya hanya ko punya"..

    -this is just something that i can argue with…..

    -but to be honest, its really sad how Malays are been brought up to be manja… Im half malay/half dusun.. yang tu pun belah my mum pny father, converted to malay due to political issue…

    -Malayan Union once made a point, they say, whoever stays at Malaya, MUST be converted to Malay(imagine if everyone's a malay.. Everyone enjoys the profit kan..

    -But then, i forgot how does the story goes but later on, Tunku said "people yang stay 10 years before to 10 years after independence CAN be converted to Malay"

    im sorry… i dont know much but this is just my point of view

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