FMT LETTER: From Hema Krishnan, via e-mail
Malaysia is a country abound with pluralism, the most striking one being her people. On the surface, race relations seem to be greatly harmonious rather than acrimnious. The latter is the ugly truth which is conveniently underplayed. The issue is akin to the proverbial ostrich having its head buried in sand.
All seems well in context of racial acceptance in general here. The boost in Malaysian tourism owes to this diversity factor. Malaysia isn’t Malaysia without the Malays, the Chinese, the Indians, the indigenous people and others. Us, collectively make Malaysia richly whole. But, does unity in diversity is the real case-scenario here?
No is the unequivocal answer. Racism applies to all life-deciding, life-changing and life-augmenting levels for Malaysians with favour being slanting to the Malays. NEP is deemed to be the resolute solution to uplift the Malays’ life standard and non-Malays compliantly assented to the policy implemented right after Malaysia’s independence in return for citizenship.
NEP came to effect in 1971 and ended in 1990 and got replaced by NDP in 1991. Despite having years of special rights and assistance from womb to tomb, poverty amongst Malays is extant. What went wrong?
Amid super rich Malays, leading high and mighty lives there are impecunious Malays who lead lives on “kais pagi, makan pagi, kais petang, makan petang” basis living in dinghy, dilapidated and critically deprived condition. This testifies the loopholes and foibles of NEP and NDP at implementation stage.
Albeit having a cushioned, secured status in the country, many Malays underperform and fail to rise their life standard. Why? It is due to the “always on the lookout to be spoonfed syndrome.” The years of mollycoddling have left the Malays taking effort lightly.
This syndrome, in due course of time became imprinted in the Malays’ blueprint. The conception that without aid, in the form of academic quota, public service quota and other privileges, all would be lost got ingrained.
And, everytime this special rights gets questioned by non-Malays, the Malays get racially defensive and remind the quarters of their “pendatang” status, forgetting that they too contributed to the building of this land that they were born into.
I unquestionably believe that Malay is not an inferior race. Race doesn’t define a human’s worth. Malays are truly capable, they have the capacity and competence to contend on level playing field with non-Malays.
Special treatment and discounts are insults to the Malay adeptness. Malays have international competetive edge and it is only when they realise that veracity would they really triumph wholesomely.